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while love for Jesus is its cause; and, because the cause is great, the effect is also great. Should you, then, dear reader, hear this said, reply with confidence to all who condemn our Saint : ‘Alphonsus's love for Mary seems to you too great, because you love Jesus less than he; try, then, to love Jesus more, and your love for Mary will at once increase.' But the sweet zephyrs of the South have also blown through this garden, and friendly souls, the true children of Mary, have inhaled these delicious perfumes, and thereby have become as pillars of smoke of aromatical spices, and ascended to the throne of God. Oh, how many have been delivered from hell by this sweet devotion! how many have thus become illustrious in the Christian warfare, and at length have been placed on the altars of the church !

But enough! this sweet flower is now in the reach of all, so that each may, while perusing this little work, enjoy its delicious scent: I will therefore only premise a few remarks, which may help to increase the confidence of its readers in all that they will find advanced, as to the greatness, and the power of this Mother of God, as also as to her love and tender mercy for us. In a Protestant country, and breathing a Protestant atmosphere, it is difficult to have those tender feelings of love and confidence, which all true Caltholics should entertain towards Mary; but as the difficulty is great, so also should our efforts be great to obtain and nourish in our souls, that tender devotion towards her, which is looked upon by the saints and spiritual writers as a pledge of eternal salvation.

When an artist has attained perfection in his art, he attracts many pupils, who desire to learn from him the secret by which he has obtained so high renown. They are not deceived; for after the productions of the master himself, those of his school are the most esteemed. We are all artists in this world, and have to copy Jesus Christ the perfect model in ourselves. The reward for which we hope, is the model Himself, and His kingdom ; but, as in His kingdom there are many mansions, so shall we receive Him in a greater or less measure, according to the correctness with which we have copied Him in ourselves.

Although in every art certain general rules are given, it is, however, in their application that the secret of perfection lies. The school in which we have to learn our art, is that of the holy Catholic Church ; she was commissioned by our Lord Himself to teach us; we were commanded to hear and obey her, under pain of being considered as heathens, and the rules she lays down are infallible, because our Lord himself teaches us through her, and the Spirit of Truth abides with her ALL DAYS. She gives us the rules of our art, not only in her dogmatical definitions, and in her practice, but also in the models which she constantly sends forth from her school in the persons of her canonized Saints. I need hardly speak of her dogmatical definitions, for all know that it is an article of faith, that it is good and useful to implore the intercession of the Saints, and particularly that of the holy Mother of God.'l But let us see how the holy Church herself applies this rule, and how the Saints, whom she gives us as models, have understood it, for from them we can learn our art. The Church celebrates throughout the year, many festivals in honour of the Mother of God, and those of which she has approved, for particular countries, localities, and religious orders, are innumerable. The offices for these festivals are filled with exhortations which excite in us precisely those feelings towards the Mother of God, which are expressed throughout the present work. Speaking in the name of Mary, the Church says in those offices : In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue.” 2 “He that hearkeneth to me, shall not be confounded; and they that work by me, shall not sin.”3 “Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates . . . he that shall

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1 Conc. Trid. Sess. XXV.

2 Eccles. xxiv, 25.

3 Eccles. xxiv, 30.



find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord ... all that hate me love death.”1 Again, all the offices of the Church are preceded and followed by prayer to Mary. In them we are taught to call her Our life,' because, as Saint Bernard says, she is the channel through which

grace comes to us, which is the life of the soul : Our sweetness and our hope,' for as Saint Anselm says, if Mary prays for us, the whole court of heaven prays; but if she is silent, all are silent and none will help us ; therefore the above-named Saint Bernard exhorts us to seek for grace, and seek it by Mary; and then declares that she is the sinner's ladder, all his confidence, and the whole ground of his hope. This is again confirmed by the Church sighing to Mary, and calling her our gracious advocate.

In fine, when Jesus is exposed on the altar in the sacrament of His love, whom do we invite to present our prayers to Him ?. It is His own sweet Mother Mary. We then address her by all the titles, which hearts inflamed with the most lively faith in her greatness and power, the most firm hope in her goodness and mercy, the most ardent love for the tenderest and best of mothers, could possibly invent. In time of trial, when the hand of God weighs heavily on Christian people, and they are afflicted by the sword, famine, or pestilence; when the bark of Peter is tossed about amidst the waves of persecution, then it is, dear reader, that we see the spirit of the holy Catholic Church in her practice, then in all sincerity we learn from her where to find the Tower of David, from which hang “a thousand bucklers, all the armour of valiant men "2 in which the Church can find defence; for we are then invited to raise our hearts in prayer to Mary, the help of Christians and the Mother of Mercy, and never do we call in vain, as indeed the holy Church proclaims : • Thou, O Mary, hast alone conquered all heresies throughout the world.' “She is terrible as an army in battle

She is the health of the weak. Thus are we I Pror. viii, 34, 35, 36.

2 Cant. iii, 4.

3 Cant. vi, 3




taught, and such is the practice of the holy Catholic Church, which can never lead us astray, since it is the pillar and ground of truth. Let us now ask the Saints, those heroes of Christianity, and our models, how they have attained so great perfection ? With one voice they tell us that every grace came to them through the hands of Mary. We have already heard the sentiments of the great Saint Bernard on this subject, and the innumerable testimonies to the same effect to be found in the present work render it unnecessary to repeat them. I will, however, remark, that the greater part of the Saints, when speaking of the greatness, the power, the love of Mary, and of their confidence in her, seemed to know no bounds. Unable to find terms sufficiently strong, amongst those which are applicable to creatures, they have applied to her terms which, in their strict sense, are applicable to God alone. Yet the Church examines their writings, submits them to the severest scrutiny, and declares that there is nothing in them worthy of censure, and why? Because their love for Mary was a reflected love; they loved Mary, the beloved of God, so much because they loved Him much, and this alone gave its proper value to the terms they used, which received their limit in the limits of the creature to which they were addressed. But if, on the one hand, we find perfection in the art of sanctity, carrying with it the characteristic mark of devotion to the Blessed Virgin, indeed so much so that we may measure the perfection of each Saint by the measure of his devotion to the Mother of God; so, on the other hand, we shall find that the further a Catholic is from sanctity, the further is he from devotion to Mary : he is first of all cold and indifferent, he then becomes hypocritically zealous for God's glory and for the purity of the Church, the spotless bride of Christ, until at length, passing beyond her pale, his coldness, indifference, and hypocritical zeal are changed into bitter hatred for the Mother of God, and he no longer can hear her named without feeling himself tormented as were the demoniacs by the presence of our Lord; and this hatred



finds too often vent in blasphemies which belong not to man, but to those evil spirits which then possess him ; thus verifying the words which were spoken from the beginning : “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed.”1 Our Blessed Lady herself, inspired by the Holy Ghost, gives beautiful expression, in a few words, to this principle : “Behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.”2 Elizabeth, filled with admiration and gratitude for the precious gifts she had in that moment received through Mary, the channel of graces, had exclaimed: Blessed art thou amongst women.”3 Mary replied, 'Yes, Elizabeth,

, because, through my voice, thou hast received the Holy Ghost, and thy Son has been sanctified in thy womb, thou callest me blessed; but behold, all who receive the same grace will also call me blessed.' Mary well knew, that those who had not this grace would not call her blessed, but would even crucify her beloved Son before her own eyes ; hence the Holy Ghost manifests himself in us, in love, and praises, and blessings of the Mother of God; and the greater is our plenitude of the Holy Ghost, the greater are these effects. And because the Saints had, so to say, an excess of this plenitude, their expressions of love, of praise, of confidence in Mary, the blessings which they lavished upon her, knew no bounds. Because we have not their plenitude, we do not speak as they spoke, and if we do not possess within us this spirit of life, we not only do not speak as they did, but we reprove that which we cannot comprehend : "For what participation hath justice with injustice? or what fellowship hath light with darkness ? and what concord hath Christ with Belial ?”4 The Church, which always possesses the Holy Ghost, not only does not reprove this unbounded love and confidence, but herself gives full expression to it.

Let us now, dear reader, see how deserving Mary is of all these praises. When a God became man, it certainly was not becoming that He should take flesh of one in whom He 1 Gen. iii, 15.

2 Luc. i, 48. 3 Luc. i, 42. * 2 Cor. vi, 14, 15.


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