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relates in his Chronicles, that a certain deacon named Adelman, who was apparently dead and was being buried, returned to life and said, “ that he had seen hell to which he was condemned, but that at the prayers of the Blessed Virgin he had been sent back to this world to do penance.”—P. 188.
• Pelbertus says that in his time, when the Emperor Sigismund was crossing the Alps with his army, a voice was heard coming from a skeleton, asking for a confession, and declaring that the Mother of God, for whom he had a tender devotion when a soldier, had obtained that he should thus live until he had been able to make his confession ; and, having done so, the soul departed.'—P. 189.
• Blessed Henry Suso used to say, “that he had placed his soul in the hands of Mary, and that if he was condemned, the sentence must pass through her hands;" being confident that if he was in such hands, this tender Virgin would certainly prevent its execution. The same do I hope for myself, O my own most holy Queen ; and, therefore, I will always repeat the words of S. Bonaventure ; “In thee, O Lady, [after Jesus ins. Duffy.] have I placed all my hopes; and thus I confidently trust that I shall never be lost, but praise and love thee for ever in heaven." :P. 190.
Some, perhaps, among our readers, who remember their ministrations to dying penitents, will recollect that the language, or, if not the words, the feelings, of those who after an ungodly life have been turned by the blessing of God to better ways and penitential lives, are “I am a great sinner; but if I perish, 'I perish at the foot of Christ's cross, where never sinner perished ‘yet. For this godly sorrow and self-distrusting hope, are we to substitute such thoughts as the teaching of Blessed H. Suso and S. Alfonso would suggest—'I have committed myself to Mary, I have placed my soul in her hands, and, with so merciful a mediatrix and protectress, I cannot but be saved ?
In the following Example we beg our readers to observe that there is not the smallest hint of the necessity of amendment or penitence. The two persons spoken of are equally criminal and sinful
, but one is hurried to everlasting hell-fire because he did not, and the other is saved alive on earth because he did, recite some Hail, Marys without devotion and half asleep.'
'In the year 1604, in a city of Flanders, there were two young men, students, but who, instead of attending to their studies, gave themselves up to a life of debauchery. One night they were both in a house with an evil companion, when one of them, named Richard, returned home, leaving his companion there. After he got home, and had begun to undress, he remembered he had not that day said some “Hail, Marys" that he was in the habit of reciting. Feeling very sleepy, he was loath to say them; he did himself violence, and repeated them, though without devotion and half asleep. He then laid down, and had fallen into a sound slumber, when he was suddenly roused by a violent knocking at the door, and without its opening, he saw his companion, deformed and hideous, standing before him. " Who art thou ?” he cried out. “ What! dost thou not know me?” “Ah! yes, but how thou art changed! Thou seemest to me a devil.” * Truly,” he exclaimed, “poor unfortunate creature that I am! I am damned ; and how ? When I was leaving that wicked house, a devil came and strangled me; my
body is in the street, and my soul in hell:' and thon must know," added he, “that the same fate awaited thee, had not the blessed Virgin preserved thee in consideration of that little act of homage of the ‘Hail, Mary.'' Fortunate art thou if only thou knowest how to take advantage of this warning sent thee by the Mother of God !" With these words he opened his mantle, and, showing the flames and serpents by which he was tormented, he disappeared. Richard immediately burst into sobs and tears, and, casting himself prostrate on the ground, he returned thanks to Mary, his protectress; and whilst thinking how to change his life, he heard the bell of the Franciscan Monastery ringing for matins. “Ah! it is there,” said he, “that God calls me to do penance.” He went straight off to the convent, and implored the fathers to admit him. But they were hardly willing to do so, knowing his wicked life; but he, sobbing bitterly, told all that had taken place; and two fathers being sent to the street, and having found the strangled body, which was as black as a coal, they admitted him. From that time forward Richard led a most exemplary life, and at length went to preach the Gospel in the Indies, and thence to Japan, where he had the happiness of giving his life for Jesus Christ, being burnt alive for the faith.'—P. 191.
On the succour given by Mary to the souls in Purgatory, S. Alfonso does not give us so many particulars as Mr. F. Faber, who is adding several pious opinions on the subject to the stock of the general belief, such as that S. Mary is · Empress' and S. Michael Prince of Purgatory and our Lady's Regent;"? but our author tells us a great deal.
• Mary not only consoles and relieves her clients in Purgatory, but she delivers them by her prayers. Gerson says, “that on the day of her assumption into heaven, Purgatory was entirely emptied.” Novarinus confirms this, saying, that “it is maintained by many grave authors, that when Mary was going to heaven, she asked, as a favour from her Son, to take all the souls then in Purgatory with her.” " And from that time forward,” says Gerson, “ Mary had the privilege of delivering her servants." S. Bernardine of Sienna also positively asserts, “ that the Blessed Virgin has the power of delivering souls from Purgatory, but particularly those of her clients, by her prayers, and by applying her merits for them. Novarinus says, that by the merits of Mary, not only are the pains of those souls lessened, but the time of their suffering is shortened through her intercession. She has only to ask, and all is done.'—P. 195.
''Look at the saint's story about those two young reprobates who went to the bad house ; one of them goes home to bed, then the other comes to him, and what does he say? Why, he says, “My body is lying dead in the street,” says he, "and my soul is away in hell,” says he, “and here I am myself,” says he. Now, your honour, who was he, or what was he at all! He wasn't his body, for that was in the street; he wasn't his soul, for that was in hell: and is there anything else in a man to make himself ? so who was he at all?'—Letter of Pat Murray to the Catholic Layman, April, 1855. The learning and temper of this periodical are most commendable.
2 . All for Jesus,' pp. 8 and 376. The following passage, too, is remarkable: • Some of our writers have said that our Lord will not help them (the souls in Purgatory) without our co-operation; and that our Blessed Lady cannot help them, except in indirect ways, because she is no longer able to make satisfaction, though I never like to hear of anything our dearest Mother cannot do,' p. 368. A little above (p. 350) Mr. Faber had spoken of Jesus' helplessness with regard to his dear spouses in Purgatory' as beautiful;' but he is shocked at the supposition of S. Mary being helpless.
The last words are a gloss upon ope Virginis. It is her merits, not her intercession, that the author is regarding. Intercession is, unfortunately, an ambiguous word, sometimes meaning prayer, sometimes intervention.
The promise made by our Blessed Lady to Pope John XXII. is well known. She appeared to him and ordered him to make known to all, that on the Saturday after their death she would deliver from Purgatory all who wore the Carmelite Scapular. This, as Father Crasset relates, was proclaimed by the same Pontiff in a Bull, which was afterwards confirmed by Alexander V., Clement VII., Pius V., Gregory XIII., and Paul V.; and this latter, in a Bull of the year 1612, says “that Christian people may piously believe that the Blessed Virgin will help them after death by her continual intercession, her merits, and special protection; and that on Saturdays, the day consecrated by the Church to her, she will in a more particular manner help the souls of the brethren of the confraternity of our Blessed Lady of Mount Carmel, who have departed this life in a state of grace, provided they have worn the habit, observed the chastity of their state, and recited her office; or if they could not recite it, if they have observed the fasts of the Church, and abstained from meat on all Wednesdays, except Christmas Day.” ?—P. 196.
There is a great deal more about the advantages of this Scapular at a later part of the book. We extract one passage :
• Modern heretics, as usual, ridicule this devotion ; but the holy Church has approved it by many bulls and indulgences. Father Crasset and Lezana, speaking of the Scapular of Mount Carmel, relate that towards the year 1251, the Blessed Virgin appeared to S. Simon Stock, an Englishman, and, giving him the Scapular, said that all who should wear it would be saved from eternal damnation. She said, “Receive, my beloved son, this Scapular of thy order, the badge of my confraternity, a privilege granted to thee and to all Carmelites; whoever dies clothed with it will not suffer eternal flames."'?—P. 485.
By way of example to others, S. Alfonso says that he wears himself the Scapular of Mount Carmel, the Scapular of Mary in sorrow, the Scapular of Mary of Mercy, and particularly the Scapular of the Conception. In this place Mr. Duffy has been more honest in his translation than the Redemptorist Father and Cardinal Wiseman; for the former tells us that 'the Indulgences granted to any religious order, pious place, or to any
person, are annexed to the Scapular of the Immaculate Conception, which is blessed by the Theatines; and, by reciting a Pater, Ave, and Gloria six times in honour of the most holy Trinity and Immaculate Mary, we can gain (toties quoties) each time all the Indulgences of Rome, of Portiuncula, of Jerusalem, and Galitia' (p. 335), which the Redemptorist Father and Cardinal Wiseman pare down into very great Indulgences.' Mr. Duffy is, in turn, convicted by Mr. Dunigan of having omitted the number of these Indulgences; they are four hundred 6 and thirty-three Plenary Indulgences, beside the temporal, which are innumerable' (p. 661.)
The example given to exhibit the power of Mary over Purgatory would, perhaps, equally as well show her influence in saving her clients from hell
. It tells how one Alexandra was killed while in mortal sin, and her head thrown into a well; how, some days afterwards, S. Dominic was passing by, and the head came to the edge of the well and begged him to hear its confession, which he accordingly did, and gave it the communion; after which it stayed for two days to be looked at, and declared that this was the Blessed Virgin's doing, because it had always said the rosary in her honour. Then it went to Purgatory, and a fortnight afterwards S. Dominic saw the happy soul go to heaven.
The manner in which we are taught that Mary leads her servants to heaven is more shocking to our minds than the power attributed to her over Hell and Purgatory. We do not refer to the false quotation from S. Ambrose, Open to us, O Mary, the gate of Paradise, since thou hast its keys;' or the equally false quotation from S. Anselm, 'It suffices, O Lady, that thou willest it, and our salvation is certain ;' or the equally false quotation from S. Athanasius, ' And thou, O Lady, wast filled
6 with grace that thou mightest be the way of our salvation, and
the means of ascent to the heavenly kingdom ;' or the daring parody of S. Bonaventure, ‘Give ear, O ye nations; and all
you who desire heaven, serve, honour Mary, and certainly you will find eternal life. These are in no respect different from the rest of the book, but we call attention to the following story :
In the Franciscan Chronicles it is related, that brother Leo once saw a red ladder, on the summit of which was Jesus Christ; and a white one, on the top of which was his most holy Mother; and he saw some who tried to ascend the red ladder, and they mounted a few steps and fell; they tried again, and again fell. They were then advised to go and try the white ladder, and by that one they easily ascended, for our Blessed Lady stretched out her hands and helped them, and so they got safely to heaven.'—P. 201.
We shall add no comments to this vision. It embodies the teaching of the whole book, and we leave it to our readers to ponder over. We give the same story in its Spanish dress, taken from the Spanish Month of Mary placed at the head of our article, a book in tenor and form very similar to that of S. Alfonso.
One of the most intimate and familiar companions of S. Francis, brother Leo by name, beheld the following vision. (Auriem. t. ii. p. 289.) in an extensive plain a representation of the last Judgment; there was an innumerable assemblage of persons, and others were continually coming at the blast of a terrible trumpet, which called them to judgment. Iwo ladders were placed, one red, and the other white, which reached from earth to heaven. At the top of the first stood. Jesus Christ, and near him the seraphic Father, who, with a loving countenance, exhorted his children to
ascend by it ; they began to do so, but before reaching the top they fellsome from the third step, some from the fourth, some from the tenth. Then the Holy Father, in great affliction, began to cry out to them that they should ascend by the other ladder, where the Most Holy Virgin was: the monks ran to it—that most pitying Mother gave them her hand, and they entered heaven. Wretched are we, if we have not recourse to that Supreme Lady, by whose means they that choose to climb the ladder, and to walk in the straight way of righteousness, will obtain salvation.'—El Mes de Maria, p. 47.
We shall not linger over the two last chapters of the Paraphrases of the Salve Regina, which continue in the same fashion to illustrate the words, “O clement, O pious, O sweet Virgin Mary. Two or three passages will suffice.
““ How is it,” asks a writer, " that the Lord, who, under the old dispensation, was so rigorous in his punishment, now shows such mercy to persons guilty of far greater crimes ?" And he answers, “That it is all for the love of Mary, and on account of her merits." Oh, how long since," exclaims S. Fulgentius, “would the world have been destroyed, had not Mary sustained it by her powerful intercession !" !—P. 214.
This quotation from Fulgentius is one which S. Alfonso's editor has been unable to discover.
"“ Mary,” says S. Antoninus, “is that throne of grace to which the Apostle S. Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, exhorts us to fly with confidence that we may obtain the Divine mercy, and all the help we need for our salvation.' (Heb. iv. 16.)—P. 215.
· Father Charles Bovius relates, that in the principality of Dombes, in France, there was a married man, whose wife was jealous of another woman, and did nothing but call down both on her husband and the woman the judgments of God; and this she did especially one day that she came before an altar of the Blessed Virgin to pray for justice against this woman. The woman, however, was in the habit of going every day to recite “ Hail, Mary!" before the same image. One night the Divine Mother appeared in a dream to the wife, who, on seeing her, began, as usual, to exclaim,
Justice, O Mother of God, justice !" But our Blessed Lady replied, “ Justice ! Chastisements ! dost thou seek them of me? No, go to others, for I will not grant what thou askest; for know,” she added, " that that sinner recites every day a salutation in my honour, and by whomsoever it is recited, it deprives me of the power of allowing her to suffer, or to be chastised for her sins." In the morning the wife went to hear mass in the above-named church of our Blessed Lady, and on returning home met this woman, and immediately began to abuse her, and then declared that she was a witch, and that she had succeeded even in enchanting the Blessed Virgin herself. The people who were present told her to hold her tongue.
" Be silent! indeed I will not, for what I say is true; for last night our Blessed Lady appeared to me, and when I demanded justice, she told me that she could not grant it, on account of a salutation offered her every day by this wretch.” The woman was then asked what salutation it was that she offered every day to the Mother of God, and she replied that it was the “Hail, Mary!" hearing that for that trifling devotion the Blessed Virgin had shown her such mercy, she went and cast herself before the holy image, and there, in the presence of all, she asked pardon for the scandal she had given, and made a vow of perpetual chastity. She then clothed herself with the habit of a nun, built herself a little room near the church, and there remained