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Header-5 Reasons why we need the Blessed Mother

 by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

 

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1)  Although we receive the necessary graces for our salvation, we still need special graces to persevere. This is because the process of the decadence of a soul generally follows a pattern. First, one commits acts of ingratitude that cause a retraction of grace. This causes the person in the state of grace to deteriorate slowly and stand in need of exceptional graces. When graces dwindle, one goes from one abuse to the next, until eventually falling into mortal sin.

 

2)  Devotion to Our Lady is crucial in obtaining the necessary graces to save the soul from this process.  We need an intercessor who supplements this gap with requests for additional graces, so that we might have sufficient graces for our salvation.

 

3)  Our Lady obtains for us the graces necessary to attain salvation.  The mere fact that we are devoted to her makes us pleasing to God Who is thus predisposed to answer our requests. However, human nature is so weak that we often abuse grace to such an extent that it is difficult to find those who practice sufficient fidelity to save themselves without Our Lady's intervention.

One might ask if this means that Our Lady is not the Mediatrix of all graces, but only of extraordinary graces. No, she also obtains the minimum of essential graces for us. However, our malice serves to demonstrate that we cannot persevere in the spiritual life without her full support.

Imagine a friend who is in a "state of grace," so to speak, in relation to you. In other words, he is a friend who depends completely on your kindness, and generally acts correctly toward you. However, although this friend does not commit grave faults against you, he nevertheless constantly commits small faults such as lack of courtesy, respect or affection. Of course, to the degree that he insists upon doing this, you gradually withdraw your friendship from him.

If he commits a grave fault, it is understandable that you severe your relationship with him.

This is a bit like the image of a sinner who, without losing the state of grace, almost inevitably, falls into mortal sin at a certain moment. To prevent this fall, the intercession of Our Lady is greatly needed. It is not only greatly needed, but indispensable since after a mortal sin, a person has no claim to obtain forgiveness.

Even if he were to repent, it is doubtful that God would give Heaven to a person in this state of soul without subjecting him to grave trials as a punishment for his attitude.

 

4)  Some people suppose that death comes as an accident, a disaster outside the ways of Providence, and that God has nothing to do with death.

Man walks along the ways of the spiritual life as he so pleases, and then all of a sudden death comes and interrupts God's plans and the development of his soul. In fact, it is nothing like this at all. No hair drops from our head without God allowing it. Everything is proportional to the orientation of our spiritual life.

In fact, the moment of our death is perfectly chosen with regard to our sins and merits. Without an intercessor with the merits of Our Lady, it would be impossible to remain in the state of grace.

Imagine that a friend commits several small faults toward you, but nothing atrocious. All of a sudden he shows up asking you for a gift. Would you be ready and willing to give it? Depending on the situation, you might refuse any request on his part.

 

5)  Our spiritual life is not a plateau next to an abyss. It is an inclined ramp, in the middle of which is a line that separates the state of grace from mortal sin. When someone is on the upper part of this ramp, he can go down without falling into mortal sin.

When a person on the upper part of the ramp commits an infidelity, God normally diminishes His graces; and with the dwindling of grace a person can fall into such a state of destitution as to be reduced to strictly indispensable grace.

When one says that venial sin leads to mortal sin, it does not mean that man lacks the sufficient grace not to fall, but that he all too often does not correspond to grace and thus falls.  Human nature has a very strong penchant to abuse grace.

However, in each concrete case, man has the will to react.  Man can only obtain all the necessary and opportune graces not to fall however, if he has recourse to Our Lady.  And that is why we need Our Lady.

  


The preceding text is adapted from a lecture given by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. It has been translated and edited for publication without his revision. –Ed.

 

 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for April 17, 2021

The heart of man is, so to speak, the paradise of God. Since...

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April 17

 

The heart of man is, so to speak,
the paradise of God.
Since His delights are to be with you,
let yours be found in Him.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Stephen Harding

God answered him dramatically when thirty noblemen knocked a...

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St. Stephen Harding

Stephen Harding was an Englishman of an honorable family, and heir to a large estate. Born in Dorset, he was educated at the monastery of Sherborne and spoke English, Norman, French and Latin.

Desirous of seeking a more perfect way of Christian perfection, he, with a devout companion, traveled into Scotland and afterwards to Paris and to Rome. On their return journey, the two travelers chanced upon a collection of huts in the forest of Molesme in Burgundy, where monks lived in great austerity. Struck by their way of life and finding kindred spirits in Robert the Abbot, and Alberic the Prior, he bid his friend goodbye and threw in his lot with the monks.

After some years, finding that religious fervor had waned considerably, Stephen, Robert, Alberic and others went to Lyons and with the support of Bishop Hugh struck a new foundation in the forest of Citeaux sponsored by Rainald, Lord of Beaune, and Odo, Duke of Burgundy.

Later Robert returned to his monks of Molesme who reclaimed him as their abbot, and upon the death of Alberic, in 1109, Stephen succeeded him as Abbot of Citeaux.

He immediately instituted such austere measures to keep the spirit of the world out that he alienated the support of many who had helped to establish the abbey. Novices ceased applying, and to make matters worse, a mysterious disease decimated his monks to the point that even Stephen’s stout heart began to quiver wondering if he were really doing God’s will.

God answered him dramatically when thirty noblemen knocked at the abbey’s door seeking admittance. They were headed by young St. Bernard who in his zeal had convinced his brothers, uncles and a number of his acquaintances to give up the world with him.

Increasing numbers called for additional foundations and the first two were made at Morimond and Clairvaux. To the general surprise, Stephen appointed twenty-four-year-old Bernard as Abbot of Clairvaux. When nine abbeys had sprung from Citeaux, Stephen drew up the statutes of his Charter of Charity which officially organized the Cistercians into an order.

Stephen Harding died in 1134, advanced in age and nearly blind, and having served as Abbot of Cîteaux for twenty-five years.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

I turned to God, but God seems to remain deaf to me. Why is...

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Why Doesn't God Answer My Prayer?

Question:  I pray and pray, but I feel as if God is not listening. We always had a good, peaceful family life, but these last years have been tough. We don’t seem to be getting along and our finances have taken a turn for the worse.

I am so anxious about this situation that, not having anyone to turn to, I turned to God.

But God seems to remain deaf to me. Why is that? In addition, what do I say to certain people, agnostics and atheists, who laugh at prayer, saying it is nonsensical and only a figment of the imagination with no real value?

Answer:  God is faithful to His promises, and God promised to answer our prayers. “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11:9–10).

If God promises to answer our prayers, He will do so infallibly. But in prayer there are two sides: he who asks and He Who gives.

Our part is to ask. How must we ask?

Saint Alphonsus Liguori, a Doctor of the Church, teaches in his book Prayer, the Great Means of Salvation that prayer must be persevering and humble.

So many times we hear people saying: “Oh, I used to ask God for this and that and the other, but He never gave it to me. Now, ten years later, how glad I am that He didn’t!”

One thing is certain: God will not fail to answer a humble and perseverance prayer. Whether He chooses to grant what we ask immediately or make us wait, we must trust that He, regardless of appearances, is doing us good. What we think is good and what He thinks is good may be two different things: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways” (Isa. 55:8), but here is where we must abandon ourselves to His beneficent will. Our part is to be patient, calm and, above all, faithful, because this is the time for testing and later will come the time for full enjoyment.


Answering Atheists and Agnostics
As for atheists and agnostics, their skepticism proceeds from the fact that they, respectively, deny God’s existence or deny men’s capacity to know God.

In this case, we can only express our regret over their ignorance of this Supreme Being, our omnipotent Creator and loving Savior.

We may direct them to a few sources that may help in their search for the truth of His existence. Atheism and agnosticism can only be sustained in ignorance or ill will because the evidence of God’s existence is overwhelming.

Moreover, God will not hide Himself from those who seek Him sincerely and unconditionally.

Another consideration pertaining to non-believers is this: If God were to grant us absolutely everything we ask at a moment’s notice, such people might start believing purely out of self-interest.

They would look at God as a wand-wielding wizard. And God Our Lord is infinitely more than that. He wants us to know, love, and serve Him for Himself so that He can treat us as children and heirs and grant us unending happiness in Heaven.

"My impression is that the Rosary is of the greatest value not only according to the words of Our Lady of Fatima, but according to the effects of the Rosary one sees throughout history. My impression is that Our Lady wanted to give ordinary people, who might not know how to pray, this simple method of getting closer to God."  Sister Lucia, one of the seers of Fatima.

 

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I turned to God, but God seems to remain deaf to me. Why is that? In addition, what do I say to certain people, agnostics and atheists,

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