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The Universal Mediatrix

Our Lady Universal Mediatrix

 

On May 31, the Holy Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady, Universal Mediatrix of all Graces. In this age of afflictions and dangers, when all of mankind moans under the weight of misfortunes that increase at every moment, our needs grow and our prayers become more pressing. With this, it is also increasingly important that we know how to pray well. Few truths of the Faith contribute so powerfully to raise the value of our prayers as the Universal Mediation of Mary when studied seriously and made to penetrate deeply into our life of piety.

 

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Of what does this truth consist? Theology teaches that all graces that come to us from God pass through Mary's hands. So, we obtain nothing from God if Mary is not joined to our prayer, and we owe all the graces we receive to her intercession. Thus, the Mother of God is the channel of all prayers that reach her Divine Son and the way of all graces that He bestows on mankind.

Evidently, this truth supposes that in all our prayers we explicitly ask Our Lady to help us. This practice would be highly praiseworthy. Even though we do not declaredly invoke Our Lady's intercession, we can be certain that we will be heard because she prays with us and for us.

A highly consoling conclusion follows from this. If we had to confide merely in our merits, how could we confide in the efficacy of our prayer?

It is said that Our Lord once appeared to Saint Teresa ofAvila bearing marvelous grapes in His hands. The saint asked the Divine Master what the grapes signified, and He answered that they were an image of her soul. The saint then looked carefully at the grapes. As she examined them, her first impression, which was grand, faded, giving way to an increasingly distressing impression. The grapes, now full of blemishes and defects, seemed repugnant to the great saint. She then understood the lofty meaning of the vision:

Even the most perfect souls reveal stains when attentively examined. And what stains can go unnoticed under God's penetrating gaze? Thus did the Psalmist exclaim with good reason: "If thou, 0 Lord, wilt mark iniquities. Lord, who shall stand it?"

If there is no one who does not present stains to the eyes of God, who can hope with full assurance to be heeded in his prayers?

On the other hand. God wants our prayers to be confident. He does not want us to present ourselves before His throne like slaves who fearfully approach a dreadful lord, but like children who gather around an infinitely generous and good father. Indeed, this confidence is one of the conditions for the efficacy of our prayers. But how can we have confidence if, examining ourselves, we feel lacking in reasons to confide? If we have no confidence, how can we hope to be heeded?

From the sadness of this reflection we triumphantly draw the doctrine of the Universal Mediation of Mary. In fact, our merits are minimal and our faults are great, but whatever we cannot attain by ourselves we have every right to hope that Our Lady's prayers will attain.

We must never doubt that she joins our prayers when they are suited to the greater glory of God and our sanctification. In fact, Our Lady has a love for each one of us that is only imperfectly comparable to the love that our earthly mothers have for us. Saint Louis de Montfort says that Our Lady has for the most wretched and miserable of men a love superior to that which would result from the sum of the love of all the mothers in the world for one child. Our authentic mother in the order of grace begot each of us to eternal life, and the passage that the Holy Ghost inscribed in Scripture-Even though your father and mother abandon you, I will not forget you-is faithfully applied to her. It is easier to be abandoned by our parents according to nature than by our mother according to grace.

However wretched we may be, then, we can confidently present our petitions to God. Whenever they are supported by Our Lady, they will have a priceless value in God's eyes, a value that will certainly obtain for us the requested favor.

It is fitting for us to meditate unendingly on this great truth. Catholics that we are, we must face in this life the struggles common to all mortals and, in addition, those that come from the reality of our being in God's service. Even though the horizon seems ready to pour down a new flood upon us; even though paths close before us, precipices open up, and the very earth moves under our feet, we should not lose heart. Our Lady will overcome all obstacles that exceed our strength. As long as this confidence does not desert our hearts, victory will be ours and the cunning of our adversaries will be worth nothing. We will walk upon asps and basilisks and will crush lions and dragons underfoot.


 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for July 24, 2021

It is easy to infuse a most fervent devotion into others, ev...

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July 24

 

It is easy to infuse
a most fervent devotion into others, even in a short time;
but the great matter is
– to persevere.

St. Philip Neri


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Charbel Makhlouf

Multiple times, he successfully lit an oil lamp which was fi...

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St. Charbel Makhlouf

Youssef Antoun Makhlouf was born in the village of Bekka Kafra in Lebanon on May 8, 1828 and was one of five children born to Antoun Zarrour Makhlouf and Brigitta Chidiac. His father was a mule driver who died when Youssef was only three years old, leaving his widow to bring up their children alone.

Although Brigitta was left nearly destitute, she reserved a profoundly religious atmosphere in their home and instilled in her children a deep spirit of piety. Because of this fidelity, Youssef became unusually devoted and inclined to prayer and solitude at a very young age. He was greatly attracted to the life and spirituality of hermits; and as a young boy tending his family’s small flock, he would often go to a nearby grotto where he had erected a little shrine to the Holy Mother of God and would spend his whole day there in prayer.

When he was twenty-three years old, Youssef, feeling the call to the religious life, left his home and family to join the Lebanese Maronite Order at the Monastery of Our Lady in Marfouq. Here he began his formation as a monk before later being transferred to the Monastery of St. Maron near Beirut. There he received the religious habit of the Maronite monk and took the name Charbel. He made his final profession as a religious brother on November 1, 1853 – he was twenty-five years old.

Brother Charbel immediately began his studies for the priesthood under the instruction of Father Nimattullah Kassab, who was also later declared a saint by the Church. Charbel was ordained on July 23, 1859, following which he returned to the Monastery of St. Maron where he lived a life of great austerity. In 1875, he was granted permission by his superiors to live a solitary life in the Hermitage of Sts. Peter and Paul, which was under the jurisdiction of the monastery; and there he resided for the remaining twenty-three years of his life until his death on Christmas Eve, 1898.

St. Charbel is renowned for his many miracles both during his life and after his death. His most famous miracle – which was also his first – occurred when, multiple times, he successfully lit an oil lamp which was filled with water. He is also credited with many healing miracles.

After his death, he was interned at the Monastery of St. Maron, now a famous pilgrimage site. His tomb was often witnessed surrounded by a dazzling light, and to this day his remains are incorrupt and an unexplainable blood-like fluid flows from his body. He was canonized on December 9, 1977, by Pope Paul VI, who held him up as an example to help us understand “in a world, largely fascinated by wealth and comfort, the paramount value of poverty, penance and asceticism, to liberate the soul in its ascent to God.”

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protest...

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Walk to Conversion

In September, I brought the statue of Our Lady of Fatima to the home of Mr. John Black and his family in Kings City, California.  John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protestantism: about thirteen years ago he was visiting one of the 21 Spanish missions in California (though these are holy sites, they also serve as tourist attractions.)

“Who is this Junipero Serra anyways?”  he asked, as the tour guide shared the history of the mission. “Well,” the guide responded, “you are standing on his grave!”  Surprised, John looked down and read inscription on the stone. Sure enough, Blessed Father Junipero Serra was buried right there. “I became electrified,” John told me, “I had to learn more about this man and about the missions.”  The more he studied Blessed Serra, the founder of the first nine missions, the more impressed he became, and he decided to travel on-foot to all 21 missions. 

With the blessing of his wife, now left at home with their two infant sons, John left for his solo expedition, taking with him a single backpack, the bible and little money.  He told me that every mission he visited he felt the presence of someone receiving him, even if the mission was empty. He felt this ambiance in the missions so serene and uplifting, and began to realize it was the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament that made him feel so at home.

At one point, John collapsed from exhaustion near a mission run by Franciscans, who kindly hosted him for the night. Before he left the next day, one of the friars gave him a first-class relic of Blessed Serra. Since he was Protestant, John did not know what a relic was, but not wanting to appear rude, he accepted it. Not long after he left the Franciscans, John became lost in the wilderness in the middle of the night. Through his exhaustion and fear he heard a voice say, “Let’s help John.” He had the distinct feeling that Blessed Serra was guiding him, and gathered the strength and courage to continue. About six hours later, he stumbled upon the next mission. “It was kind of a miracle,” he said, “I was really lost!”

During his journey, John slowly came to a realization. “I know what you want from me, God,” he thought to himself one day, “you what me to became a Catholic. That is what this is all about!” However, he still had many questions about aspects of Catholicism that have been rejected by his Protestant faith – mainly about the Blessed Mother. Yet, from that point on he received answers to all of his questions, especially his reservations about devotion to Mary: he believed that it was once again Blessed Serra answering him.

With the help of Blessed Serra, one problem after another was resolved in the solitude of his travels. By the time John reached the final mission, he wholly decided to become a Catholic. “I realized that by having devotion to Mary, you love Our Lord even more,” he told me.

John returned home, filled with zeal and enthusiasm for his newfound faith. He shared his astonishing experiences with his wife, and she too converted. “I feel at home in the Catholic church,” John said, “and I have never loved Our Lord Jesus Christ more than I do now.”

by Joseph Ferrara

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John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protestantism: about fourteen years ago he was visiting one of the 21 Spanish missions in California 

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