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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 May 18, 2021

Our Lord loves you and loves you tenderly; and if He does no...

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May 18

 

Our Lord loves you
and loves you tenderly; and
if He does not let you feel the sweetness of His love,
it is to make you more humble and abject in your own eyes.

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Eric IX of Sweden

The king’s zeal for the faith was far from pleasing to his...

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St. Eric IX of Sweden

Eric the Holy or Erik the Saint was acknowledged king in most provinces of Sweden in 1150, and his family line subsisted for a hundred years. He did much to establish Christianity in Upper Sweden and built or completed at Old Uppsala the first large church to be erected in the country. It is said that all the ancient laws and constitutions of the kingdom were, by his orders, collected into one volume, which came to be known as King Eric’s Law or The Code of Uppland.

The king soon had to take up arms against the heathen Finns. He vanquished them in battle, and at his desire, St. Henry, Bishop of Uppsala, who had accompanied him on the expedition, remained in Finland to evangelize the people.

The king’s zeal for the Catholic Faith was far from pleasing to his nobles, and we are told that they entered into a conspiracy against him with Magnus, the son of the king of Denmark. King Eric was hearing Mass on the day after the feast of the Ascension when news was brought that a Danish army, swollen with Swedish rebels, was marching against him and was close at hand. With unwavering calm he answered, “Let us at least finish the sacrifice; the rest of the feast I shall keep elsewhere”. After Mass was over, he recommended his soul to God, and marched forth in advance of his guards. The conspirators rushed upon him, beat him down from his horse, and beheaded him. His death occurred on May 18 in 1161.

The relics of St. Eric IX of Sweden are preserved in the Cathedral of Uppsala, and the saintly king's effigy appears on the coat of arms of the city of Stockholm.

Pope St. John I

The king had the pontiff arrested at Ravenna and thrown into...

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Pope St. John I

St. John I was a native of Siena in Tuscany and was one of the seven deacons of Rome when he was elected to the papacy at the death of Pope Hormisdas in the year 523.

At the time, Theodoric the Great ruled over the Ostrogoths in Italy and Justin I was the Byzantine Emperor of Constantinople. King Theodoric supported the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ.

Justin I, the first Catholic on the throne of Constantinople in fifty years, published a severe edict against the Arians, requiring them to return to orthodox Catholics the churches they had taken from them. The said edict caused a commotion among eastern Arians, and spurred Theodoric to threaten war.

Ultimately, he opted for a diplomatic solution and named Pope John, much against his wishes, to head a delegation of five bishops and four senators to Justin.

Pope John, refused to comply with Theodoric’s wishes to influence Justin to reverse his policies. The only thing he did obtain from Justin was for him to mitigate his treatment of Arians, thus avoiding reprisals against Catholics in Italy.

After the delegation returned, Theodoric, disappointed with the result of the mission, and growing daily more suspicious at reports of the friendly relations between the Pope and Justin I, had the pontiff arrested at Ravenna.

Pope John I died in prison a short time later as a result of ill treatment.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

As the century began anew, so did Catherine’s life. Cathe...

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The Rosary & True Beauty

As the century began anew, so did Catherine’s life.

Catherine was a young woman possessing great beauty. So much so, that she was known to those in Rome where she made her home as “Catherine the Beautiful.” Sadly, Catherine’s beauty went only skin deep, and she led a very sinful life.

One afternoon, strolling the streets of Rome, Catherine heard the voice of St. Dominic. This was the early 13th century and it was not unusual to cross paths with this great man of God.

On this particular day, he was preaching on the devotion to the Mother of God and the importance of praying her most holy Rosary. Caught up in the moment, Catherine had her name inscribed in the book of the confraternity and began to recite the Rosary. Though praying the Rosary gave her a sense of calmness she had not known before, Catherine did not abandon her sinful ways.

One evening, a youth, apparently a nobleman, came to her house. Catherine invited the handsome young man to stay to dine with her. When they were at supper, she saw drops of blood falling from his hands while he was breaking a piece of bread. Moments later, she observed, much to her discomfort, that all the food he took was tinged with blood.

Gathering up some courage to appease her curiosity, she asked him what that blood meant. With a firm but gentle look in his eyes, the youth replied that a Christian should take no food that was not tinged with the blood of Jesus Christ and sweetly seasoned with the memory of His passion.

Amazed at this reply, Catherine asked him who he was. "Soon," he answered, "I will show you." The rest of their meal passed uneventfully, yet always the drops of red catching Catherine’s eye, causing her to wonder about this man she supped with.

After dinner, when they had withdrawn into another room, the appearance of the youth changed. To Catherine’s stunned gaze, he showed himself crowned with thorns, his flesh torn and bleeding.

With the same firm but gentle gaze he said to her: “Do you wish to know who I am? Do you not know me? I am your Redeemer. Catherine, when will you cease to offend me? See how much I have suffered for you. You have grieved me enough, change your life."

Catherine began to weep bitterly, and Jesus, encouraging her, said: "Now begin to love me as much as you have offended me; and know that you have received this grace from me, on account of the Rosary you have been accustomed to recite in honor of my mother." And then he disappeared.

Catherine went in the morning to make her confession to St. Dominic, whose preaching on the Rosary had brought so marvelous a grace into her life. Giving to the poor all she possessed, from that day forward Catherine led so holy and joyful a life that she attained to great perfection.

It could now be said of her among the inhabitants of Rome that Catherine was indeed beautiful, but her beauty was no longer skin deep; her loveliness radiated from the depths of her soul.

The Most Holy Virgin often appeared to her; and Jesus himself revealed to St. Dominic, that this penitent had become very dear to him.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

As the century began anew, so did Catherine’s life. Catherine was a young woman possessing great beauty.

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