THE GREATNESS OF THE POWER OF MARY TO DEFEND THOSE WHO INVOKE HER WHEN TEMPTED BY THE DEVIL
Not only is the most Blessed Virgin Queen of heaven and of all Saints, but she is also Queen of hell and of all evil spirits; for she overcame them valiantly by her virtues. From the very beginning, God foretold the victory and empire that our Queen would one day obtain over the serpent, when He announced that a woman should come into the world to conquer him: ‘I will put enmities between thee and the woman — she shall crush thy head.’ And who could this woman, his enemy, be but Mary, who by her fair humility and holy life always conquered him and beat down his strength Mary, then, was this great and valiant woman, who conquered the devil and crushed his head, by bringing down his pride; so that, as St. Bernard remarks, this proud spirit, in spite of himself, was beaten down and trampled underfoot by this most Blessed Virgin, and as a slave conquered in war, he is forced always to obey the commands of this Queen. St. Bruno says ‘ that Eve was the cause of death,’ by allowing herself to be overcome by the serpent; but that Mary, by conquering the devil, restored life to us. And she bound him in such a way that this enemy cannot stir so as to do the least injury to any of her clients. It is well known that the palm is a sign of victory; and therefore our Queen is placed on a high throne, in sight of all the powers, as a palm, for a sign of the certain victory that all may promise themselves who place them selves under her protection: ‘ I was exalted like a palm-tree in Cades,’ says Ecclesiasticus; ‘ that is, to defend,’ adds blessed Albert the Great. ‘My children,’ Mary seems to say, ‘ when the enemy assails you, fly to me; cast your eyes on me, and be of good heart; for as I am your defender, victory is assured to you.’ So that recourse to Mary is a most secure means to conquer all the assaults of hell; for she, says St. Bernardine of Sienna, is even the Queen of hell, and Sovereign Mistress of the devils; since she it is who tames and crushes them. He thus expresses his thought ‘ The most Blessed Virgin rules over the infernal regions.
The devils tremble even if they only hear the name of Mary. St. Bernard declares that ‘ in the name of Mary every knee bows; and that the devils not only fear but tremble at the very sound of that name.’ And as men fall prostrate with fear if a thunderbolt falls near thorn, so do the devils if they hear the name of Mary.
In Ratisbon, there was a Canon Regular of the name of Arnold, surnamed the Pious, on account of the sanctity of his life, and who had the most tender devotion to our Blessed Lady. When at the point of death, and having received the last sacraments, he summoned his religious brethren, and begged that they would not abandon him in his last passage. Scarcely had he uttered these words when, in the presence of all, he began to tremble, to roll his eyes, and, bathed in a cold sweat, with a faltering voice said, ‘ Ah, do you not see the devils who are endeavoring to drag me to hell?’ He then cried out, ‘Brothers, implore the aid of Mary for me; in her I confide, she will give me the victory.’ On hearing this, his brethren recited the Litany of our Blessed Lady, and as they said, ‘ Holy Mary, pray for him,’ the dying man exclaimed, ‘Repeat, repeat, the name of Mary, for I am already before God’s tribunal.’ He was silent for a moment, and then added, ‘ It is true that I did it, but I have done penance for it.’ And then turning to our Blessed Lady, he said, ‘0 Mary, I shall be delivered if thou helpest me.’ Again the devils attacked him but he defended himself with his crucifix and the name of Mary. Thus was the night spent; but no sooner did morning dawn, than Arnold exclaimed with the greatest calmness, and full of holy joy, ‘Mary, my sovereign Lady, my refuge, has obtained me pardon and salvation.’ Then casting his eyes on that Blessed Virgin who was inviting him to follow her, he said, ‘ I come, 0 Lady, I come; and making an effort to do so even with his body, his soul fled after her to the realms of eternal bliss, as we trust, for he sweetly expired.
Behold at thy feet, 0 Mary, my hope, a poor sinner, who has so many times been, by his own fault, the slave of hell. I know that by neglecting to have recourse to thee, my refuge, I allowed myself to be overcome by the devil. Had I always had recourse to thee, had I always invoked thee, I certainly should not have fallen. I trust, 0 Lady, most worthy of all our love, that through thee I have already escaped from the hands of the devil, and that God has pardoned me. But I tremble lest at some future period I may again fall into the same bonds. I know that my enemies have not lost the hope of again overcoming me, and already they prepare new assaults and temptations for me. Ah, my Queen and refuge, do thou assist me. Place me under thy mantle permit me not again to become their slave. I know that thou wilt help me and give me the victory, provided I invoke thee.
EIGHTEENTH DAY – MONTH OF OUR BLESSED LADY