MARY IS THE PEACEMAKER BETWEEN SINNERS AND GOD
The grace of God is the greatest and the most desirable of treasures for every soul. It is called by the Holy Ghost an infinite treasure; for by the means of Divine grace we are raised to the honor of being the friends of God. These are the words of the Book of Wisdom: For she is an infinite treasure to men: which they that use become the friends of God. And hence Jesus, our Redeemer and God, did not hesitate to call those His friends who were in grace: You are My friends. 0 accursed sin, that dissolves this friendship! ‘But your iniquities,’ says the Prophet Isaias, ‘have divided between you and your God.’ And putting hatred between the soul and God, it is changed from a friend into an enemy of its Lord, as ex pressed in the Book of Wisdom: But to God the wicked and his wickedness are hateful alike. What, then, must a sinner do who has the misfortune to be the enemy of God I He must find a mediator who will obtain par don for him, and who will enable him to recover the lost friendship of God. Mary, says Cardinal Hugo, is the great peacemaker, who finds and obtains the reconciliation of enemies with God, salvation for those who are lost, pardon for sinners, and mercy for those who are in despair. And therefore was she called by the Divine Bridegroom, beautiful as the curtains of Solomon. In the tents of David, questions of war alone were treated, but in those of Solomon, questions of peace only were entertained; and thus does the Holy Spirit give us to understand that this Mother of Mercy never treats of war and vengeance against sinners, but only of peace and forgiveness for them. Mary was prefigured by the dove which returned to Noah in the ark with an olive branch in its beak, as a pledge of the peace which God granted to men. And on this idea St. Bonaventure thus addresses our Blessed Lady: ‘Thou art that most faithful dove; thou wast a sure mediatrix between God and the world, lost in a spiritual deluge; thou, by presenting thyself before God, hast obtained for a lost world peace and salvation. Mary, then, was the heavenly dove which brought to a lost world the olive branch, the sign of mercy, since she in the first place gave us Jesus Christ, who is the source of mercy, and then, by His merits, obtained all graces for us. And as by Mary, says St. Epiphanius, heavenly peace was once for all given to the world, so by her are sinners still reconciled to God. Where fore blessed Albert the Great makes her say: I am that dove of Noah, which brought the olive- branch of universal peace to the Church. Again, the rainbow seen by St. John, which encircled the throne of God, was an express figure of Mary: And there was a rainbow round about the throne. It is thus explained by Cardinal Vitalis: The rainbow round the throne is Mary, who softens the judgment and sentence of God against sinners; meaning, that she is always before God’s tribunal, mitigating the chastisements due to sinners. St. Bernardine of Siena says, ‘ that it was of this rain bow that God spoke when He promised Noah that He would place it in the clouds as a sign of peace, that on looking at it He might re member the eternal peace which He had covenanted to man. “I will set My bow in the clouds, and it shall be the sign of a covenant between Me and between the earth, and I shall see it, and shall remember the everlasting covenant.” Mary, says the Saint, ‘is this bow of eternal peace: for, as God on seeing it remembers the peace promised to the earth, so does He, at the prayers of Mary, for give the crimes of sinners, and confirm His peace with them. St. John Chrysostom says, that another purpose for which the Blessed Virgin Mary was made the Mother of God was, that she might obtain salvation for many, who, on account of their wicked lives, could not be saved according to the rigor of Divine justice, but might be so with the help of her sweet mercy and powerful intercession. This is confirmed by St. Anselm, who says, ‘that Mary was raised to the dignity of Mother of God rather for sinners than for the just, since Jesus Christ declares, that He came to call not the just but sinners.’ For this reason, the holy Church sings, ‘Thou dost not abhor sinners, without whom thou wouldst never have been worthy of such a Son. For the same reason William of Paris, invoking her, says: 0 Mary, thou art obliged to help sinners for all the gifts, the graces, and high honors, which are comprised in the dignity of Mother of God, that thou hast received; thou owest all, so to say, to sinners, for on their account thou wast made worthy to have a God for thy Son. If then Mary,’ concludes St. Anselm, was made Mother of God on account of sinners, how can I, however great my sins may be, despair of pardon?
Alan de la Roche and Boniface relate, that in Florence there was a young woman of the name of Benedicta, who was leading a most wicked and scandalous life. Fortunately for her, as it turned out, St. Dominic went to preach in that city, and she, out of mere curiosity, went one day to hear him. God, during that sermon, touched her heart, so much so that she went, and weeping bitterly, confessed to the Saint. St. Dominic thereupon absolved her, and desired her to say the Rosary for her penance. From evil habits, the unfortunate creature again fell into her former mode of life. The Saint heard of it, sought her out, and again induced her to confess. God, in order to make her persevere, one day showed her hell, and pointed out some who were there on her account. He then opened a book, and in it made her read the frightful catalog of her sins. The sinner was horrified at such a sight, and full of confidence, begged that Mary would assist her, and she understood that this good Mother had already obtained from God time for her to weep over so many crimes. After the vision Benedicta led a good life; but always seeing before her eyes that terrible catalog, she one day began to implore her comfortress in the following terms: ‘ My Mother,’ said she, ‘ it is true that for my crimes I ought now to be in the lowest abyss of hell, but since thou, by obtaining me time to repent, hast delivered me from it, I ask thee this one favor more, 0 most compassionate Lady, that my sins may be canceled from the book, and I will never cease all the same to weep for them.’ At this prayer Mary appeared to her, and told her that to obtain what she desired she must always remember her sins and the mercy that God had shown her, and besides, that she should often recall to her mind the sufferings which her Divine Son had endured for her love, and consider how many were lost for less sins than she had committed; and, at the same time, revealed to her, that on that day, a child only eight years of age would go to hell for one mortal sin. Benedicta obeyed our Blessed Lady faithfully, and, behold, one day Jesus Christ appeared to her, and showing her the book, said, See, the book is blank, thy sins are canceled, now write acts of love and virtue in their stead.’ Doing this, Benedicta led a holy life, and died the death of a Saint.
O my most sweet Lady, since thy office is, as William of Paris says, that of a mediatrix between God and sinners, I will address thee in the words of St. Thomas of Villanova: Fulfill thy office in my behalf, o tender Advocate, do thy work. Say not that my cause is too difficult to gain, for I know, and all tell me so, that every cause, no matter how desperate, if undertaken by thee, is never, and never will be, lost. And will mine be lost? Ah, no, this I cannot fear. The only thing that I might fear is that, on seeing the multitude of my sins, thou mightest not undertake my defense. But on seeing thy immense mercy, and the very great desire of thy most sweet heart to help the most abandoned sinners, even this I cannot fear. And who was ever lost that had recourse to thee? Therefore, I invoke thy aid, O my great Advocate, my refuge, my hope, my Mother, Mary. To thy hands do I entrust the cause of my eternal salvation. To thee do I commit my soul; it was lost, but thou hast to save it. I will always thank our Lord for having given me this great confidence in thee; and which, notwithstanding my unworthiness, I feel is an assurance of salvation. I have but one fear to afflict me, 0 beloved Queen, and that is, that I may one day, by my own negligence, lose this confidence in thee. And therefore I implore thee, 0 Mary, by the love thou bearest to Jesus, thyself to preserve and increase in me, more and more, this sweet confidence in thy intercession, by which I hope most certainly to recover the Divine friendship, that I have hitherto so madly despised and lost; and having recovered it, I hope, through thee, to preserve it; and preserving it by the same means, I hope at length to thank thee for it in heaven, and there to sing God’s mercies and thine for all eternity. Amen. This is my hope; thus may it be, thus it will be.
TWENTY-THIRD DAY – MONTH OF MARY