Since today is the memorial of St. Alphonsus Ligouri – The Patron of Theologians, I found it fitting to use some of his Marian spiritual writings for today’s “Mondays with Mary.” Like many of the saints before him, St. Alphonsus Ligouri had a great love and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
As Catholics today, we too are called to nurture a deep devotion with her, as did those who came before us. Beginning at the Wedding Feast of Cana to our present time, the Blessed Mother intercedes for us, most especially when we call out and ask her. Mary is the perfect intercessor between Jesus and us. She secures his grace and also dispenses it to us. Don’t wait a second longer – call out to her in prayer and she will be your Mother.
The Glories of Mary, written by St. Alphonsus is said to be one of the greatest Catholic books ever written on the Blessed Virgin. It’s one-volume consisting of five books. Bringing together some of the greatest works from the Saints, Doctors of the Church, other authors, and Sacred Scripture, St. Alphonsus explains the beauty that makes up the Blessed and Holy Mother of God. One of the four short meditations (#3) I provide for you below comes from The Glories of Mary.
At this time, I don’t yet have this book in my Marian library, but hope to buy it soon. If you are interested yourself, click here to purchase a copy.
Now let us turn to the four meditations on Our Lady –
This first and second meditation comes from his work titled, The Passion and the Death of Jesus Christ, and focuses on Mary’s standing at the cross
1. “’There stood by the cross of Jesus his Mother’ (John 19:25). We observe in this the Queen of Martyrs, a sort of martyrdom more cruel than any other martyrdom, — that of a mother so placed as to behold an innocent Son executed upon a gibbet of infamy: ‘she stood.’ Ever since Jesus was apprehended in the garden, he has been abandoned by his disciples; but Mary abandons him not. She stays with him till she sees him expire before her eyes; ‘she stood close by.’ Mothers, in general, flee away from the presence of their sons when they see them suffer, and cannot render them away any assistance: content enough would they be themselves to endure their sons’ sufferings; and, therefore, when they see them suffering without the power of succoring them, they have not the strength to endure so great a pain, and consequently flee away, and go to a distance. Not so Mary. She sees his life away; but she flees not, nor moves to a distance. On the contrary, she draws near to the cross whereon her Son is dying. O sorrowing Mary! disdain me not for a companion to assist at the death of they Jesus and mine.”
2. “She stood near to the cross. The cross, then, is the bed whereon Jesus leaves his life; a bed of suffering, where this afflicted Mother is watching Jesus, all wounded as he is with scourges and with thorns. Mary observes how this her poor Son, suspended from those three iron nails, finds neither a position nor repose. She would wish to give him some relief; she would wish, at least, since he has to die, to have him die in her arms. But nothing of all this is allowed her. Ah, cross! she says, give back my Son! Thou art a malefactor’s gibbet; whereas my Son is innocent.
But grieve not thyself, O Mother. It is the will of the Eternal Father that the cross should not give Jesus back to thee until after he has died and breathed his last. O Queen of Sorrows! obtain for me sorrow for my sins.”
3. “In a world, when we love a person, it is customary to speak of them and praise them so that these individuals will be esteemed and praised by others…Those who really love our Lady…endeavor to praise her always and everywhere to make the whole world love her…So that everyone may be convinced, both for our own good and for the good of the Christian people, how important it is to promote devotion to Mary…I confine myself, for the most part, to her mercy and power of her intercession…I find that the mercy and the power of our Lady are admirably portrayed in the prayer Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Mary)…which marvelously describes his power and mercy of the Virgin Mary…” (Glories of Mary, pages 24-25).
4. Here is a prayer focusing on our death and Mary’s intercession at that point –
“Majestic Sovereign – pardon my boldness – come, before I take my last breath, come in person to console me with your presence. Without a doubt, I am only a sinner, I am not worthy of this favor; but I am your servant, I love you, and my trust in you is without limitations, O Mary! I then wait for you; don’t disappoint my hope. Anyway,…at least help me from heaven so that I leave this life loving God and you, O my Mother, to then continue to love you eternally in paradise.”
I would suggest for this week focusing and meditating in your prayer life on one or all four of these Marian mediations. I would also suggest asking and reflecting on the following questions:
Is your spirituality a Marian spirituality? Is your spiritual life colored with hope?
Where is Mary in your life as a Catholic Christian? Does she hold a place greater than all the other saints or she someone you randomly ask for intercession from?
In what ways to you seek to create a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary? Do you prayer the Holy Rosary? Do you prayer Marian prayers such as the Hail Mary, the Memorare, and Hail, Holy Queen?
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy and Hope…Pray for Us.
St. Alphonsus Ligouri…Pray for Us.