Mother of Mercy

Immaculate Conception by Peter Paul Rubens, 1628, Museo Del Prado, Madrid.

On March 13, 2015, His Holiness Pope Francis announced that on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary—December 8, 2015—the Universal Church would enter an Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy. Why did his Holiness choose this day: the day on which the tiny Immaculate Virgin was conceived in the womb of St. Anne; the day on which the loins of St. Joachim were blessed? In the words of St. John of Damascus (Father and Doctor of the Church):

O blessed loins of Joachim, whence the all-pure seed was poured out! O glorious womb of Anna, in which the most holy fetus {Mary} grew and was formed, silently increasing! O womb {of Anna} in which was conceived the living heaven {Mary}, wider than the wideness of the heavens. … This heaven is clearly much more divine and awesome than the first. Indeed, he who created the sun in the first heaven would himself be born of this second heaven, as the Sun of Justice.1

Perhaps, Pope Francis chose this day because it is the day of God’s supreme act of mercy to mankind: the day on which a perfect creature (Mary was conceived without sin for the sake of Christ) was granted to a sinful father; to a sinful mother; to a sinful nation; to a sinful world… For God would not leave us as orphans, but would come to us in a little while (John 14:18). Mary’s conception was the first perfect gift of God to man: coming before the God-Man Jesus Christ in the order of Divine Execution, as she comes after him in the eternal design of God the Father in the order of Divine Intention. Like all good stories, the story of God’s mercy to mankind begins with a girl, and that girl is the living Heaven. In the words of St. Proclus of Constantinople:

O man, run through all creation with your thought, and see if there exists anything comparable to, or greater than, the holy Virgin, Mother of God. Circle the whole world, explore all the oceans, survey the air, question the skies, consider all the unseen powers, and see if there exists any other similar wonder in the whole creation.2

As we enter this Year of Mercy, let us not miss the opportunity to throw ourselves (literally) at the feet of Our Lady, and beg for her mercy. Why do I say her mercy? Is it not the mercy of Christ that we seek? This is the mystery of God’s eternal design, because, though Christ is the One Mediator between God and Man, paradoxically, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church teach that it has pleased God to place the entire order of mercy in Mary’s hands.This is a profound truth of our Christian faith, which we must examine very closely to even begin to appreciate its depth.

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy
To Roman Catholics, the words of the Salve Regina are almost as familiar as the words of the Ave Maria, the Pater Noster, and the Gloria; most often in the vernacular translation, which (in English) begins: “Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our Life, our Sweetness, and our Hope…” Repeated millions of times by countless pious individuals at the conclusion of every Rosary, the words of the Salve Regina, and other similar traditional prayers, are all too often characterized as “love language,” with no sound theological foundation, and certainly with no doctrinal importance. This could not be further from the truth. Because God’s mercy is a manifestation of his grace, and because we cannot obtain God’s grace except by his mercy, it follows that God’s grace, and God’s mercy, are logically equivalent in the order of Divine Execution (from our point of view as created beings). Thus, in the order of Divine Execution (a posteriori), the Blessed Virgin Mary’s role as Dispensatrix of the entirety of God’s mercy is logically equivalent to her role as Mediatrix of the entirety of God’s graces! This latter role is confirmed by Pope St. Pius X, when he says: “Mary merits for us de congruo, as the theologians say, that which Christ merited for us de condigno; therefore, she became the principal Distributrix of graces which she received from him.” 3

Indeed, a correct (Catholic) understanding of grace, merit, justification, the magisterium, priesthood, sacraments, and redemption actually hinges on the affirmation of Mary’s role as Mediatrix of all graces—which, as we have argued, is equivalent to her role as Dispensatrix of all God’s mercy—as Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner explains:

Either Mary is Mediatrix of all graces because she is Co-redemptrix, or there is no fruitful mediation: magisterial, pastoral, sacramental, charismatic, by anyone in the Church. In rejecting the maternal mediation of Mary in the Church, and her invocation (not merely her veneration) in time of trouble, and the practice of true devotion to her, the Protestant reformation logically also rejected the mediation of the Church, in particular priestly-sacramental. With this, it becomes clear that the slogan: Christus solus is simply a modern western version of the ancient monophysitism and monotheletism: a radical denial of the very possibility of creaturely, free cooperation (merit and good works above all) in the work of redemption, beginning with the divine Maternity, and effecting of the Incarnation. The mystery of Mary as Mediatrix, whether affirmed or denied, becomes the center of a controversy over grace and justification, faith and good works, above all over the mission of the Holy Spirit and of life in the Spirit, in the realization of the plan of salvation. The reason is this: at the center of the working of the Spirit is the maternal mediation of the Virgin Mother.4

If we wish to hasten the arrival of the new springtime of the Church—which was called for by the Second Vatican Council—and join Pope St. John Paul II in calling upon “the Holy Spirit, as the giver of life, the one in whom the inscrutable Triune God communicates himself to human beings, constituting in them the source of eternal life,”5 then we must begin by uniting ourselves completely, in mind and body, to the Spouse of the Holy Spirit—the Mediatrix of all graces and Co-redemptrix, the Queen of Heaven and Mother of Mercy—because the Holy Spirit will not act except in total union with His beloved spouse. Totus tuus ego sum, et omnia mea tua sunt!

Our Life, Our Sweetness, and Our Hope
Not only the entire order of mercy, but the entire order of creation has been placed in the hands of the Holy Virgin Mother of God, by the eternal Will of the Almighty Father. In his solemn declaration of the Dogma of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Bl. Pius IX tells us:

From the very beginning, and before time began, the eternal Father chose and prepared for his only-begotten Son a Mother in whom the Son of God would become incarnate, and from whom, in the blessed fullness of time, he would be born into this world. Above all creatures did God so love her that truly in her was the Father well pleased with singular delight. Therefore, far above all the angels and all the saints so wondrously did God endow her with the abundance of all heavenly gifts poured from the treasury of his divinity that this mother, ever absolutely free of all stain of sin, all fair and perfect, would possess that fullness of holy innocence and sanctity than which, under God, one cannot even imagine anything greater, and which, outside of God, no mind can succeed in comprehending fully. … And hence the very words with which the Sacred Scriptures speak of Uncreated Wisdom and set forth his eternal origin, the Church, both in its ecclesiastical offices, and in its liturgy, has been wont to apply likewise to the origin of the Blessed Virgin, inasmuch as God, by one and the same decree, had established the origin of Mary, and the Incarnation of Divine Wisdom.6 

Here, Pope Bl. Pius IX makes use both of the Scotistic thesis on the Absolute Joint Primacy of Jesus and Mary, both of whose existence were ordained before God’s act of creation, and before any consideration of original sin,7 and the formulation of St. Anselm, who said that Mary “shines with a purity greater than which none can be imagined.”8 So much are we indebted to Mary’s Fiat that St. Anselm (Doctor Marianus) tells us that God has willed that we should owe as much to Mary as we owe to him!

The whole universe was created by God, and God was born of Mary. God created all things, and Mary gave birth to God. The God who made all things gave himself form through Mary, and thus he made his own creation. He who could create all things from nothing would not remake his ruined creation without Mary. God, then, is the Father of the created world, and Mary is the mother of the re-created world. God is the Father by whom all things were given life, and Mary is the mother through whom all things were given new life. … Truly the Lord is with you, to whom the Lord granted that all nature should owe as much to you as to himself.9

Of Mary’s divine sweetness, St. John Eudes has the following to say:

Consider that the holy Virgin is, among all pure creatures, the most powerful in heaven and on earth. She shares in the infinite omnipotence of God. She participates in the immense wisdom of the Son of God, and in the sweetness, benignity, and gentleness of the Holy Ghost, the effusion of whose sweet and benign gifts has filled her virginal heart with incomprehensible sweetness. Except the Son of God, never has there been beheld upon earth, nor will there ever be, one so gentle, so gracious, so affable, so merciful, as this lovely Child {Mary}. Her benign charity extended itself even to her cruelest enemies, the enemies of the Savior of the world. … Instead of praying heaven to punish these murderers, the spirit of charity and benignity which animated this most sweet child, caused her to pray for these miserable wretches in the words which the most merciful Redeemer would one day utter from His Cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”10

To Thee Do We Cry, Poor Banished Children of Eve
We have been banished, because we deserve to be banished. There is no getting around this hard fact. There is perhaps nothing so Catholic as an unreasonable hope in God’s mercy, even in the midst of sin. The tradition of sinful Catholics dates back at least to St. Paul:

For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good… For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. (Romans 7:14-19)

In the words of St. Lawrence of Brindisi (Doctor of the Church):

The first lesson taught us by Paul is that we are called to the grace of baptism, not because of the merits of our good works, but solely because of the goodness of God, not because of any righteous deeds we had done, but because of his mercy … Peter and Andrew are called, not from the Temple, where they were praying or sacrificing or engaging in works of piety and mercy and love, but called from the sea where they were rowing, and diligently plying their trade of catching fish. Fishing requires no special kind of holiness and virtue.11

Is it presumption to hope in God’s mercy when we are still in the midst of our sin? Are we, perhaps, hypocrites, if we hold to an ideal of holiness that we do not live up to? Perhaps, we can gain an insight from Dietrich von Hildebrand:

In the first place, it is quite mistaken to believe that a person who does not live up to his moral ideals is therefore dishonest, or, to put it otherwise, that consistent agreement between one’s principles and one’s conduct is the criterion of honesty. It is certainly desirable for a man to live up to his moral convictions, provided that they are valid. … However, the man who strives and fails to live up to what he has recognized to be morally good cannot, in the least, be said to be dishonest. On the contrary, for him to admit that the moral law and moral values are fully valid (even though he has failed to live up to them) is a definite indication of his honesty. What is dishonest—and what is unfortunately typical of our age—is for men to adapt truth to suit their actions: to take their own actual conduct as the standard, and to deny the validity of moral laws, because they have not succeeded in living up to those laws. … For the so-called Victorian hypocrite at least betrayed by his hypocrisy an indirect respect for moral values. On the other hand, the shameless contemporary sinner, who has lost all sense of the immorality and meanness of sexual promiscuity, deserves not the slightest praise for his “honesty,” for he has no reason to hide his moral deviations. He no longer considers them shocking, and he has nothing to fear from public opinion since it has now become fashionable not to be shocked by promiscuity.12

To Thee Do We Send Up Our Sighs, Mourning, Weeping, in this Valley of Tears
Why do we weep? Clearly, we weep for the sins of others, since these offend God. We hear constantly of executions, murders, abuse, and all forms of sins against humanity—perhaps, we even witness them. We weep for those who suffer from poverty, hunger, neglect, and cruel exploitation. But most of all, we weep for our own sins. When St. Maximilian Kolbe taught his Militia Immaculatae to pray, “Allow me to praise you, O most holy Virgin; give me strength against your enemies,” he explained:

Who is her enemy? Whatever is stained, whatever does not lead to God, whatever is not love, whatever comes from the hellish serpent, he himself is her enemy; hence it includes all our defects, or all our faults. We ask her to give us strength against him. For this one purpose, all devotions exist, all prayer, all sacraments; that we receive power to overcome all obstacles in our striving for God in a more and more ardent love, in assimilating ourselves to God, in uniting with God himself.13

The reality of our sinfulness places us in a seemingly impossible situation. We cannot help but plead “guilty” before God’s just judgment, and throw ourselves on the mercy of the heavenly court. Who will represent us when we face the awful judgment of God—and his just anger—in this, the most important trial of our lives?

Turn then, Most Gracious Advocate, Thine Eyes of Mercy Toward Us
Mary’s role as our Advocate before God has been supported by countless saints, but perhaps nowhere has the legal connotation of the title (our advocate = our lawyer) been so wonderfully illustrated as in the Revelations of St. Birgitta (Bridget) of Sweden. In a vision, St. Birgitta witnessed the judgment of a lukewarm man (one of whom Jesus himself said in the Gospel that he would prefer to spit from his mouth) who was brought before the court of the particular judgment at his death. The devil demanded the right to drag the man’s soul to hell, taunting God on account of his justice, which the devil said God could not deny on behalf of his mercy, when the Mother of Mercy intervened dramatically:

After this {the demons’ taunts} a trumpet-like sound was heard at which those who heard it fell silent, and immediately a voice spoke and said: “Be silent, all of you angels and souls and demons, and hear what God’s Mother has to say!” Then the Virgin herself appeared before the judgment seat, and it looked as though she were hiding some large objects beneath her mantle. She said: “You enemies! You attack mercy, and you love justice but without charity. Though these good works of this soul may be deficient and, for that reason, he should not enter heaven, yet look what I have beneath my mantle!” Then the Virgin opened the folds of her mantle on either side. On one side could be seen a little church, as it were, with monks in it. On the other side appeared men and women, God’s friends, both religious and others, all of them crying out with one voice and saying: “Have mercy, merciful Lord!”14

The man’s soul was spared, on account of his incomparable defense attorney! In this vision, we see not only how our Advocate-Mother comes to the aid of those whose souls are in peril, but also how she makes use of the good works of those who are consecrated to her, and who offer their service to her, on behalf of others. In another vision, the devil attempted to lay his hands on a woman who was formerly a prostitute, and who, after she had entered a church but subsequently despaired of God’s mercy, was about to return to her former way of life. The Mother of Mercy stopped the devil, and commanded him to answer the following question: “Tell me, devil, what intention did this woman have before entering the church?” The devil reluctantly replied that the woman had intended to leave her sinful way of life. The Virgin then asked the devil: “Tell me, if a robber lay in wait outside the doors of the bride and wanted to rape her, what would the bridegroom do?” The devil admitted that the bridegroom would defend his bride. Then the Virgin-Advocate of sinners said:

You are the wicked robber. This soul is the bride of the bridegroom, my Son, who redeemed her with his own blood. You corrupted and seized her by force. Therefore, since my Son is the bridegroom of her soul, and Lord over you, then it is your role to flee before him.15

In a third vision, Birgitta saw the judgment of the soul of her own son. Karl was a knight who had lived a rather immoral life, which immediately before his death included the intention of abandoning his wife in Sweden, and becoming romantically involved with the queen of Naples, whom he met while accompanying his mother Birgitta on a pilgrimage. Birgitta knew of his intention, and she prayed that Karl would die before he could consummate his wish. Her prayer was answered.

At that very moment, Lady Birgitta saw herself removed to a great and beautiful palace, and the Lord Jesus Christ seated there like a crowned emperor with the tribunal in front of him, and an infinite host of angels and saints in attendance. She saw his most worthy mother standing beside him, and following the proceedings closely. A soul, too, was seen to stand before the judge in great fear and trembling, naked like a newborn babe, as though completely blind, and unable to see, but understanding in its conscience what was being said and done in the palace. An angel stood to the right of the judge, next to the soul, and a devil to his left, but neither of them touched the soul or laid hands on it. Then the devil cried out, saying:

Hear me, almighty Judge! I lodge a complaint before you that a woman, who is both my Lady and your mother, whom you love so much that you have given her power over heaven and earth, and over all us demons in hell, has indeed done me an injustice in regard to this soul that now stands here. After this soul left the body, by right I should have immediately received it, and presented it in my company to your court of judgment. Behold, O just judge: this woman, your mother, almost before this soul left the man’s mouth, laid hold of it with her hands and brought it to your court under her powerful protection.

Then Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, replied:

Hear, devil, my reply. When you were created, you understood the justice which was in God from eternity without beginning. You also had the free choice to do what pleased you most and, although you chose to hate God rather than to love him, you still understand what justice demands. Therefore, I say to you that it was my right rather than yours to bring this soul before God, the true Judge. While his soul was in the body, this man had great love for me, and often pondered in his heart how God had deigned to make me his mother, and willed to raise me up above all created beings. And so he began to love God so much that he said in his heart: ‘I rejoice so much that God so dearly cherishes the Virgin Mary, his mother, that there is no created thing or bodily delight in the world that I would accept in exchange for this joy {of seeing her in her place of honor next to God}.’ Accordingly, devil, look at the disposition of his will when he departed. What seems more right to you now: that his soul should come under my protection before the judgment seat of God, or that it should come into your hands to be cruelly tortured?…

The devil replied:

I shall now enumerate his sins.

He wanted to start at once, but at that very moment began to cry and wail and frenetically search inside himself, in his head and in all the limbs he seemed to have. He seemed to tremble all over and cried out in great consternation:

Woe and misery to me! I have lost the work that took me so long! Not only is the text erased and destroyed, but all the material in which everything was written has been consumed! The material stands for the time in which he sinned, and I cannot remember it any more than the sins written in it. …

The angel replied:

Open the sack and request judgment on the sins for which you are supposed to chastise him.

At these words, the devil cried out as though out of his mind, saying:

I have been robbed of my rights! Not only has my sack been taken away, but even the sins that it was full of. … I must still punish him for all those venial sins he committed; they have not at all been deleted by the indulgences. There are thousands of thousands, all written on my tongue.

The angel replied:

Stick out your tongue and show us what is written there!

The devil answered with a great wail and clamor like a madman and said:

Woe is me, I do not have even a single word to say! My tongue has been cut off at the root along with all its force. …

Then Christ the Judge spoke saying:

Withdraw, enemy devil!

To the knight {Karl} he then said:

Come, you my chosen one!

And immediately the devil fled.16

Mary’s role as our Advocate before Christ is foreshadowed in the typology of the Old Testament, when Solomon, who is a type of Christ, received his mother, Bathsheba, who is a type of the Virgin-Mother. Solomon arose to meet her, bowed before her, and set up a throne for her at his right hand. “And she said to him: ‘I desire one small petition of thee, do not put me to confusion.’ And the king said to her: ‘My mother, ask: for I must not turn away thy face.’” (1 Kings 2:20) Similarly, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Bernardine of Siena, and countless other saints maintain that God will not deny even the smallest petition of his Virgin-Mother, Daughter, and Spouse.

And After This, Our Exile, Show Unto Us the Blessed Fruit of Thy Womb: Jesus
What do we have to look forward to, after this, our exile? The Beatific Vision: Jesus Christ. Are we assured of this vision? It is a curious thing that many saints have adamantly maintained that we are, if we are devoted to the Mother of Mercy! How is this possible? Having a sure ticket to Heaven seems presumptuous in the extreme—perhaps even superstitious. This is certainly the Protestant accusation of Catholic Marian devotion, particularly if it involves sacramentals, such as the brown scapular, or the miraculous medal. Yet, hosts of saints, such as St. Louis Marie de Montfort and St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, maintain—even at the cost of appearing foolish—that the soul who belongs to Mary cannot be lost. This “foolish” notion has long been a mainstay of Franciscan spirituality, following Br. Leo’s famous vision of the White Ladder:

The Franciscan Chronicles relate that a certain Brother Leo saw in a vision two ladders: the one red, the other white. On the upper end of the red ladder, stood Jesus, and on the other, stood his holy Mother. The brother saw that some tried to climb the red ladder; but scarcely had they mounted some rungs when they fell back, they tried again, but with no better success. Then, they were advised to try the white ladder, and to their surprise they succeeded for the Blessed Virgin stretched out her hand, and with her aid, they reached heaven.17

Can Heaven be had for the asking? Well, yes, in a way… Perhaps, the best analogy is to a marriage proposal. If a man (we will call him “the sinner”) asks the woman he loves (we will call her “heaven”) to marry him, and she says “yes,” then one could say that the sinner has gotten into heaven for the asking. However, much more is required! The woman is a person, not an object, and she has requirements of love, fidelity, friendship, family—to name only a few. Mary is the Mother of Mercy, but she is also a woman, and she is a woman with demands! It may seem like a simple thing for a sinner to belong to her, and then get to Heaven “for free.” But this path will not give the sinner Heaven for free! It will cost a great deal. It will cost all of himself—his life and, very possibly, every last drop of his blood. But like the man who proposes to the woman he loves, the reward is immeasurable! The Mother of Mercy will demand all from her servants (slaves, possessions, property, instruments), but she will give far more in return. The greatest consolation that an instrument of Mary has is to know, with absolute certainty, that everything which happens to him/her is exactly what he/she wants, because it comes from the hand of the Mother of Mercy—the one whose will is so perfectly united with God’s that her fiat could create (and redeem) the universe.18 In the words of St. Gregory Palamas:

She {Mary} is the cause of what came before her, the champion of what came after her, and the agent of things eternal. She is the substance of the prophets, the principles of the apostles, the firm foundation of the martyrs, and the premise of the teachers of the Church. She is the glory of those upon earth, the joy of celestial beings, the adornment of all creation. She is the beginning, and the source, and the root of unutterable good things; she is the summit and the consummation of everything holy.19

When we are faced with sufferings, whether insignificantly small or unbearably large, in this, our exile, let us constantly keep before our eyes the incomparable sweetness and gentleness of the one who is sending us these sufferings from the depths of her ineffable mercy: our dear Mother; and freely echo her fiat from the depths of our hearts: “This is exactly what I want!”

O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary
In the words of St. John Eudes: 

O all amiable Child {Mary}, I am not astonished that the divine Spouse exclaims: “Thy lips, my spouse, are as dropping honeycomb; honey and milk are under thy tongue.” And he continues, “Thy spirit is sweet above honey.” Holy Church cries out in the same strain: “Inter omnes mitis…. O benigna! O clemens! O pia! O dulcis Virgo Maria!” Immortal thanks be given to this holy Spirit of God, for having inebriating thee with the nectar of heavenly sweetness, and transformed thee into his own divine gentleness. May the Eternal Father receive in satisfaction for my sins against his virtue, the honor thou hast given him by its practice.20

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

  1. St. John of Damascus, “Homily on the Nativity,” 2, 3, as quoted by Fr. Luigi Gambero, S.M., Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA, 1999, pp. 402-403.
  2. St. Proclus of Constantinople, Homily 5:2, as quoted by ibid., p. 251.
  3. Pope St. Pius X, Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum.
  4. Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner, F.I., Mary at the Foot of the Cross—VII: Coredemptrix, therefore Mediatrix of All Graces. Acts of the Seventh International Symposium on Marian Coredemption, Academy of the Immaculate, New Bedford, MA, 2008, p. 3.
  5. Pope St. John Paul II, Dominum et Vivificantem.
  6. Pope Bl. Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus.
  7. Cf. Fr. Ruggero Rosini, O.F.M., Mariology of Blessed John Duns Scotus, translated by Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner, F.I., Academy of the Immaculate, New Bedford, MA, 2008
  8. St. Anselm of Canterbury, De Conceptu Virginali et de Originali Peccato, 18.
  9. Ibid., Sermon (Oratio 52), used in the Roman Office of Readings for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
  10. St. John Eudes, The Wondrous Childhood of the Most Holy Mother of God, Loreto Publications, Fitzwilliam, NH, 2004, pp. 275-276.
  11. St. Lawrence of Brindisi, from Seasonal Sermons, translated by Fr. Vernon Wagner, O.F.M. CAP., Media House, Delhi, India, 2007, as quoted in Magnificat, July 2015, Vol. 17, No. 5, p. 312.
  12. Dietrich von Hildebrand, Trojan Horse in the City of God, Sophia Institute Press, Manchester, NH, 1993, pp. 134-136.
  13. St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, “Explanation of Act of Consecration,” in Aim Higher!, Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1994, p. 140.
  14. St. Birgitta of Sweden, Revelations, Book IV, Ch 7, v 24-27, in The Revelations of St. Birgitta of Sweden, translated by Denis Searby with Introduction and Notes by Bridget Morris, Vol. 2, Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 2008, p. 38.
  15. Ibid., Book I, Ch 16, v 5-10, in ibid., Vol. 1, 2006, pp. 78-79.
  16. Ibid., Book VII, Ch 13, v 11-74, in ibid., Vol. 3, 2012, pp. 228-233.
  17. The story is related by St. Alphonsus Liguori in The Glories of Mary, translated from the Italian by Rev. Eugene Grimm, C.Ss.R., Redemptorist Fathers, Brooklyn, NY, 1931, p. 246.
  18. Cf. Jonathan Fleischmann, “She Said Yes!”, Missio Immaculatae International, Vol. 10, No. 3, 2014, pp. 6-10.
  19. St. Gregory Palamas, A Homily on the Dormition of Our Supremely Pure Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary (Homily 37), as quoted by Fr. Paul Haffner, The Mystery of Mary, Gracewing, 2004, pp. 9-10.
  20. St. John Eudes, The Wondrous Childhood, p. 276.
Jonathan Fleischmann About Jonathan Fleischmann

Jonathan Fleischmann is the father of seven beautiful children, all of whom are being home-schooled by his intrepid wife Clara on their 15-acre hobby farm in Wisconsin. Jonathan is currently employed as a structural engineer in the post-frame building industry, and he has also been employed as an assistant professor of general engineering and engineering mechanics at various universities, as well as a middle-school math teacher.


  1. Pope Francis chose December 8 to begin the Jubilee of Mercy because the date marks fifty years since the close of the Second Vatican Council.

  2. This is a most uplifting and comforting theme concerning the role of Our Blessed Lady in our lives and our redemption, especially in this year of mercy. Thank-you for this beautiful article!

    • I agree entirely with you, and I quote St. Andrew’s prayer:
      Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary; at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, Oh my God, to hear my prayer, and grant my desire, through the merits of our savior, Jesus Christ, and His Blessed mother.

  3. Avatar Lanita Schwartz says:

    Excellent. A valuable tool for meditation during this Year of Mercy. I found these reflections on the prayer, the Salve Regina most helpful as I continue to learn Mary in Jesus.