THE GREATNESS OF MARY
One day Saint Gertrude saw Our Lord counting gold coins. She summoned the courage to ask Him what He was doing. He answered: “I am counting the Hail Mary’s that you have said; this is the money with which you can pay your way to Heaven.”
The Sinner’s Bouquet to the Blessed Virgin
It is related in the life of the Curé d’Ars that on one occasion, a lady, a perfect stranger to him, asked him to pray for her husband, a careless Catholic, who had just died suddenly and without receiving the Sacraments. “He was so careless, Father,” she said, weeping; “he did not go to his duties, and whatever will become of him?” “Madam,” replied the saintly Priest, “do you not remember the bouquet of flowers he picked every Saturday to decorate Our Lady’s Altar? In return Our Blessed Lady obtained for him the Grace to make an Act of Perfect Contrition before dying, and he is saved. This filled the woman with true happiness and love for the Mercy of Our Lord and Lady.
How A Sinful Priest Was Saved From God’s Justice Through Mary
When St. Francis Borgia was in Rome, an ecclesiastic came to speak with him; but the saint being much occupied, sent Father Acosta to him. The ecclesiastic said to him: “Father, I am a Priest and a preacher, but I live in sin, and distrust the Divine Mercy. After preaching a sermon one day against the obstinate, who afterwards despair of pardon, a person came to me to make his Confession, who narrated to me all my sins, and at length told me that he despaired of the Divine Mercy. In order to do my duty, I told him that he must change his life, and trust in God; then that penitent rose to his feet and reproached me, saying: And you, who preach thus to others, why do you not amend, and why do you distrust? Know, said he, that I am an Angel come to your aid; amend and you will be pardoned. And when he had said this he disappeared. I abstained for several days from my sinful practices, but when temptation came I again returned to my sins. On another day, as I was celebrating Mass, Jesus Christ sensibly spoke to me from the Host, and said: Why dost thou thus maltreat Me, when I treat thee so well? After this I resolved to amend, but at the next temptation fell again into sin. A few hours ago, a youth came to me in my apartment, and drew from under his mantle a chalice, and from this a Consecrated Host, saying: Do you know this Lord whom I hold in my hand? Do you remember how many favours He has done you? Now behold the punishment of your ingratitude, and saying this he drew a sword to kill me. I then cried: For the love of Mary do not kill me, for I will indeed amend. And then he said: This was the only thing you could have said to save yourself: make a good use of this Grace, for this is the last mercy for you. When he had said this he left me, and I came immediately here, praying you to receive me among you.” Father Acosta consoled him, and the Priest, by the advice also of St. Francis, entered another order of strict observance, where he persevered in Holiness till his death.
The Power of the Stabat Mater
In the city of Cesena there lived two very bad men who were friends. One of them, named Bartholomew, in the midst of all his vices practised the devotion of reciting every day the “Stabat Mater” in honor of the Sorrowful Mary. Once when he was repeating this hymn, Bartholomew had a vision, in which he seemed to stand with his sinful companion in a lake of fire, and saw the most Holy Virgin, moved to pity, offer Her hand and take him from the flames. She directed him to seek pardon from Jesus Christ, who showed himself willing to pardon him through the prayers of His Mother. The vision ended, and Bartholomew at the moment heard the intelligence that his friend had been mortally wounded and was dead. Then he knew the truth of the vision, and quitting the world, entered the order of Capuchins, where he led a most austere life, and died in the fame of sanctity.
Mary Saves a Man in Moortal Sin
A certain canon, while he was repeating some devotions in honor of the Divine Mother, fell into the river Seine and was drowned, and being in mortal sin, the devils came to take him to hell. But Mary appeared at the same time, and said to them: “How have you dared to take possession of one who died praising Me?” Then turning to the sinner, She said: “Repent, and be particularly devout to My Conception.” He was restored to life, became a religious, and never ceased to thank his deliverer, and everywhere to propagate the devotion to Her Immaculate Conception.
Saved From Hell by Mother Mary
A noble youth, named Eschylus, being bent by the prince his Father to Hildesheim, a city of Saxony, to study, abandoned himself to a dissolute life. He fell ill, and was near dying, and while in that state he had a vision. He saw himself shut up in a furnace of fire, and believed himself to be already in hell; and then he escaped from it through a hole and took refuge in a great place, where he found the most Holy Mary in the hall, and She said to him: “Rash man, dost thou dare to appear before Me? Depart from here and go to the flames which Thou dost merit.” The young man besought the Virgin to have mercy on him, and then turned to some persons who were near, and implored them to recommend him to Mary. They did so, and the divine Mother answered: “You do not know the sinful life he has led, and that he had not even thought of saying a Hail Mary in My Honor.” But his advocates answered: “Oh Lady, he will change his life;” and the youth added: “Yes, I promise really to amend, and I will be Thy servant.” Then the Virgin’s anger was appeased, and She said to him: “Well, I accept your promise; be faithful to Me, and meanwhile, with My Blessing, be delivered from hell and death.” When She had said this, the Virgin disappeared. Eschylus came to himself, and blessing Mary, related to others the Grace he had received. He led ever after a Holy life, always preserving a great affection towards the Blessed Virgin, and was made Archbishop of the Church of Lude, in Denmark, where he converted many to the Faith. Towards the close of his life, being old, he resigned the Archbishopric and became a Monk of Clairvaux, where he lived four years, and died a Holy death. Hence he has been numbered by some writers among the saints of the Cistercian order.
The Gifts of the Blessed Virgin Mary
In the country of Normandy a certain robber was beheaded, and his head was thrown into a trench; but afterwards it was heard crying: “Mary, give me Confession.” A Priest went to him and heard his confession; and questioning him as to his practices of devotion, the robber answered that he had no other except that of fasting one day of the week in honor of the Holy Virgin, and that for this our Lady had obtained for him the Grace to be delivered from hell by that Confession.
The Power of an Hail Mary
There was once in Germany a certain criminal condemned to death; but he was obstinate and refused to make his Confession, though a Jesuit father did his utmost to convert him. He entreated him, he wept, he cast himself at his feet; but seeing that all was in vain, he finally said: “Let us recite a Hail Mary.” No sooner had the criminal recited it than he began to cry bitterly, made his confession with much compunction, and wished to die clasping the image of Mary.
The Grace of a Hail Mary
In a city of Spain there lived a sinful man who had given himself to the devil, and had never been to confession. He did nothing good but say a “Hail Mary” every day. Father Eusebius Nierembergh relates, that when this man was at the point of death the most holy Virgin appeared to him in a dream and looked on him; Her kind eyes so changed him that he immediately sent for a Confessor, made his Confession with a voice broken by sobs, made a vow to become a religious if he should live, and then died.
A Letter from Mary
Young Lady Jane was as sweet as she was lovely. Being the daughter of a prince, the whole world lay before her, full of possibilities. At a young age, Jane chose the road less traveled, that of giving her life to her Savior as His bride. With her parents’ blessing she entered a Monastery, not too distant from her ancestral home. Sadly, the discipline of this monastery was so relaxed, that, although she was a young person of good intentions, she advanced but little in virtue. But her Divine Spouse watched over Jane and sent her a blessing in the form of a Holy confessor. This devout man of God recognized Jane’s plight though she herself did not and with all seriousness implored her to pray a Rosary every day. With youthful enthusiasm Jane took her confessor’s advice to heart and she began to say the Rosary, daily thinking about the mysteries as she prayed. This simple devotion caused her to become so changed that she was an example to all. Unfortunately, her fervor pricked the consciences of those who enjoyed the laxity allowed in the Monastery. The other Religious, taking offence at her for withdrawing from them, attacked her on all sides, to induce her to abandon her newly-begun way of life. One day while she was repeating the Rosary, and praying to Mother Mary to assist her in this persecution, she saw a letter fall from above. The paper was of purest white, feeling almost silky to Jane’s touch. The script flowed along the page as if it were dancing the most elegant of dances. On the outside were written these words: “Mary, Mother of God, to Her daughter Jane, greeting;” and within
“My dear child, continue to say My Rosary ; withdraw from conversation with those who do not help you to live well ; beware of idleness and vanity ; take from your cell two superfluous things, and I will be your protectress with God.” The young Nun kept her letter close and read it often. More importantly, she followed her Mother’s gentle advice to the letter and continued to hold fast in the face of persecution. It is no small thing to remain close to Our Lady while being deprived of human companionship, but Jane did all within her power to please her “protectress.”
It was not long before the abbot of that monastery paid a visited. Seeing the lack of discipline and virtue among the majority of its inhabitants, he attempted to reform it, but did not succeed. One day, to his horror, he saw a great number of demons entering the cells of all the Nuns, except that of Jane. Drawing closer to the favored cell, the abbot came upon Jane kneeling before an image of Our Lady. At one glance the Abbot could see that same Heavenly Mother banishing the demons from Jane’s cell. He quietly withdrew and entered the gardens to pray for guidance. After a time, he called the young Nun to his side, asking her the most general questions about her life in the Monastery and her religious practices. When he heard from her of the devotion of the Rosary which she practiced, and the letter she had received from above, everything became clear. He now had a sure means of reform for the entire monastery! He ordered all the others to repeat it, and it is related that this monastery soon became a paradise under the gentle gaze of its Protectress.
The Hermit and The Devil
A hermit of Mount Olivet had in his cell a holy image of Mary, and frequently offered up prayers before it. The devil could not endure such devotion to the Holy Virgin, and tormented him continually with temptations against purity; and the poor old hermit finding himself still pursued by them, notwithstanding all his prayers and mortifications, said one day to the enemy: “What have I done to you, that you will not leave me in peace?”
And the demon appeared to him and answered: “You torment me more than I torment you;” and then he added: “Now come, and swear secrecy to me, and I will tell you what you must cease to do, if you wish me not to molest you any more.”
The hermit took the oath, and then the devil said to him: “I wish you never again to approach that image that you have in your cell.”
The hermit was greatly perplexed, and went to take counsel of the Abbot Theodore, who told him that he was not bound by his oath, and that he must not cease to recommend himself to Mary before that image, as he had done before. The hermit obeyed, and the devil was put to shame and conquered.
Most StoriesTaken From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori and Other Sources
THE GREATNESS OF MARY