Therefore the intercession of Mary is morally necessary for our
Although not infallibly defined as a doctrine of Church teaching, as are Mary's Immaculate Conception and her Assumption into heaven, St. Alphonsus de Liguori considers it to be a certain truth that all graces come to us through the Mother of God. He copiously demonstrates the reasons for this in his book The Glories of Mary. St Alphonsus (1696-1787), who has been declared a Doctor of the Church, penned this Catholic classic 250 years ago. Following are selected passages from chapter five of The Glories of Mary:
That it is most useful and holy to have recourse to the intercession of Mary can only be doubted by those who have not faith. But that which we intend to prove here is, that the intercession of Mary is even necessary to salvation; we say necessary – not absolutely, but morally. This necessity proceeds from the will itself of God, that all graces that He dispenses should pass by the hands of Mary, according to the opinion of St. Bernard, and which we may now with safety call the general opinion of theologians and learned men. In the words of the saint, “Such is His will, that we should have all by Mary.”
Another author, in a commentary on a passage of Jeremias [Jer. 31: 22], in which the prophet, speaking of the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, and of Mary His Mother, says that “a woman shall compass a man,” remarks, that “as no line can be drawn from the center of a circle without passing by the circumference, so no grace proceeds from Jesus, who is the center of every good thing, without passing by Mary, who compassed Him when she received Him into her womb.” Saint Bernadine says that for this reason, “all gifts, all virtues, and all graces are dispensed by the hands of Mary to whomsoever, when, and as she pleases.” Richard of Saint Lawrence also asserts “that God wills that whatever good things He bestows on His creatures should pass by the hands of Mary.”
That it is not only lawful but useful to invoke and pray to the saints, and more especially to the Queen of Saints, the most holy and ever Blessed Virgin Mary, in order that they obtain us the Divine grace, is an article of faith, and has been defined by general councils, against heretics who condemned it as injurious to Jesus Christ, who is our only mediator. But on the other hand it is impious to assert that God is not pleased to grant graces at the intercession of His saints, and more especially of Mary His mother, whom Jesus desires to see loved and honored by all.
No one denies that Jesus Christ is our only mediator of justice, and that He by His merits has obtained our reconciliation with God. But . . . mediation of justice by way of merit is one thing, and mediation of grace by way of prayer is another. There can be no doubt that by the merits of Jesus, Mary was made the mediatress of our salvation; not indeed a mediatress of justice, but of grace and intercession; as St. Bonaventure expressly calls her “Mary the most faithful mediatress of our salvation.”
There is certainly nothing contrary to faith in this, but the reverse. It is quite in accordance with the sentiments of the Church, which, in its public and approved prayers, teaches us continually to have recourse to this Divine Mother, and to invoke her as the “health of the weak, the refuge of sinners, the help of Christians, and as our life and hope.” In the office appointed to be said on the feasts of Mary, this same holy Church, applying the words of Ecclesiasticus to this Blessed Virgin, gives us to understand that in her we find all hope, “In me is all hope of life and of virtue;” in Mary is every grace, “In me is all grace of the way and of the truth [Eccl. 24:25].” In Mary, finally, we shall find life and eternal salvation: “Who finds me finds life, and draws salvation from the Lord [Prov. 8:35].” And elsewhere: “They that work by me shall not sin; they that explain me shall have everlasting life [Eccl 24: 30-31].” And surely such expressions as these sufficiently prove that we require the intercession of Mary.
|By Fra Angelico|
And thus, finally, do we understand why the holy Church requires that we should salute and invoke the Divine Mother under the glorious title of “our hope.” The impious Luther said that he “could not endure that the Roman Church should call Mary, who is only a creature, 'our hope;' for,” said he, “God alone, and Jesus Christ as our Mediator, is our hope: and God curses those who place their hope in a creature, according to the prophet Jeremias: 'Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord' [Jer. 17:5].”
But the Church teaches to invoke Mary on all occasions, and to call her “our hope; hail, our hope!” Whoever places his confidence in a creature independently of God, he certainly is cursed by God; for God is the only source and dispenser of every good, and the creature without God is nothing and can give nothing. But if our Lord has so disposed it, as we have proved that He has done, that all graces should pass by Mary as by a channel of mercy, we not only can but ought to assert that she, by whose means we receive the divine graces, is truly our hope. Saint Thomas says that “Mary is the whole hope of our salvation.”
Jesus was the fruit of Mary, as Saint Elizabeth told her: “Blessed are thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of they womb. Whoever therefore desires the fruit must go to the tree; whoever desires Jesus must go to Mary; and whoever finds Mary will most certainly find Jesus. And as we have access to the Eternal Father, says Saint Bernard, only through Jesus Christ, so we have access to Jesus Christ only through Mary: “By thee we have access to the Son, O blessed finder of grace, bearer of life, and mother of salvation, that we may receive Him by thee, Who through thee was given to us.”
See my Catholic books on Mary, the Rosary, and others Here.