Father Linus Clovis: Mary Immaculate Mediatrix
At that time, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near her, he said to his mother, “woman behold your son”. Then he said to the disciple, “behold your mother “and from that hour the disciple took her to his own home .
Today we celebrate the feasts of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces ,of Our Lady of Pompeii, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We also celebrate Our Lady of Divine Love in a strange confluence of feasts in honor of our Blessed Lady. But we also celebrate the feast of the Apparition of St. Michael in the sixth century at Gargano in Italy.
It’s difficult for us to grasp the divine nature–impossible, in fact. No creature can possibly comprehend God. God, who is everything, and yet, all the things that do exist, exist because of His will. He desired that what exists, does exist, and what does exist manifests some some aspect of God’s divinity. Everything that exists expresses some aspect of God’s nature.
What is striking is that God has created all things so that there is a hierarchy. There are things the greater and things that are lesser; things that are higher and things that are lower. And everything He created has His own specific place in His plan.
There are two orders of creation that we know of. There’s the natural order and then there’s a supernatural order. The natural order is the thing as God has created it. So for us, we have the human order, the order of humanity, and we are above the animal kingdom, and we are below the angelic kingdom. But these three kingdoms, each has its own natural order.
The supernatural order is entirely different. It’s above all of the natural orders. So, when we try to grasp the supernatural order, we see that it doesn’t depend on God alone, but rather it depends on the creature cooperating with God. This supernatural order has a driving force, which is love, so that the creatures we’re talking about, the rational creatures, the angels in their ranks, we are able in the supernatural order to overturn the natural order. So, for instance, the greatest human being is less than the least of the angels in the natural order. In the supernatural order, this is reversed because human beings now can have a greater love of God than even the angels, and this, in fact, is what we are contemplating in today’s feasts: that Our Lady is Queen of the angels, and she’s Queen of the universe, and she’s Queen of everything that God has created in the natural order, simply because her love of God is the greatest. This is by God’s will because we know that each creature God has specifically created, and in the rational creatures, the angelic beings and we, ourselves, He’s given us a free will that we are able to choose. In other words, we’re able to love, and as we know, to love is not the easiest thing in the world. We can like, yes or dislike. That’s easy. That’s natural. But to love requires something more because we are called, for instance, to love our enemies, which we know is impossible by human effort alone. It requires a divine impetus for us to do this.
So, when God became man, this was, by a definite decree of the Father, that his Son should become man. In making that decision, that He would become man, the Father had to create a mother–a fitting mother–for His Son. And so he endowed this woman, Mary, the Virgin of Nazareth with all of the graces necessary that she should be a fitting mother for his Son, which makes perfect sense, because if we were able, we would give many gifts to our mother. It’s the most natural thing to do.
So, among the gifts which the Father blessed the Virgin with was, of course, the gift of faith, because this is foundational, but with it also came charity, and with it also came humility because there are these three and there are others. Of course, without these three, it’s not possible to fulfill God’s will, and so she, the virgin of Nazareth, is approached by the angel who asks her consent. Obedience is required, but she has to hear what is required of her. She is to consent to become the mother of the savior. We cannot even begin to grasp what that means, but she was perfectly aware of the way, the manner in which the savior would, in fact, redeem the world; it would be as a lamb of sacrifice, and if she didn’t understand it at the time the angel spoke, she certainly understood it afterwards. Certainly, when she brought her child to the temple. “You see this child, he’s destined to be a sign of contradiction, a sword would pierce your own soul, too.” So even then, she certainly knew, and so her whole life was spent in preparing the lamb for sacrifice.
And so, we see when the lamb is being sacrificed on Calvary, she is there as well, and what is her posture ,her attitude. She’s standing. Nothing more we’re told about her. She stood, but to stand is, in fact, the posture of a priest, so in a sense she was offering her son to the Father as a sacrifice to redeem the world, and this, in fact, we’re told by the fathers, she would have died naturally because of the grief that she experienced, but it was not God’s will that she should die at that time for she had other work to do. And what was this other work? Well, we heard Our Lord say, “woman, behold your son”. In other words, these standing around you are your children whom I’m redeeming and, not them only who stand here physically, but all of those throughout the ages, they are all your children, and as you have cooperated with me in the redemption of the world, as much as you provided for me these 30 years, in as much as you stand even now with me, they are your children. I entrust them to you, and you are to nurture them.
And this nurturing of the Virgin is, in fact, what we are celebrating in today’s feast, Mediatrix of all Graces, for she distributes those graces that Christ won for us on Calvary. She distributes to us what is necessary when we ask her, and indeed when we do not ask her, for like a mother, she always anticipates the needs of her children.
How did Our Lord redeem us? We know He had power. He demonstrated that on many occasions. Not only did he command sickness to depart and it did, not only did he command health to come, which it did, but he also calmed the the seas, the storms. He walked on the water . He raised the dead. All of this he did. He had power. He could command angels, and they would obey. Yet, that is not how He redeemed us. He redeemed us by suffering for three hours on the cross, shedding His blood. This is not how we would expect Satan to be defeated, by the Son of God. Dying. It’s not the way we think. The way God thinks is so much different from the way that we think, but that’s exactly what happened. It was by Christ’s suffering and death on the cross that we’ve been redeemed. His glorious resurrection confirms the fact that we have been redeemed. That His sacrifice was accepted, but that sacrifice was made with the cooperation of His mother and so again, there is a reversal. In Eden, our rebellion against God was the work of a man and a woman. A woman who did not believe. A man who disobeyed. Our redemption is achieved on Calvary by a man and a woman. A man who is obedient unto death, and a woman who did believe. Blessed are you who believe that what Lord said to you will be fulfilled.
And so we celebrate the feasts, Our Lady of Mediatix of All Graces, knowing that all the graces necessary for our redemption are available to us, and we receive them in the hands of the Virgin. They come from Christ, but it is His will that she distribute these graces to us through her.
In 1873 Bartolo Longo, who was about 30 years old, went to Naples, into a place close to Naples, Pompeii, and he saw how desolate the the people were, irreligious for they had suffered many tribulations during those years, and he was wondering what could be done. He had the devotion to the Holy Rosary and hear the voice saying pray the Rosary and you will convert many souls. So he began to do exactly this and he had festivals and organized all sorts of games around the rosary so that the devotion to the rosary quickly grew, and it was about the same time that this young girl about 14 years old who was suffering from a terrible disease, Fortuna Agrelli. The doctors had given up hope. There was nothing more they could do when the virgin appeared to her, and she said she asked Our Lady to heal her, and Our Lady said because you’ve asked me under the title Lady of the Rosary I will heal you, and she was cured. It was miraculous, and so the devotion to Our Lady of Pompeii began, and it’s essentially that of Our Lady seated as Queen with the Child Jesus on her lap with St. Dominic and St, Catherine of Sienna, and they are giving them Rosaries.
So we see here, and this is not so long ago–just 150 years or so–that this happened. Then the bishops of Belgium asked, they petitioned the Pope that they could have the feast in honor of Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Graces, and it was granted exactly 100 years ago today.
So our devotion to the Virgin can only lead to our salvation. It will help us in our in our fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Wherever the Church is, wherever the Catholic faith is, you will find devotion to Our Lady. Wherever the Gospel is preached, there is an automatic devotion to Our Lady. In the Philippines also this year, there is a devotion to Our Lady and again the title Mediatrix of All Graces, and this devotion started about 60 or 70 years ago.
What we do notice is that where there is opposition to devotion to Our Lady, invariably it comes about in an attempt to stamp out this natural affection that we have to the Mother of God, and our own mother. So we find in the Protestant revolution in the 16th century, prior to that, there was shrines to Our Lady all over Europe. Every village had its own particular shrine to the Virgin. Once the revolution began, the Protestants literally had to crush, stamp and destroy these shrines. And even so, they couldn’t eradicate them, for even some of their cities are named after the Virgin. There are towns named after the Virgin, and we see that even in England, as an example, where Elizabeth, and Cromwell after her, tried to destroy every vestige of devotion to Our Lady in England. Yet we still have places. Holywell, for instance, refers to Our Lady, and there are many other towns and cities in England themselves devoted to Our Lady.
So, devotion to Our Lady is perfectly natural, yet it has a supernatural dimension in as much as God has willed that her love, which exceeds that of all creation, should, in fact ,flow down to us, as well. Let us then ask her to hear our prayers and to intercede for us before the throne of grace. In fact, the antiphon says let us come with faith to the throne of grace so that we might receive mercy, and we might find grace in and help at the opportune time . Now is the opportune time. Now is the day of salvation.