The Glories Of Mary
by ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI
VARIOUS ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES APPERTAINING TO THE MOST HOLY MARY.
1ST EXAMPLE. A certain man in Germany had committed a great sin, and was ashamed to confess it, yet on the other hand lie could not endure the remorse which he felt, and went to cast himself into the river; but just as he was on the point of doing so, he stopped, and bursting into tears, prayed God to pardon him without confession. One night in his sleep he felt some one waking him, and heard a voice saying: Go and make your confession. lie went to the church, but yet did not make his confession. He heard the same voice a second night; again he went to the church, but after he had entered it, said that he would rather die than confess that sin. Pie was about to return home, when he thought he would go and recommend himself to the most holy Mary, before her image which was in the church. He had hardly kneeled before it, when he felt himself entirely changed. He immediately arose, called for a confessor, and weeping bitterly, through grace received from the Virgin, made a sincere confession; and he afterwards said that he felt greater satisfaction than if he had gained all the gold in the world.
2. A young nobleman was reading one day, while at sea, an obscene book, in which he took great pleasure. A religious said to him: “Now come, would you give something to our Lady?” “Yes,” he answered; and the other said, “I wish that, for love of the holy Virgin, you would tear that book in pieces and cast it into the sea.” Here it is, Father,” said the young man. “No,” said the religious, “I wish that you yourself would make this offering to Mary.” He did so, and when he returned to Genoa, his native place, the mother of God so inflamed his heart with the love of God that he became a religious.
3. 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 con quered.
4. A woman who had been guilty of a criminal connection with two young men, one of whom had killed the other, came one day in great terror to Father Onefrio d Anna, a pious missionary in the kingdom of Naples, to make her confession. She told the Father that in the same hour in which that wretched youth had died, he appeared to her, clothed in black, loaded with chains, and cast fire on every side. He had a sword in his hand, and raised it to cut her throat. In terror she exclaimed: “What have I done to you, that you wish to kill me?” And in a rage he answered: “Wretch, do you ask what you have done to me? You have caused me to lose God.” Then she invoked the blessed Virgin; and that spectre, on hearing the most holy name of Mary pronounced, disappeared and was seen no more.
5. When St. Dominic was preaching at Carcassone, in France, an Albigensian heretic, who was possessed by demons, was brought to him, because he had publicly spoken against the devotion of the most holy Rosary. The saint then ordered the demons, in the name of God, to declare whether those things which he had said concerning the most holy Rosary were true; and howling with rage they said: “Hear, oh Christians, all that this our enemy has said of Mary and of the most holy Rosary is entirely true.” They added, moreover, that they had no power against the servants of Mary; and that many who at death invoked Mary were saved, contrary to their deserts. And finally they said: “We are constrained to declare, that no one is lost who perseveres in devotion to Mary, and in the devotion of the most holy Rosary, for Mary obtains for sinners a true repentance before death. St. Dominic made the people immediately repeat the Rosary; and, oh miracle! at every “Hail Mary,” many devils went out from that wretched man, in the shape of burning coals, so that when the Rosary was finished, he was entirely freed from them, and many heretics became converted.
6. The daughter of a certain prince had entered a monastery, where the discipline was so relaxed, that, although she was a young person of good dispositions, she advanced but little in virtue. By the advice of a good confessor, she began to say the Rosary with the mysteries, and became so changed that she was an example to all. 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 whilt she was repeating the Rosary, and praying Mary to assist her in that persecution, she saw a letter fall from above. 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 intercourse with those who do not help you to live well ; beware of idleness and vanity ; take from thy cell two superfluous things, and I will be your protectress with God.” The abbot of that monastery soon after visited it, and attempted to reform it, but he did not succeed ; and one day he saw a great number of demons entering the cells of all the nuns except that of Jane, for the divine mother, before whose image he saw her praying, banished them from that. When he heard from her of the devotion of the Rosary which she practised, and the letter she had received, he ordered all the others to repeat it, and it is related that this monastery became a paradise.
7. There lived in Rome a woman, called Catherine the beautiful, who led a very sinful life. Hearing St. Dominic once preach on the devotion of the most holy Rosary, she had her name inscribed in the book of the confraternity, and began to recite it, but did not abandon her sinful life. One evening a youth, apparently a noble, came to her house, whom she received courteously. When they were at supper, she saw drops of blood falling from his hands while he was breaking a peace of bread, and then she observed that all the food he took was tinged with blood. She asked him what that blood meant? And the youth answered, that a Christian should take no food that was not tinged with the blood of Jesus Christ, seasoned with the memory of his passion. Amazed at this, she asked him who he was. “Soon,” he answered, ” I will show you;” and when they had withdrawn into another apartment, the appearance of the youth changed, and he showed himself crowned with thorns, his flesh torn, and said to her: Do you wish to know who I am? Do you not know me? I am thy Redeemer. Catherine, when will you cease to offend me? See how much I have suffered for you. You have grieved me enough, change your life.” Catherine began to weep bitterly, and Jesus, encouraging her, said: “Now begin to love me as much as you have offended me; and know that you have received this grace from me, on account of the Rosary you have been accustomed to recite in honor of my mother.” And then he disappeared. Catherine went in the morning to make her confession to St. Dominic; and giving to the poor all she possessed, led so holy a life, that she attained to great perfection. The Virgin often appeared to her; and Jesus himself revealed to St. Dominic, that this penitent had become very dear to him.
8. The blessed Alanus relates of a lady, named Dominica, who was accustomed to recite the Rosary, that she gave up this devotion, and afterwards became so poor, that in desperation she stabbed herself in three different places. But just as she was breathing her last, and the devils came to take her to hell, the most holy Mary appeared to her, and said to her: “My daughter, you have forgotten me, but I have not been willing to forget you, on account of that Rosary which you have for a time recited in my honor. And now,” she added, “if you will continue to recite it, I will restore life to you, and also the possessions you have lost.” Dominica was restored to health, and continuing the practice of reciting the Rosary, recovered her possessions, and at her death was again visited by Mary, who commended her fidelity, and she died a holy death.
9. There lived in Saragossa a certain noble, a very bad man; his name was Peter, and he was a relation of St. Dominic. One day when the saint was preaching, he saw Peter enter the church, and he prayed the Lord that he would make known to the audience the condition of that miserable sinner. And, behold, Peter then appeared like a monster from hell, surrounded and dragged along by many devils. The congregation fled, even his wife who was in the church, and the servants who accompanied him. Then St. Dominic directed him, through one of his companions, to recommend himself to Mary, and to begin to recite the Rosary which he sent him. Peter received the message, humbled himself, sent to thank the saint, and received himself the grace to see the demons that surrounded him. He afterwards went to make his confession to the saint himself, from whom he received the assurance that he was already pardoned, and continuing to recite the Rosary, he attained to so happy a state that one day the Lord made him appear in church, in the presence of the whole congregation crowned with three crowns of roses.
10. In the mountains of Trent lived a notorious robber, who, when he was one day admonished by a religious to change his course of life, answered, that for him there was no remedy. “Do not say so,” said the religious ; “do what I tell you ; fast on Saturday in honor of Mary, and on that day do no harm to any one, and she wilt obtain for you the grace of not dying under the displeasure of God.” The obedient robber followed this advice, and made a vow to continue to do so. That he might not break it, he from that time went unarmed on Saturdays. It happened that on a Saturday he was found by the officers of justice, and that he might not break his oath, he allowed himself to be taken without resistance. The judge, when he saw that he was a gray-haired old man, wished to pardon him ; but, through the grace of compunction which he had received from Mary, he said that he wished to die in punishment of his sins. He also made a public confession of all the sins of his life in that same judgment-hall, weeping so bitterly that all present wept with him. He was beheaded, and buried with but little ceremony, in a grave dug near by. But afterwards the mother of God appeared, with four holy virgins, who took the dead body from that place, wrapped it in a rich cloth embroidered with gold, and bore it themselves to the gate of the city; there the blessed Virgin said to the guards: “Tell the bishop from me, to give an honorable burial, in such a church, to this dead person, for he was my faithful servant.” And this was done. All the people of the place thronged to the spot, where they found the corpse with the rich pall, and the bier on which it was placed. And from that time, says Cesarius, all persons in that region began to fast on Saturdays.