The Glories Of Mary
by ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI
VARIOUS ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES APPERTAINING TO THE MOST HOLY MARY.
81. A noble lady, who had an only son, was informed one day that he was killed, and that his murderer had by chance taken refuge in her own palace; but when she called to mind that Mary pardoned the executioners of her Son, she wished also to pardon that criminal for love of the sorrowful Mary; and not only did she pardon him, but provided him with a horse, money, and clothes, that he might make his escape. Then her son appeared to her, and told her that he was saved, and that for her generous act done towards his enemy, the divine mother had delivered him from purgatory, where he should otherwise have had to suffer for a long time, but that he was then already entering paradise.
82. The blessed Bionda performed a similar heroic act. Some enemies also killed her only son, though he was innocent, solely by reason of the hatred they bore to his father, who was dead; and with unheard-of cruelty gave the heart of the murdered youth to his mother to eat. Now she, according to the example of the most holy Mary, began to pray for her murderers, and to do them all the good she could. These acts so pleased the divine mother, that she called her to join the third order of the Servites, where she merited to lead so holy a life, that both before and after her death many miracles were wrought through her.
83. St. Thomas of Canterbury, when he was a young man, found himself one day in conversation with several other youths, each of whom boasted of some foolish love affair. The holy youth declared that he, too, loved a great lady, and was beloved by her, meaning the most holy Virgin. Afterwards, he felt some remorse at having made this boast; but behold, Mary appeared to him in his trouble, and with a gracious sweetness said to him: ” Thomas, what do you fear? You had reason to say that you loved me, and that you are beloved by me. Assure your companions of this, and as a pledge of the love I bear you, show them this gift that I make you.” The gift was a small box, containing a chasuble, of a blood-red color, as a sign that Mary, for the love she bore him, had obtained for him the grace to be a priest and a martyr, which indeed happened, for he was first made priest and afterwards Bishop of Canterbury, in England, where he was at one time persecuted by the king, and fled to the Cistercian monastery, at Pontignac, in France. While he was there, wishing one day to mend his hair-cloth shirt that he usually wore, which was ripped, and not being able to do it well, his beloved queen appeared to him, and, with especial kindness, took the hair-cloth from his hand, and repaired it as it should be done. After this he returned to Canterbury, and died a martyr, having been put to death on account of his zeal for the Church.
84. A young woman in the Papal States, who was very devout towards Mary, met in a certain place a chief of banditti. Fearing some outrage, she implored him, for love of the most holy Virgin, not to molest her. “Do not fear,” he answered, “for you have prayed me in the name of the mother of God; and I only ask you to recommend me to her.” And, in fact, he accompanied her himself along the road to a place of safety. The following night Mary appeared in a dream to the bandit, and thanking him for the act he had performed for love of her, told him she would remember it, and would one day reward him. The robber, at length, was arrested, and condemned to death; but behold, the night previous to his execution, the blessed Virgin visited him again in a dream, and first asked him: “Do you know who I am?” He answered, “It seems to me I have seen you before.” “I am the Virgin Mary,” she continued, “who have come to reward you for what you have done for me. You will die to-morrow, but you will die with so much contrition that you will come at once to paradise.” The convict awoke, and felt such contrition for his sins that he began to weep bitterly, all the while giving thanks aloud to our blessed Lady. He sent immediately for a confessor, to whom he made his confession with many tears, relating the vision he had seen, and begged him to make public this grace that had been bestowed on him by Mary. He went joyfully to execution, after which, as it is related, his countenance was so peaceful and happy, that all who saw him believed that the promise of the divine mother was fulfilled.
85. The blessed Joachim Piccolomini, who had a very great devotion to Mary, even from childhood, used to visit three times a day an image of the sorrowful mother, which was in a neighboring church, and abstained from all food on Saturday in her honor. Moreover, he rose at midnight to meditate upon her dolors. But let us see how Mary rewarded him. At first she appeared to him when he was young, and directed him to enter into religion in the order of her Servants, which he did. Towards the close of his life, she again appeared to him, with two crowns in her hand : one of rubies, as the reward of the compassion he had cherished for her sorrows; and the other of pearls, as the reward of his chastity which he had consecrated to her. Finally, at death she appeared to him again, when he asked of her the favor to die on the day on which Jesus Christ died, and the most holy Virgin consoled him by telling him : “Make ready now, for to-morrow (Friday) you will die suddenly, as you desire, and to-morrow you shall be with me in paradise .” And thus it happened, for while they were chanting in the church the passion according to St. John, at the words : There stood near the cross of Jesus his mother : “Stabat juxtacrucem Jesu mater ejus,” he was attacked with the faintness of death ; at the words And bowing his head he gave up the ghost :” this blessed one also gave up his spirit to God ; and at the same moment the church was filled with a great splendor, and a most sweet fragrance.
86. Father Alphonso Salmerone, of the Society of Jesus, being a most devout servant of the blessed Virgin, died saying : “To pardise, to paradise; blessed be the hour that I have served Mary ! Blessed the sermons, the toils, the thoughts that I have had for thee, oh my Lady ! To paradise.”
87. A youth named Guido, who wished to join the order of Camaldoli, was presented to St. Romuald by the prince, his father, whose name was Farnulf. The holy founder received him with pleasure. One day Mary appeared to this good youth, her servant, with the infant Jesus in her arms. Esteeming himself unworthy of such a favor, he stood trembling, but the divine mother drawing near to him, said : “Why do you doubt ? What do you fear, Guido ? I am the mother of God, this is my son Jesus, who wishes to come to you ;” and saying this, she placed him in her arms. Guido had not been three years in religion when he fell dangerously ill. St. Romuald saw the poor youth writhing and trembling, and heard him saying : “Oh Father, do you see all the Moors in this cell “? “My son,” said the saint to him, “do you remember any thing you have not confessed ?” “Yes, Father,” he answered, ” I remember having disobeyed the prior, by not picking up certain brooms, and now I confess it.” St. Romuald absolved him, and then the scene changed; the devils fled, and the Virgin again appeared with Jesus, at the sight of whom Guido died in perfect peace.
88. A Cistercian nun in Toledo, called Mary, being at the point of death, the divine mother appeared to her, and Mary said to her: “Oh Lady, the favor you do me of visiting me, emboldens me to ask you another favor, namely, that I may die at the same hour that you died and entered into heaven. “Yes,” answered Mary. “I will satisfy you; you shall die at that hour, and you shall hear the songs and praises with which the blessed accompanied my entrance into heaven; and now prepare.” When she had said this she disappeared. The religious who heard the nun talking to herself, believed her wandering in mind, but she related to them the vision, and the promised grace, and awaited the desired hour; and when she knew it had arrived, by the striking of the clock (the writer does not tell us what hour it was), she said: “Behold, the predicted hour has come; I hear the music of the angels; at this hour my queen ascended into heaven; rest in peace, for I am going now to see her;” and saying this she expired, while her eyes became bright as stars, and her face glowed with a beautiful color.
89. In the city of Sens, in France, there lived towards the eighth century St. Opportuna, the daughter of a prince of royal blood. This holy virgin, who had a great devotion to Mary, became a religious in a neighboring monastery, and being at the point of death, she saw St. Cecilia and St. Lucia standing beside her in the dawn of the morning. “My sisters, be welcome, she said to them; “what message do you bring me from my queen?” And they answered: “She is waiting for thee in paradise.” After this the devil appeared to her, and the saint boldly sent him away, saying: “Brute beast, what hast thou to do with me who am the servant of Jesus? ” The hour of her death, which she herself had predicted, having arrived, after receiving the holy viaticum, she turned towards the door, and said: “Behold the mother of God who comes to take me. Sisters, I commend you to her. Adieu, we shall see each other no more.” Thus saying, she raised her arms, as if to embrace her Lady, and gently expired.