The Glories Of Mary

by ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI

DEVOTION IV. OF FASTING

MANY servants of Mary, on Saturdays and the vigils of her feast, are accustomed to honor her by fasting on bread and water. It is well known that Saturday is a day dedicated by the holy Church to the honor of the Virgin, because on this day, says St. Bernard, she remained constant in the faith after the death of her Son. For this reason the servants of Mary never fail on this day to offer her some special homage; and particularly the fast on bread and water, as St. Charles Borromeo, Cardinal Toledo, and so many others practised it. Rittard, Bishop of Bamberg, and Father Joseph Arriaga, of the Society of Jesus, did not even taste food on Saturday. The great graces which the mother of God afterwards bestowed upon those who practised this devotion, may be read in the writings of Father Auriemma. It is sufficient for us to mention the compassion which she showed to that bandit chief, who on account of this devotion, was permitted to remain alive, although his head had been cut off, and although he was under the displeasure of God, and was enabled to make his confession before dying. He afterwards declared that the holy virgin, for this fasting which he had offered her, had preserved him in life, and he then suddenly expired. It would not then be a very extraordinary thing, if any one, especially devoted to Mary, and particularly if he had already deserved hell, should offer to her this fast on Saturday. He who practises this devotion, I may say, will hardly be condemned; not that our Lady will deliver him by a miracle if he dies in mortal sin, as happened to the bandit; such prodigies of divine mercy seldom take place, and it would be madness to expect eternal salvation by them. But I do say that the divine mother will readily obtain perseverance in divine grace and a good death for him who will practise this devotion. All the brothers of our little congregation who can do so, fast on bread and water on Saturday, in honor of Mary. I say those who can do so, meaning, that if any one is prevented from doing so on account of ill health, at least on Saturday, he may content himself with one dish, make a common fast, or at least abstain from fruits or other agreeable food. It is necessary on Saturday to offer special devotions to our Lady, to receive communion, or, at least, hear mass, visit some image of the Virgin, wear hair-cloth, and the like. And at least on the vigils of the seven feasts of Mary, let her servants endeavor to offer this fasting on bread, or in any other manner they are able.

 

 

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