The Glories Of Mary
by ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI
NOVENA OF MEDITATIONS
1st. "Stella matutina:" Morning star. Mary is called by St. John Damascene: The star that precedes the sun: "Stella demonstrana solem." As the morning star precedes the sun, so devotion to the holy Virgin precedes the sun of divine grace; and St. Germanus says, that devotion towards Mary in a soul, is a sign that it is, or soon will be, in the state of grace. By the Church our Lady is also called: "Star of the sea," for, as St. Thomas explains it, as in the time of tempest mariners are guided into port by the star, so by Mary we are guided over the sea of this world to paradise. Therefore St. Bernard gives us this advice: If you do not wish to be overwhelmed by the tempest of temptations, do not turn your eyes from this star of salvation. And then he adds: Following Mary, you cannot go astray; if Mary protects you, you cannot fear being lost; if Mary favors you, you will arrive at paradise.
2d. "Salus infirmorum:" Health of the weak. Mary is called by St. Simon Stock: The medicine of sinners: "Peccatorum medicina;" and by St. Ephrein, not only medicine, but health itself: Firm health for those who have recourse to her: "Salus firma recurrentium ad eam." For he who has recourse to Mary not only finds medicine, but he finds health, as she herself promises to him who seeks her: "He that shall find me shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord." Neither should we fear that on account of the loathsomeness of our wounds she will refuse to take care of us. She is our mother, and as a mother does not shrink from taking eare of a child covered with wounds, so this celestial physician does not refuse to cure her servants who have recourse to her. Wherefore St. Bernard says: Oh mother of God, thou hast no horror of a sinner how ever loathsome he may be; if he sighs for thee, thou wilt rescue him with thine own hand from despair.
3d. Refugium peccatorum: Refuge of sinners. Thus Mary is called by St. Germanus: The refuge, ever ready, for all sinners: Refugium paratissimum peccatorum; for the Idiot says, that she cannot reject any sinner, but as soon as he has recourse to her, Mary receives him. Hence St. John Damascene calls Mary not only the refuge of the innocent, but also of the bad who implore her protection. And St. Anselm also says: Thou dost embrace with maternal love the sinner who is despised by the whole world, neither dost thou leave the wretched until thou has reconciled them to their God. By which he gives us to understand that the sinner, being hated by God, is rendered odious and abominable in the eyes of all creatures; but if he has recourse to the refuge of sinners, Mary not only does not depise him, but affectionately embraces him, and does not abandon him until he is pardoned by her Son and our Judge, Jesus Christ. Then, oh my Lady, if thou art the refuge of all sinners, thou art also my refuge. Thou who dost not despise any one who has recourse to thee, do not despise me, for to thee I recommend myself: "Refugium peccatorum, ora pro nobis." Oh Mary, pray for us and save us.