The Wisest Investment of All

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The Holy Father is on pilgrimage today to Loreto. My heart is on pilgrimage with him.

Twenty-First Saturday of the Year I
Matthew 25:14-30

The Mediation of Our Lady

On May 11, 2007, during a homily at the canonization of Father Antônio de Sant’Ana Galvão, O.F.M., in Brazil, Pope Benedict XVI gave one of the clearest statements ever made on the Blessed Virgin Mary as Mediatrix of All Graces, when he said: "There is no fruit of grace in the history of salvation that does not have as its necessary instrument the mediation of Our Lady." In saying this, the Holy Father put to rest, once and for all, the scruples and doubts of those who, misinformed of the teachings of the Church after the Second Vatican Council, or simply ignorant of them, somehow thought it inappropriate to call the Mother of Jesus and our Mother the Mediatrix of All Graces.

Grace for Grace

The Blessed Virgin Mary mediates all the graces given us in Christ in two ways. By carrying the Son of God in her virginal womb and by giving Him birth, Mary brought into the world the Source and Author of all graces. “And of His fullness we have all received,” says Saint John, “and grace for grace” (Jn 1:16). The Father, in giving us the Son has also “with Him, given us all things” (Rom 8:32). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph 1:3). The Son, in whom “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3) is given us through Mary. “And entering the house,” we read in Saint Matthew’s account of the Wise Men, “they found the Child with Mary His Mother” (Mt 2:11). Theologians refer to this as Our Lady’s remote mediation.

Behold Thy Mother

Our Lady’s role did not end with the birth of Jesus, nor did it end with his Ascension, with the Descent of the Holy Spirit, or with her own Assumption into heaven. The motherhood of the Virgin Mary was extended on Calvary to all the members of her Son’s Mystical Body, and this until the end of time. “When Jesus therefore had seen His mother and the disciple standing there whom He loved, He saith to His mother, 'Woman, behold thy son.’ After that He saith to the disciple, 'Behold thy mother.’ And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own” (Jn 19:27).

Munificent

The Blessed Virgin Mary’s universal mediation is an expression of her universal motherhood. By virtue of her peerless participation in the victimal priesthood of her Son, Our Lady received for distribution all the graces merited on Calvary by His immolation. She distributes these same graces to souls according to their need, according to their openness to receive them, and according to her own mercy and munificence.

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ

Mary is the new Eve, the Mother of all the living. Standing at the foot of the Cross and filled in that hour with the Spirit of her Son, she said “Yes” to the unique role in the work of redemption that, from the beginning, the Father had reserved for her. She continues to participate in that work by dispensing “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph 3:8) to all of us, the old Eve's poor children exiled in this valley of tears.

Mary is a true mother and the best of mothers; she loves to give good things to her children. Hidden in the glory of her Assumption, she has entered in “even within the veil” (Heb 6:19) with Christ, our Eternal High Priest. What she obtains in heaven by her omnipotent supplication, she distributes on earth with an indescribable largesse. Theologians refer to this as Our Lady’s proximate or immediate mediation. Saint Bernard says it this way: “It is the will of God that we should have nothing which has not passed through the hands of Mary.”

Liturgy

Today's Mass, honouring the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mediatrix of All Graces, was originally granted by Pope Benedict XV in 1921 in response to a request from Cardinal Mercier of Belgium. Cardinal Mercier was a close friend of Blessed Abbot Marmion. These two Masters of the spiritual life were of one mind and heart in recognizing and in celebrating the mission of the Blessed Virgin Mary to administer the graces won for us by the passion and death of her Son. The Office and Mass of Mary Mediatrix were extended by the Holy See to dioceses and communities the world over, making the feast practically universal.

The feast was originally celebrated on May 31st. In 1956, when Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of the Queenship of Mary on that same day, the feast of Mary Mediatrix was moved to May 8th in some places and to August 31st in others. In 1986 a complete Mass formulary, graced with a remarkable Preface, was prepared for the collection of Forty-Six Masses in honour of the Blessed Virgin.

The Secret of Fruitfulness

Today's Gospel sends us in a very original way, to Mary, the Mediatrix of All Graces. Mary is the one through whom all things are made fruitful. If you have received five talents, entrust them to Mary; if you have received two talents, entrust them to Mary; if you have received but one talent, place that talent in Mary's hands.

If you would see the talents you have received fructify and abound, entrust them to Mary. Everything given to Mary, the ministra gratiae, the minister and dispenser of grace, is given back to us greatly multiplied. When we entrust Mary with something, it is not buried in a hole in the ground, it is placed in the immaculate hands of the wisest investor of all.

Blossoms and Fruit

On the feast of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces in 1932, Mother Marie des Douleurs wrote: "Mary at the foot of the Cross merited all the graces that have blossomed and that will blossom in the Church until the end of time.” Anything given to Mary blossoms and bears abundant fruit, fruit that will abide (cf. Jn 15:8, 16). Anything withheld from Mary falls into sterility and ruin. Anything not entrusted to Mary risks being lost forever in that "outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 25:30). A wise monk once said to me, "Seek first the Mother of God, and all the rest will be given you besides.”

The Crisis

Why do we suffer from spiritual decreptitude? Why do we strive for years to overcome habitual sin, and not succeed? Why do we labour, and reap but little fruit? Why, over the past forty years, have so many religious families lost their élan and so many priestly and consecrated souls become tepid? Because Mary has not been recognized as God would have her be recognized, and because Mary has not been given in our lives the place given her by God in His glorious and perfect plan for our salvation.

Listen to Father Faber's prophetic words, written one-hundred-forty-five years ago:

What is the remedy that is wanted? What is the remedy indicated by God Himself? If we may rely on the disclosures of the saints, it is an immense increase of devotion to Our Blessed Lady; but remember, nothing short of an immense one. [Here in England] Mary is not half enough preached. Devotion to her is low and thin and poor. It is frightened out of its wits by the sneers of heresy. It is always invoking human respect and carnal prudence, wishing to make Mary so little of a Mary that Protestants may feel at ease about her. Its ignorance of theology makes it unsubstantial and unworthy. It is not the prominent characteristic of our religion which it ought to be. It has no faith in itself. Hence it is that Jesus is not loved, that heretics are not converted, that the Church is not exalted; that souls which might be saints wither and dwindle; that the Sacraments are not rightly frequented, or souls enthusiastically evangelized.

Jesus is obscured because Mary is kept in the background. Thousands of souls perish because Mary is withheld from them. It is the miserable, unworthy shadow which we call our devotion to the Blessed Virgin that is the cause of all these wants and blights, these evils and omissions and declines. Yet, if we are to believe the revelations of the saints, God is pressing for a greater, a wider, a stronger, quite another devotion to His Blessed Mother.

Give Everything to Mary

Give then everything to Mary, Mother and Mediatrix of Grace. Let not a day go by when you do not place everything in her hands. God is glorified when we turn with confidence to the Mother of His Son. Her motherly intercession for us is ceaseless because she stands in heaven at the side of Christ, our Eternal High Priest who "always lives to make intercession for us” (Heb 7:25). In every Holy Mass too, Mary is present. Anything you give to her she immediately makes over to her Son to be taken up in His Sacrifice and to be made fruitful by the dew of the Holy Spirit. Of all the investments you can make, the wisest is to give everything to Mary.

7 Comments

How does one kindle a devotion to Mary if one does not have one but desires a devotion to her -- in addition to praying for the grace?

Anon asked: How does one kindle a devotion to Mary if one does not have one but desires a devotion to her -- in addition to praying for the grace?
I started with the Rosary and the graces poured in! Also read "True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary" by St. Louis de Montfort. He sets it all straight and was a favorite of John Paul II.

What an amazing catholic blog this is. This post puts this time and everything that's going on now in Perspective!

"God is pressing for a greater, a wider, a stronger, quite another devotion to His Blessed Mother."

Thanks you Father for this beautiful post about our Blessed Mother, she is invaluable Mediatrix of all graces and it is so necessary nowadays to preach on her role for us, in particular in these times of indifference and hatred of God. Thank you again, and may Our Lady keep you safe always!

Dear Anon: If you would receive the grace of true devotion to Mary,
1) desire it,
2) ask for it
3) wait for it.
Persevere in praying the rosary daily, and ask for the intercession of the two men closest to Mary after Our Lord, Saint Joseph and Saint John the Beloved Disciple.

Anon., I agree that the beautiful prayer of the Rosary is a powerful bond with Mary and Her Son. But it can, sometimes, be difficult, especially if one is working toward devotion to Mary. I suggest also, in imitation of Mary, pondering with her the Word of God, such as the accounts of the Annunciation, the Crucifixion, Pentecost; any of her appearances in Scripture. And with her, praise God in the beautiful words of the Magnificat!

Thank you, Fr. Mark, for sharing the fruits of your contemplation with us.

Many thanks to Father Mark for this useful and timely reminder of the role of Our Lady in the Church.

I would not wish to be without :

The Litany of the BVM.
The Angelus
The Marian anthems
and that most powerful weapon :
The Holy Rosary.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis !

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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