19 May 2010

The Treasurer of Divine Grace

We continue this month here at Secret Harbour to honour Our Blessed Lady through the writings of the Carthusian Order with some help today outside of the Order from Saint Bernardine of Siena:

It is through the neck that the nervous impulses pass from the brain to set in motion the organs and members throughout each part of the human body. In like manner, in God’s Church, Mary is the mystical ‘neck’ by means of which supernatural impulses reach those souls that are united to Christ, the Head of the elect. We receive no grace that she has not obtained for us by her prayers. Thus Saint Bernardine of Siena says: ‘Just as God is the sovereign Author of all the graces which are given to the human race, and as Jesus is the sovereign Mediator through Whose merits they are given, so is the glorious Virgin the sovereign dispenser of them’.

Moreover, the devil is no fool, and the tactics he employs to bring about the downfall of certain souls reveal the importance of this mediation. There is no more effective way of putting anyone to death than by severing the head: so, in Satan’s eyes, to cause a soul to lose its devotion to Mary is to sever the mysterious channel by means of which the redemptive and sanctifying power of Our Saviour comes to us.

Our Carthusian writer, Lanspergius, has written on this subject much that is full of doctrine and unction. Living in unsympathetic surroundings, he ardently defended this prerogative of Mary. The Reformers, while recognizing Our Lady’s title of Mother of God, denied her any intervention in the distribution of grace. Let us listen to our author pleading the necessity of the cult we pay to Mary, and the priceless advantages that flow from it. These are the words which he makes Our Lord use to the faithful soul.

‘O my child’, says our divine Master, ‘how strangely are these men deceived, how ingenious they are to find a way to harden their hearts, and to stand in their own light. These are they who speak without respect of the treasurer of My graces; who refuse to recognise her as their advocate with Me, just as I Myself am their Advocate with My Father. Can you conceive any way by which they could alienate My love more than by refusing to recognise her whose prayers have so often save the world from almost certain destruction’? (Lanspergius, Opera Omnia, Vol. 2).

Mary is, then, by the will of her divine Son, a mediatrix: she is the treasurer of divine grace. ‘In making Mary the treasurer of His grace’, writes Lanspergius elsewhere, ‘Christ, Our Lord, has willed that we should receive through her all that we ask of Him, although He can give it to us directly Himself. It is in this way that the poor and afflicted of this world receive from the hands of the royal treasurer the alms that the King is desirous of giving to them’ (ibid.).

This same writer insists especially on the condescension which God shows towards us in making our salvation thus dependent upon Mary’s bounty. ‘I have given her to the world’, says Our Lord to the Faithful Soul on another occasion, ‘as a powerful advocate and protectress. For in all distress she is a shelter and a place of refuge. All can have recourse to her without fear, and approach her with absolute confidence. That is why I have endowed her with such gentleness and compassion, such mercy and goodness of heart. She turns away no one, she gives herself to all. She opens her heart to all with a Mother’s tenderness, and never does she allow anyone who has recourse to her to go away not cheered and not consoled. I have made her the repository of such abundant graces and such sweet consolations, that even the most wicked, the most hardened sinner, cannot but love her. As a fisherman makes use of a hook and a tempting bait, so have I chosen her to draw sinful souls to Me. For when all other means have failed, those who are deaf to My pleadings are won by devotion to My Mother. For I awaken in these rebellious hearts feelings of love and trust towards her, and thus render them more receptive to My grace, and to further light’ (Lanspergius, Epistle of Jesus Christ to the Faithful Soul).