Saint Alphonsus Liguori - Mary Is Our Advocate, Able to Save All

Updated: May 30, 2020



So great is the authority that mothers possess over their sons, that even if they are monarchs, and have absolute dominion over every person in their kingdom, yet never can mothers become the subjects of their sons. It is true that Jesus now in heaven sits at the right hand of the Father, that is, as Saint Thomas (1) explains it, even as man, on account of the hypostatical union with the Person of the Divine Word. He has supreme dominion over all, and also over Mary; it will nevertheless be always true that for a time, when He was living in this world, He was pleased to humble Himself and to be subject to Mary, as we are told by St. Luke: “And He was subject to them.” (2) And still more, says Saint Ambrose, Jesus Christ having deigned to make Mary His Mother, inasmuch as He was her Son, He was truly obliged to obey her. And for this reason, says Richard of Saint Lawrence, “of other Saints we say that they are with God; but of Mary alone can it be said that she was so far favored as to be not only herself submissive to the will of God, but even that God was subject to her will.” (3) And whereas of all other virgins, remarks the same author, we must say that “they follow the Lamb wherever he goes” (4) of the Blessed Virgin Mary we can say that the Lamb followed her, having become subject to her. (5)


And here we say, that although Mary, now in heaven, can no longer command her Son, nevertheless her prayers are always the prayers of a Mother, and consequently most powerful to obtain whatever she asks. “Mary,” says Saint Bonaventure, ” has this great privilege, that with her Son she above all the Saints is most powerful to obtain whatever she wills.” (6) And why? Precisely for the reason on which we have already touched, and which we shall later on again examine at greater length, because they are the prayers of a mother. And therefore, says Saint Peter Damian, the Blessed Virgin can do whatever she pleases both in heaven and on earth. She is able to raise even those who are in despair to confidence, and he addresses her in these words: “All power is given to you in heaven and on earth, and nothing is impossible to you, who can raise those who are in despair to the hope of salvation.” (7) And then he adds that “when the Mother goes to seek a favor for us from Jesus Christ” (whom the Saint calls the golden altar of mercy, at which sinners obtain pardon), “her Son esteems her prayers so greatly, and is so desirous to satisfy her, that when she prays, it seems as if she rather commanded than prayed, and was rather a queen than a handmaid.” (8) Jesus is pleased thus to honor His beloved Mother, who honored Him so much during her life, by immediately granting all that she asks or desires. This is beautifully confirmed by Saint Germanus, who addressing our Blessed Lady says: “You are the Mother of God, and all-powerful to save sinners, and with God you need no other recommendation; for you are the Mother of true life.” (9)


“At the command of Mary, all obey, even God.” Saint Bernardine fears not to utter this sentence; meaning, indeed, to say that God grants the prayers of Mary as if they were commands. (10) And hence Saint Anselm addressing Mary says: “Our Lord, O most holy Virgin, has exalted you to such a degree, that by His favor all things that are possible to Him should be possible to you.” (11) “For your protection is omnipotent, O Mary,” says Cosmas of Jerusalem. (12) “Yes, Mary is omnipotent,” repeats Richard of Saint Lawrence; “for the queen by every law enjoys the same privileges as the king. And as,” he adds, “the power of the son and that of the mother is the same, a mother is made omnipotent by an omnipotent son.” (13) “And thus,” says Saint Antoninus, “God has placed the whole Church, not only under the patronage, but even under the dominion of Mary.” (14)


Since the Mother, then, should have the same power as the Son, rightly has Jesus, who is omnipotent, made Mary also omnipotent; though, of course, it is always true that where the Son is omnipotent by nature, the Mother is only so by grace. But that she is so is evident from the fact, that whatever the Mother asks for, the Son never denies her; and this was revealed to Saint Bridget, (15) who one day heard Jesus talking with Mary, and thus address her: “Ask of Me what you will, for no petition of yours can be void.” As if He had said, “My Mother, you know how much I love you; therefore ask all that you will of Me; for it is not possible that I should refuse you anything.” And the reason that He gave for this was beautiful: “Because you never denied Me anything on earth, I will deny you nothing in heaven. (16) My Mother, when you were in the world, you never refused to do anything for the love of Me; and now that I am in heaven, it is right that I should deny you nothing that you ask. Mary, then, is called omnipotent in the sense in which it can be understood of a creature who is incapable of a divine attribute. She is omnipotent, because by her prayers she obtains whatever she wills. With good reason, then, O great Advocate, does Saint Bernard say, “you will, and all things are done.” (17) And Saint Anselm: “Whatever you, O Virgin, will can never be otherwise than accomplished.” (18) You will, and all is done. If you are pleased to raise a sinner from the lowest abyss of misery to the highest degree of sanctity, you can do it. Blessed Albert the Great, on this subject, makes Mary say: “I have to be asked that I may will; for if I will a thing, it is necessarily done.” (19) And thus Saint Peter Damian, reflecting on the great power of Mary, and begging her to take compassion on us, addresses her, saying: “O, let your nature move you, let your power move you; for the more you are powerful, the greater should your mercy be.”

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O Mary, our own beloved advocate, since you have so compassionat