Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787), founder of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (also known as the Liguorians and the Redemptorists), Doctor of the Church, and humble servant of the Lord. The patron saint of moral theologians, Saint Alphonsus was a prolific writer. He wrote reverently on spiritual and dogmatic topics, including the Blessed Sacrament, Our Holy Mother, and Our Lord, Jesus Christ. One of the most beautifully written texts on Our Blessed Mother was written by Saint Alphonsus. Excerpts from that text, “The Glories of Mary,” are posted below.
O great Mother of my Lord, I see full well that my ingratitude towards God and thee, and this too for so many years, has merited for me that thou shouldst justly abandon me, and no longer have a care of me, for an ungrateful soul is no longer worthy of favors. But I, O Lady, have a high idea of thy great goodness; I believe it to be far greater than my ingratitude. Continue, then, O refuge of sinners, and cease not to help a miserable sinner who confides in thee.
O Mother of mercy, deign to extend a helping hand to a poor fallen wretch who asks thee for pity. O Mary, either defend me thyself, or tell me to whom I can have recourse, and who is better able to defend me than thou, and where I can find with God a more clement and powerful advocate than thou, who art his Mother. Then, in becoming the Mother of our Savior, wast thereby made the fitting instrument to save sinners, and wast given me for my salvation.
O Mary, save him who has recourse to thee. I deserve not thy love, but it is thine own desire to save sinners, that makes me hope that thou lovest me. And if thou lovest me, how can I be lost? O my own beloved Mother, if by thee I save my soul, as I hope to do, I shall no longer be ungrateful, I shall make up for my past ingratitude, and for the love which thou hast shown me, by my everlasting praises, and all the affections of my soul.
Happy in heaven, where thou reignest, and wilt reign forever. I shall always sing thy mercies, and kiss for eternity those loving hands which have delivered me from hell, as often as I have deserved it by my sins. O Mary, my liberator, my hope, my Queen, my advocate, my own sweet Mother, I love thee; I desire thy glory, and I love thee forever. Amen.
Thus do I hope.
I will address thee, O great Mother of God, in the words of St. Bernard: "Speak, O Lady, for thy Son heareth thee, and whatever thou askest thou wilt obtain" ("Loquere, Domina, quia audit Filius tuus; et quaecumque petieris, impetrabis"—Depr. Ad gl. V.)
Speak, speak, then, O Mary, our advocate, in favor of us poor miserable creatures. Remember that it was also for our good that thou didst receive so great power and so high a dignity. A God was pleased to become thy debtor by taking humanity of thee, in order that thou mightest dispense at will the riches of divine mercy to sinners.
We are thy servants, devoted in a special manner to thee; and I am one of these, I trust, even in a higher degree. We glory in living under thy protection. Since thou dost good to all, even to those who neither know nor honor thee, nay, more, to those who outrage and blaspheme thee, how much more may we not hope from thy benignity, which seeks out the wretched in order to relieve them, we who honor, love, and confide in thee?
We are great sinners, but God has enriched thee with compassion and power far exceeding our iniquities. Thou canst, and hast the will to save us; and the greater is our unworthiness, the greater shall be our hope in order to glorify thee the more in heaven, when by thy intercession we get there.
O Mother of mercy, we present thee our souls, once cleansed and rendered beautiful in the blood of Jesus Christ, but, alas, since that time, defiled by sin. To thee do we present them; do thou purify them. Obtain for us true conversion; obtain for us the love of God, perseverance, heaven.
We ask thee for much; but what is it? perhaps thou canst not obtain all? It is perhaps too much for the love God bears thee? Ah, no! for thou hast only to open thy lips and ask thy divine Son; he will deny thee nothing. Pray, then: and we shall with the same certainty obtain the kingdom of heaven.
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."