By Mary Sayad
According to the dictation of Mary to St. Bridget of Sweden: "It is a truth that I was conceived without Original Sin and not in sin. A golden hour was my conception. My son joined my father and mother in a marriage of such chastity that a purer union has never been seen. Sensuality was extinquished in them. Thus my flesh was formed through divine charity."
Preceding the nativity of the Virgin Mary, St. Ann notified three women relatives that her time for giving birth was near. After their arrival and joyful greetings, they shared a light supper and later her relatives retired for the night.
St. Ann prayed almost until midnight and then she awoke the women and they accompanied her to her oratory (prayer room). She lit her lamps and knelt to pray when a light gradually began to fill the room. The women were overcome with awe for the bright light surrounded and enveloped St. Ann until she could no longer be seen. They prostrated themselves and hid their eyes.
Within moments, as the light subsided, St. Ann became visible, carrying in her arms a beautiful spotless infant which she held close to her heart. Tears streaming down her face, she prayed with thanks and reverence to God, for God had informed her through the Archangel Gabriel that this child was destined to be the Mother of the Saviour. St. Ann delivered the Virgin Mary naturally, yet without labor pains.
From the time of her birth, Mary mystically received the vision of the Holy Trinity and had full use of her senses and comprehension and therefore she had an extraordinary deep love of God.
She loved her parents Sts. Ann and Joachim very tenderly and with great respect. From the beginning of her life to the end of her life, the Blessed Virgin was constantly surrounded by heavenly angels.
THE HOLY NAME OF MARY
The Power of Her Name
by St. Alphonsus de Liguori
Richard of St. Laurence states "there is not such powerful help in any name, nor is there any other name given to men, after that of Jesus, from which so much salvation is poured forth upon men as from the name of Mary." He continues, "that the devout invocation of this sweet and holy name leads to the acquisition of superabundant graces in this life, and a very high degree of glory in the next."
After the most sacred name of Jesus, the name of Mary is so rich in every good thing, that on earth and in heaven there is no other from which devout souls receive so much grace, hope and sweetness.
Hence Richard of St. Laurence "encourages sinners to have recourse to this great name," because it alone will suffice to cure them of all their evils; and "there is no disorder, however malignant, that does not immediately yield to the power of the name of Mary." The Blessed Raymond Jordano says, "that however hardened and diffident a heart may be, the name of this most Blessed Virgin has such efficacy, that if it is only pronounced that heart will be wonderfully softened." Moreover, it is well known, and is daily experienced by the clients of Mary, that her powerful name gives the particular strength necessary to overcome temptations against purity.
In fine, "thy name, O Mother of God, is filled with divine graces and blessings," as St. Methodius says. So much so, that St. Bonaventure declares, "that thy name, O Mary, cannot be pronounced without bringing some grace to him who does so devoutly."... grant, O, Lady, that we may often remember to name thee with love and confidence; for this practice either shows the possession of divine grace, or else is a pledge that we shall soon recover it.
On the other hand, Thomas a Kempis affirms "that the devils fear the Queen of heaven to such a degree, that only on hearing her great name pronounced, they fly from him who does so as from a burning fire." The Blessed Virgin herself revealed to St. Bridget "that there is not on earth a sinner, however devoid he may be of the love of God, from whom the devil is not obliged immediately to fly, if he invokes her holy name with a determination to repent." On another occasion she repeated the same thing to the saint, saying, "that all the devils venerate and fear her name to such a degree, that on hearing it they immediately loosen the claws with which they hold the soul captive." Our Blessed Lady also told St. Bridget, "that in the same way as the rebel angels fly from sinners who invoke the name of Mary, so also do the good angels approach nearer to just souls who pronounce her with devotion."
Consoling indeed are the promises of help made by Jesus Christ to those who have devotion to the name of Mary, for one day in the hearing of St. Bridget, He promised His most holy Mother that He would grant three special graces to those who invoke that holy name with confidence:
Let us, therefore, always take advantage of the beautriful advice given us by St. Bernard, in these words: "In dangers, in perplexities, in doubtful cases, think of Mary, call on Mary; let her not leave thy lips; let her not depart from thy heart."
In every danger of forfeiting divine grace, we should think of Mary, and invoke her name, together with that of Jesus; FOR THESE TWO NAMES ALWAYS GO TOGETHER. O, then, never let us permit these two most sweet names to leave our hearts, or be off our lips; for they will give us strength not only not to yield, but to conquer all our temptations.
"The invocation of the sacred names of Jesus and Mary," says Thomas a Kempis, "is a short prayer which is as sweet to the mind, and as powerful to protect those who use it against the enemies of their salvation, as it is easy to remember."
Thus we see that the most holy name of Mary is sweet indeed to her clients during life, on account of the very great graces that she obtains for them. But sweeter still will it be to them in death on account of the tranquil and holy end that it will insure them.
Your companion in prayer,