by Arthur Policarpio
St. Maximilian Kolbe found himself in quite a fix. He had just published 5,000 copies of the first issue of his Marian Journal, the Knight of the Immaculata and had begged in the streets to get funds for its publication, a painful and humiliating experience for him, but somehow he had managed.
He wanted to double its circulation in the second print run-the only problem was that he had absolutely no money. There was nothing he could do but pray. He went to a church and prayed before the altar of the Immaculate Virgin.
He saw an envelope in the altar. On the envelope were the words, "For thee, Immaculate One." The envelope contained the exact amount needed for the second issue of the Knight of the Immaculata. The journal stayed in business, and grew in circulation from month to month; at its peak, its monthly circulation reached a million.
Maximilian asked for the help of Our Lady in behalf of his Marian journal, and Our Lady granted it.This is the essence of Mary's role as Advocate for the People of God, the third jewel in the proposed fifth Marian dogma of Mary as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. Mary, as Advocate, brings to God our petitions and intercedes on our behalf. She is like a lawyer before a tribunal, pleading our case before God, for our benefit.
Mary's twin roles as Mediatrix and Advocate are in essence two sides of the same coin: they talk about the same reality, but from a different point of view. As Mediatrix, Our Lady mediates and distributes the graces of redemption from God to the human family. As Advocate, she mediates the petitions of the human family back to God.
In the Old Testament tradition, no one had more intercessory power to the king than the queen mother, who in numerous instances sat enthroned at the right side of the king (1Kings 2: 19-20). The mother of the king was chosen to be the queen of the entire kingdom, primarily because the kings of Israel normally had numerous wives. The "Lady" of the kingdom, the queen mother, assisted the king in ruling the kingdom. Bathsheba, mother of King Solomon, once said to the king: "I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me." And the king said to her, "Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you." (1Kings 2:19-20)
This Old Testament role of the queen mother is a foreshadowing of the New Testament role of Mary, mother of the King of All Kings, and therefore Queen of Jesus' Kingdom. As Queen of Jesus' Kingdom, Mary is the foremost Advocate with her Son. Elizabeth, when visited by Our Lady, acknowledged this queen mother role of Mary, when she said: "And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Luke l :44). In the court language of ancient Israel, "Mother of my Lord" referred to the queen mother, the mother of the reigning king, who was addressed "My Lord".
Mary's role as Queen, and therefore Advocate with the King, finds its scriptural culmination and coronation in the last book of Scripture: "And a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars." (Rev. l2:1) Mary, Queen Mother and Advocate, is crowned with the twelve stars which symbolize both the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles of the new kingdom. Pope Paul VI affirms that this "great sign" referred to in Revelation is Our Lady, in his Marian Apostolic Letter entitled A Great Sign:
The great sign which the Apostle John saw in heaven, 'a woman clothed by the sun ' is interpreted by the Sacred Liturgy...as referring to the most blessed Mary, the mother of all men by the grace of Christ the Redeemer.
Furthermore, Mary is our Advocate with Jesus because she is our mother, the mother of the Church.The Church is the mystical body of Christ, hence, Mary, mother of Jesus, is likewise mother of Christ's mystical body, the Church. This universal motherhood of Mary was dramatically confirmed by Jesus at the foot of the Cross, when He entrusted humanity (represented by John the Apostle) to Mary: "Woman, behold thy son. Son behold thy mother." As our mother at the spiritual level, Mary is therefore our Advocate with Jesus.
St. Louis de Montfort, author of the famous book "True Devotion to Mary" (source of inspiration of the Legion of Mary, as well as departed Pope John Paul II) in his book, "The Secret of the Rosary," narrates a dramatic story involving St. Dominic. When Saint Dominic was once preaching the Rosary, a man who was possessed by the devil was brought to him. Saint Dominic exorcised him in the presence of a great crowd of witnesses, estimated to number around 12,000. The devils revealed that there were fifteen thousand of them in the body of the man, because he had attacked the fifteen mysteries of the rosary.
Saint Dominic put his rosary around the man's neck and asked the devils to tell him who, of all the saints in heaven, was the one they feared the most, and who should therefore be the most loved and revered by men. The devils erupted in a fury, using all their cunning and their skill to try to avoid answering the question. Saint Dominic prayed to Our Lady, asking her to command the infernal spirits to accede to his demands. At once, Our Lady appeared to Dominic (only Dominic saw Our Lady; the assembled crowd did not see her) with a multitude of angels, striking the possessed man with a golden rod, and said: "Answer my servant Dominic at once." The devils, forced to answer, said thus:
Oh you who are our enemy, our downfall and our destruction, why have you come from heaven just to torture us so grievously? O Advocate of sinners, you who snatch them from the very jaws of hell, you who are the very sure path to heaven, must we, in spite of ourselves, tell the whole truth and confess before everyone who it is who is the cause of our shame and our ruin? Oh woe unto us, princes of darkness:
Then listen well, you Christians: the Mother of Jesus Christ is all-powerful and she can save her servants from falling into hell. She is the Sun which destroys the darkness of our wiles and subtlety. It is she who uncovers our hidden plots, breaks our snares and makes our temptations useless and ineffectual.
We have to say, however reluctantly, that not a single soul who has really persevered in her service has ever been damned with us; one single sigh that she offers to the Blessed Trinity is worth far more than all the prayers, desires and aspirations of all the saints.
We fear her more than all the other saints in heaven together and we have no success with her faithful servants. Many Christians who call upon her when they are at the hour of death and who really ought to be damned according to our ordinary standards are saved by her intercession. Oh if only that Mary (it is thus in their fury that they called her) had not pitted her strength against ours and had not upset our plans, we should have conquered the Church and should have destroyed it long before this; and we would have seen to it that all the Orders in the Church fell into error and disorder.
The above true story, narrated by St. Louis de Montfort, magnifies the full truth about the efficacy of turning to Our Lady for all our needs, particularly concerning our spiritual lives. Mary's power is greater than all the saints combined, for as Queen Mother and Advocate, her Son Jesus refuses her nothing. In the Church-approved Revelations of Our Lord to St.Bridget, St. Bridget heard Jesus say to His mother: "Ask of me what thou wilt, for no petition of thine can be void."
In the wedding feast of Cana, Jesus, in a dramatic way, gave a concrete, tangible proof to Mary's role as Advocate and Mediatrix, by granting Mary's request to turn the water into wine.
It is impossible for the Son to refuse the Mother anything, because everything that the Mother asks for from the Son is always in conformity with His will. Mary is the masterpiece of the Holy Spirit: her union with God is so perfect, so much so that her entire will, her mind, and her heart are always in conformity with the will, mind and heart of God.
Church Fathers have long taught that devotion to Mary, our Queen and Advocate, assures one of eternal salvation. As Mediatrix she arms us with all the graces we need in our daily spiritual struggles.As Advocate she helps grant the deepest petitions of our hearts, especially as regards our spiritual journey. St. Alphonsus de Ligouri, great doctor of the Church, in his book "The Glories of Mary," does not hesitate one bit in saying, "...all graces are dispensed by Mary, and... all who are saved are saved only by the means of this divine Mother...."
Many stories have been written about the most obstinate of sinners repenting, and therefore avoiding eternal death, by turning to Mary, the Advocate of Sinners.
In St. Alphonsus' book "The Glories of Mary," the Church doctor quotes the great St. Bernard, who says that Mary is the:
Queen of Mercy ...because we believe that she opens the abyss of the mercy of God to whomsoever she wills, when she wills, and as she wills; so that there is no sinner, however great, who is lost if Mary protects him.
Let us have recourse, then, to Our Blessed Lady, the Advocate, for all our needs, and we will no doubt re-echo St. John Bosco's words hundreds of years ago: Have a devotion to Mary...and you will see what miracles are!
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