X Mary’s School
of Sanctity X
Catholic Candle note: This is the beginning of a
reflections series which will be placed in the setting of a school where we,
along side of our readers, study what Mary Our Mother would like us to
learn—namely how to sanctify our souls.
little schoolhouse, so to speak, will have for the staff of teachers Our Lady
herself, St. Joseph, and Our Lord Himself. How can this be done? By following
what the Church and saints have written about the topics covered, all of which
are geared to instruct us in the sanctification of our souls.
this series is intended to enrich our understanding of many subjects relevant
to our spiritual lives, some examples of which are: meditation, the
temperaments, and the Spiritual Exercises that Our Lady gave to St. Ignatius of
are so many topics that Catholics have always needed to study for perfection.
In these times of Apostasy in which we live, we especially need the means that
the Catholic Church has taught throughout the centuries, in order to defeat the
evil one. Since the best teachers are Our Lord Himself, Our Lady, and good St.
Joseph and we learn about them through the writings of the saints of Holy
Mother Church, we delight to study and ponder these works along with our
Lesson #1 Introduction to our
teacher– the Blessed Virgin Mary
us enroll in Mary’s School by taking a look at our Mother Mary, after whom this
School in named, for she is God’s special gift to us to be our model in
sanctity. Our Lord gave us Mary while He hung on the cross. She is precious to
Him but He wanted to give her to us because He knew we need her to gain our
is a treasure for us. God has blessed Mary with many prerogatives. They are so
numerous that we cannot address them all in one article. Indeed, many books
have been written about her prerogatives. However, in order to appreciate Mary
more and more we will look at a few of her prerogatives below:
is the Mediatrix of all graces.
LOVED BY God more than all the angels and other saints put together.
God more than all the angels and other saints put together.
is omnipotent by grace.
Mary is Immaculate.
is God’s masterpiece whom He wants us to follow. He created her Immaculate. Mary’s
Immaculate Conception was solemnly defined in 1854. Because He intended
for her to be the Mother of the Incarnate Word, she was conceived immaculately
in the womb of St. Anne. This means that she never had original sin. She not
only was conceived immaculate, she was also preserved from ever committing any actual
sin, mortal or venial. It was fitting that she be always pure.
Mary is the Mediatrix of All Graces.
is not only immaculate; she is also the Mediatrix of All Graces.
St. Alphonsus de Liguori, in his book, The Glories of Mary, explains
this Catholic dogma by citing several authorities. He relates what St.
Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem says, “Truly was she full; for grace is
given to other saints partially, but the whole plenitude of grace poured itself
Alphonsus cites St. Basil of Seleucia, saying, “Hail full of grace, mediatress
between God and men, by whom heaven and earth are brought together and united.”
Alphonsus further cites St. Laurence Justinian, saying, “Otherwise, had not the
Blessed Virgin been full of divine grace, how could she have become the ladder
to heaven, the advocate of the world, and the most true mediatress
between men and God.”
Mediatrix, Mary is so precious in God’s sight. St. Alphonsus beautifully
explains the connection between God’s plan that Mary was to be the Mother of
Our Lord and the Mediatrix for the spiritual children
given to her.
as the already destined Mother of our common Redeemer, received from the very beginning
the office of mediatress of all men, and consequently even of the
saints, it was also requisite from the very beginning [that] she should have a
grace exceeding that of all the saints for whom she was to intercede. I will
explain myself more clearly. If, by the means of Mary, all men were to render
themselves dear to God, necessarily Mary was more holy and more dear to Him
than all men together. Otherwise, how could she have interceded for all
others? That an intercessor may obtain the favor of a prince for all his vassals,
it is absolutely necessary that he should be more dear to his prince than all
the other vassals. And therefore St. Anselm concludes that Mary deserved to be
made the worthy repairer of the lost world, because she was the most pure of
all creatures. ‘The pure sanctity of her heart, surpassing the purity and
sanctity of all other creatures, merited for her that she should be made the
repairer of the lost world.’
Thomas Aquinas says in his commentary on the Angelic Salutation:
of grace was the Blessed Virgin, that it overflows onto all mankind. It is,
indeed, a great thing that any one saint has so much grace that it is conducive
to the salvation of many; but it is most wondrous to have so much grace as to
suffice for the salvation of all mankind. Thus, it is in Christ and in the
we can see plainly that Mary is necessary for our salvation.
Mary IS LOVED BY God more than all the angels and other saints put together.
addition St. Alphonsus in the above quote hints at the next prerogative that we
want to look at, namely, that God loves Mary more than all the angels and
saints put together. In fact, St. Alphonsus states:
conclude that our heavenly child [Mary], because she was appointed mediatress
of the world, as also because she was destined to be the Mother of the Redeemer,
received, at the very beginning of her existence, grace exceeding in
greatness that of all the saints together. Hence, how delightful a
sight must the beautiful soul of this happy child have been to heaven and
earth, although still enclosed in her mother’s womb! She was the most
amiable creature in the eyes of God, because she was already loaded with
grace and merit. … And she was at the same time the creature above all
others that had ever appeared in the world up to that moment, who loved God the
most; so much so, that had Mary been born immediately after her most
pure conception, she would have come into the world richer in merits, and more
holy, than all the saints united.
St. Alphonsus cites St. Vincent Ferrer, saying, “that the Blessed Virgin was
sanctified, in her mother’s womb above all saints and angels.”
Thomas Aquinas says in his commentary on the Angelic Salutation:
therefore, full of grace, surpassing the angels in that plenitude. For this
reason she is rightly called Mary, which signifies that in herself she
is enlightened and that she enlightens others throughout the world. Thus, she
is compared to the sun and to the moon.
Mary LOVES God more than all the angels and saints put together.
St. Alphonsus stated just above, “… And she was at the same time the
creature above all others that had ever appeared in the world up to that
moment, who loved God the most;”
St. Alphonsus quotes Richard of St. Victor, saying, “Ah! Well might even the
Seraphim have descended from heaven to learn, in the heart of Mary, how to love
Bernard, commenting on St. John’s Apocalypse, referring to a woman clothed
with the sun, says that this woman must be Mary because, “She was so
closely united to God by love, and penetrated so deeply the abyss of divine
wisdom, that, without a personal union with God, it would seem impossible for a
creature to have a closer union with Him.”
certainly gave herself entirely to God and did all that He wanted her to do in
her life. She never denied anything He asked of her. Just as she said,
“Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me according Thy Word,” so was
her whole life was one loving “Fiat.” St. Bernardine explains this when
he says, “The mind of the Blessed Virgin was always wrapped in the ardor of
love,” and “That she never did anything that the divine Wisdom did not show her
to be pleasing to Him; and that she loved God as much as she thought He was to
be loved by her.”
Mary is omnipotent by grace.
St. Alphonsus explains about this in his The Glories of
As the mother, then, must have the same power as the Son,
justly was Mary made omnipotent by Jesus, who is omnipotent; it being, however,
always true, that whereas the Son is omnipotent by nature, the mother is so by
He quotes St. Bonaventure, who says, “Mary has this great
privilege that with her Son she above all the saints is most powerful to obtain
whatever she wills.”
Further, St. Alphonsus cites St. Peter Damian addressing Mary
as follows, “All power is given to thee in heaven and on earth, and nothing is
impossible to thee who canst raise those who are in despair to the hope of
salvation.” And then adding that, “When the Mother goes to seek a favor for us
from Jesus Christ, her Son esteems her prayers so greatly, and is so desirous
to satisfy her, that when she prays its seems as if she rather commanded than
prayed, and was rather a queen than a handmaid.”
Alphonsus gives additional quotes to prove this wonderful truth about Mary. He
tells how St. Germanus addresses Our Lady, “Thou art the Mother of God, and
all-powerful to save sinners, and with God thou needest no other
recommendation; for thou art the Mother of true life.”
“At the command
of Mary, all obey, even God,” says St. Bernardine, as St. Alphonsus also
records in The Glories of Mary. As if these quotes weren’t enough, he
supplies these also:
addresses Our Lady: “Our Lord, O most holy Virgin, has exalted thee to such a
degree that by His favor all things that are possible to Him should be possible
to thee.” And further, “Whatever thou, O Virgin, willest can never be otherwise
proclaims, “And thus, God has placed the whole Church, not only under the
patronage, but even under the dominion of Mary.”
reports that St. Bridget heard Our Lord talking with Mary and telling her, “Ask
of Me what thou wilt, for no petition of thine can be void.” And the reason Our
Lord gave for this statement was, “Because thou never didst deny Me anything on
earth, I will deny thee nothing in heaven.”
explains then, “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 prayer she obtains whatever she wills.”
about Mary being omnipotent in grace are very impressive. Yet, it should not
surprise us that the Lord, being so loving as to give us Mary while He was hanging
on the cross, would make her such a powerful advocate and intercessor for us
while we are exiles in this vale of tears.
Because Mary is
our precious Mother in Heaven and God’s masterpiece whom He gave to us on the
Cross, she is the perfect teacher of sanctity. We delight in studying in her
school of sanctity and cover the many topics she has to teach us through the
great teachers of the Church. As a little gift of our appreciation for Mary our
teacher, Mediatrix of all graces, let us give Mary a mystical apple— a little
poem of gratitude.
Mary, what thanks do we not owe?
To Our Lord Who hath loved us so,
To give us such a dear sweet Queen,
Whose watch over us is e’er keen.
A mother so sweet and so pure,
Helping her children to endure,
All God’s graces come through her hands,
‘Tis how God obeys her commands.
God has bestowed on her great things,
Far beyond one’s imaginings,
Her love of God is better than,
All the angels and all of man.
God loves her most of creatures made,
We can always count on her aid.
In her power we can e’er trust,
She conquers evil with one thrust.
Thank you, Mary, our teacher dear,
You show us how to truly fear,
To displease God in any way,
Bring us closer to Him each day.
To thy school of holiness we,
Gladly come to learn from thee,
Many topics, without an end,
Mary, you are our tender friend.