Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces

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Excerpts from the Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII: IUCUNDA SEMPER EXPECTATIONE, September 8, 1894

The recourse we have to Mary in prayer follows upon the office she continuously fills by the side of the throne of God as Mediatrix of Divine grace; being by worthiness and by merit most acceptable to Him, and, therefore, surpassing in power all the angels and saints in Heaven.

This merciful office of hers, perhaps, appears in no other form of prayer so manifestly as it does in the Rosary. For in the Rosary all the part that Mary took as our co-Redemptress comes to us, as it were, set forth, and in such wise as though the facts were even then taking place; and this with much profit to our piety, whether in the contemplation of the succeeding sacred mysteries, or in the prayers which we speak and repeat with the lips.

Our prayers cannot fail to ascend to Him as a sweet savour, commended by the prayers of the Virgin. And He it is who, all-benign, invites her: “Let thy voice sound in My ears, for thy voice is sweet” (Canticles 2:14).

For this reason we repeatedly celebrate those glorious titles of her ministry as Mediatrix. It is she whom we greet who found favour with God, and who was in a signal manner filled with grace by Him so that the superabundance thereof might overflow upon all men; Mary, united with the Lord by the most intimate of all conjunction; she who was blessed among women, and who “alone took away the curse and bore the blessing” (St Thomas Aquinas). She do we invoke, finally, as Mother of God: in virtue of a dignity so sublime, what graces from her may we not promise to ourselves, sinners, in life and in the agonies of the end?

A soul that shall devoutly repeat these prayers, that shall ponder with faith these mysteries, will, without doubt, be filled with wonder at the Divine purposes in this great Virgin and in the work of the restoration of mankind. Doubtless, this soul, moved by the warmth of love for her and of confidence, will desire to take refuge upon her breast, as was the sweet feeling of St Bernard: “Remember, O most pious Virgin Mary, that never was it heard that any who fled to thy protection, called upon thy help, and sought thy intercession, was left forsaken.”

But the fruits of the Rosary appear likewise, and with equal greatness, in the turning with mercy of the heart of the Mother of God towards us. How sweet a happiness must it be for her to see us all intent upon the task of weaving crowns for her of righteous prayers and lovely praises! And if, indeed, by those prayers we desire to render to God the glory which is His due; if we protest that we seek nothing whatsoever except the fulfilment in us of His holy will; if we magnify His goodness and graciousness; if we call Him Our Father; if we, being most unworthy, yet entreat of Him His best blessings – Oh, how shall Mary in all these things rejoice! How shall she magnify the Lord!

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