Can a woman forget her infant,...yet will not I forget thee. - Isaiah 49:15
Maternal love is the most sublime degree of affection and devotedness that the human heart can conceive. Behold a mother! night and day what are her cares, her solicitude? how happy and tranquil she is with her child! what is her delight in seeing its faculties develope themselves? how she watches the first faint dawn of reason? Her child is to her the entire world; wherever it goes her eyes follow it, her heart and mind are bent on it. All that heretofore amused her, attracted her affections, has now lost its charm; the most painful sacrifices, the most complete subjection, have changed titles, and are become joys in favour of this beloved one. Rejoice then, ye children of Mary, for such in truth is the generous and tender love that fills this Mother's heart for you. Night and day she watches over you without intermission. Her Heart, like the Heart of Jesus, admits no joy or sadness of which you are not the object. She, too, watched your first glimmerings of reason to make you comprehend her love, and to ask for yours in return. Throughout this universe, so vast and so magnificent, she beholds but your souls, they form the sole objects of her solicitude; step by step she follows them to win them to her Divine Son, nor can anything discourage her, or make her flag in her pursuit. We dare to affirm, compared to Mary's love for one amongst us, be he just or sinner, the united love of all mothers for their children is but ice. Need this surprise us? We have seen the Saints spend and wear themselves out with apostolic labours for mankind, their brethren, urged on by the charity of Jesus Christ, which pressed them not to live for themselves alone; and Mary, she who drew of the immense charity of the Heart of Jesus more abundantly than all the elect united, would she do nothing for her children but what our thoughts can fathom? We should, then, believe her when she tells us - Should a mother forget her child, "yet will not I forget thee."
But all that, it may perchance be said, is but a pious supposition. Let us then proceed to evident and palpable proofs. "God so loved the world that He gave it His only Son;" and in like manner Mary, says Saint Bonaventure, "so loved us that she gave us her only Son." The consent required of her in order to her becoming the Mother of God, involved also her consent to the painful and ignominous death to which her Divine Son was destined; and such was Mary's acquiescence, that she sanctioned it by her presence, and in default of executioners she herself, Saint Anselm and Saint Antoninus tell us, would have immolated Jesus, with even more generosity than Abraham, in order to fulfil the will of the Eternal Father and to save mankind, her adopted children. What other sentiment save love, powerful enough to determine her to such a sacrifice? After Mary, where then, O man, will you find a creature who loves you with affection so heroic, that gives you so incredible proofs thereof?
And having done so much for us, beholding us covered with the Blood of her Son, with that Blood which cries for mercy, and is all-powerful to obtain it, would she not love us, would she make no account of our souls, would she feel indifferent to their eternal ruin? No, no, there is not a human being whom Mary does not love and protect. "Oh, how ingenious are the cares of this tender Mother for us! She opens to all the bosom of her compassion, she has desired the salvation of all, she has cooperated in the salvation of all." - Saint Antoninus
Let us give ear to our Mother's invitation. Thus she addresses us - My child, come to me when it is ill with you, when out of favour with men and with God; come, and I will reconcile you with yourself, your brethren, and my Divine Son - Venias ad me cum tibi non fuerit bene. Courage then, child of Mary; know that all who ambition this title she accepts and adopts. She thus spoke to one of her most devoted clients - "I am a Mother full of pity, and I receive with maternal tenderness all who desire, with fervour, to be my children, and the servants of my Lord; I shall always receive them with open arms, and shall be their advocate with the effusion of charity which the Divine Majesty has communicated to me." What happiness to be under the protection of such a Mother! Who shall ever dare to attack the children of Mary in her very arms? What passion, what temptation so furious as to vanquish them if they place their confidence in the protection of such a Mother?
We read in the Revelations of Saint Bridget, that Mary one day said to this Saint - "If a mother saw her son under the sword of the enemy, think you she would not run forward to ward off the stroke? It is thus I act towards my children, all sinful as they are, when they apply to me." "O Mary, tenderest of Mothers, behold then what you ask of us; it is that we call on you in all dangers, that we run to take refuge in your arms, crying out like little children, 'Mother, Mother!'" - Saint Alphonsus Liguori
Learn from Saint Gertrude an easy practice to supply what is wanting in your devotion to Mary. This Saint, reciting at Compline the Salve Regina, lamented before God her negligence in Mary's service. It then occurred to her to offer with the recital of the Salve the Heart of Jesus to His divine Mother, to supply for what she should have done. Our Lord showed her that in virtue of this offering, His divine Heart repaired very amply all her negligences, and undertook to offer to the Heart of Mary all the homages she would wish to have rendered. And as the Saint was once reiterating this lament to Mary herself on the Feast of the Nativity, saying - "Ah! miserable that I am, my holy Mother, truly I am not worthy to praise you;" the most benign Virgin answered - "Your goodwill supplies for all, and especially this devout intention by which you are accustomed to offer me your prayers through the sweetest Heart of my Son, surpasses all you could wish to do in my honour."
Could a child forget his mother - a Mother like you, O Mary?
Love this incomparable Mother how much soever you may, O children of Mary, still will her tenderness surpass yours. Love her like a Saint Stanislaus Kostka, who could not speak of his love for her without kindling a like flame in the hearts of his auditors; who invented new titles by which to honour her; who asked her blessing at the beginning of each action; who prayed to her as if he beheld her visibly; who was transported out of himself by simply hearing the Salve Regina sung; who, being interrogated how he loved Mary, replied, "She is my Mother - what can I say more?" pronouncing these words with such emotion of voice and countenance as befitted an Angel sent down from Heaven to preach love of Mary, rather than a mere mortal. Love her as much as Saint Philip Neri, who called Mary his delight; as much as Saint Bonaventure, who not only called her his Lady and Mother, but went so far as to name her his heart and his soul. Love her as well as Saint Bernard, the great servant of Mary, who said to her - "Ravisher of hearts, have you not stolen my heart?" or as Saint Bernardine of Sienna, who went daily to visit a devout image of her to express his love in tender colloquies. Love her as much as Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, whose heart beat and cheeks coloured at the sole name of Mary; or like a Saint Francis Solano, whom love so far transported that he took a musical instrument and came to play and sing before her statue. Love her as much as Father Diego Martinez, S.J., whose singular devotion to Mary merited for him to be transported by Angels to Heaven on each of her Festivals, and be witness of the pomp with which those days are celebrated by the inhabitants of the heavenly Jerusalem, and who was wont to say - "Would that I had the hearts of all the Angels and Saints to love Mary as much as they love her. Would that I had at my disposal the lives of all mankind, in order to consecrate them to her service.' Love her, as did the son of Saint Bridget, who used to say that nothing caused him more joy than to know how much Mary is loved by God, adding that there was no danger to which he would not willingly expose himself to prevent this Queen from losing one degree of greatness.
What shall I say further? Imagine all that love can devise to testify affection for the beloved; desire, with the Blessed Alphonsus Rodriguez, to give your life in pledge of your love; engrave on your breast with a sharp instrument the amiable name of Mary, as did a Francis Binance and a Saint Radegunda, wife of King Clotaire; nay, stamp it with red hot iron like two of her servants, Baptist Arquenta and Augustine Spinosa, both of the Society of Jesus; in fine, exhaust all the inventions of love, never shall you attain to loving Mary as much as she loves you, and you must ever say, with Saint Peter Damian - "So loving are you that it is impossible to surpass you in affection." It is related of the Blessed Alphonsus Rodriguez that, being one day prostrate before a statue of Mary, he cried out, in an effusion of tenderness - 11 My most amiable Mother, I know you love me, but you do not love me as much as I love you." Then the Blessed Virgin, regarding him with an offended air, replied - "What do you presume to say, Alphonsus? Oh, how much my love surpasses yours, there is less distance between Heaven and earth!" - Saint Alphonsus Liguori
Visit to the Blessed Sacrament
Come and befiold ye the works of the Lord: what wonders He hath done upon earth. - Psalm 45:9
The Holy Sacrifice, Communion, the uninterrupted Presence on our altars, admirable mysteries, each day renewed, the whole world over, in a countless number of churches! Of all who witness these prodigies, who even participate in the holy mysteries, how many search into them - are not contented to remain on the surface? How few there are who penetrate these abysses of love! How few love truly Him, Who loves them with so generous affection! O Lord, mankind knows You not; I know You not as You are. To whom do You dispense the treasures of Your power, wisdom, and love, to whom? Ah, vain is their labour. We see nothing, understand nothing, are touched by nothing, at least, not as we ought. Speak to Your Angels, to Your Saints; by us You are not heard.
O Mary, you who were surrounded with light and heat when participating in the Eucharistic mysteries, behold what darkness is ours, how icy cold our hearts! You who are so rich, despise not our poverty, have pity on our dulness, we have no heart. O sweet and compassionate above all! O sweet Mother! let not our misery repulse you. O you, who alone knew how to please our Lord Jesus Christ, cover us with the mantle of your merits!
- taken from The Month of May Consecrated to the Glory of the Mother of God, The Queen of Heaven