O Mary, to the enemy of souls "thou art terrible as an army in battle array." - Canticle 6:3
The plot formed against the soul of each of us is worked out by foes so skilled in war, so crafty, so indefatigable, that were we fully cognizant of the perils that beset us, the mere idea would fill us with terror. Hence the Apostle bids us - "Be sober, brethren, and watch, because your adversary the devil goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
We have, however, in Mary an assured protection against this enemy of our souls; from the beginning of the world she was destined to crush him - "She shall crush thy head." And Saint Bernardine of Sienna styles her the mistress and ruler of devils. To them she is more terrible than the sight of an army in battle array to one unarmed. "As wax melts before the fire," says Saint Bonaventure, "so these wicked spirits remain powerless against the soul in which they find a frequent remembrance of Mary's name; the pious invocation of her aid; the imitation of her virtues."
"At the name of Mary, as at that of Jesus, every knee bends, even in hell itself; and not only the demons tremble, but they are filled with terror." "At this name, which is for them like a clap of thunder, a flash of lightning, they fly, they are overthrown." We learn from the Revelations of Saint Bridget - "Such is the empire of Mary over the evil spirits, that whenever they dare to attack a soul who implores the assistance of this divine Mother, at her slightest motion they flee away trembling, preferring redoubled torments in hell to the experience of her authority."
Thus, if people would desist from the invocation of Mary, this wily enemy of souls would consent to cease in his attacks, confident, that once inveigled into this most dangerous of all snares, they would prove an easy prey to every other delusion; he had the effrontery to say to Blessed Alphonsus Alvarez - "Cease to honour Mary, and I will leave off tempting you." A single glance at the image of this Mother of Mercy suffices to deprive the devil of all his strength and power. Interrogated once by a good solitary, concerning the continuance of the temptation that he had overwhelmed him with, Satan replied - "The torments I cause you are nothing in comparison with those you inflict on me. Swear secresy to me, and I will tell you what you must omit, that I may leave you alone." The solitary having done so, "I desire you," said the Evil One, "to desist from looking at the picture in your cell." This was a picture of Mary, before which he was accustomed to pray, and which he venerated from that time still more.
Mary is that Tower of David whereon a thousand bucklers are suspended with the arms of the most valiant. "As the Tower of David, a thousand bucklers hang upon it, all the armour of valiant men." Poor souls! of what are you thinking when you withdraw from this impregnable fortress, when you permit devotion to Mary to become weak, when you neglect to invoke her in peril, lay aside her livery, abandon your pious practices in her honour! Ah! return to the combat, resume your weapons, at once so sweet and powerful - the thought, the name, the invocation of Mary; "for even the most hardened sinner does not call on her in vain; so much so, that if he continued pronouncing this formidable name the demon would be obliged to abandon his soul." How easy would salvation become did we employ against our foes so sweet and assured a resource. Ah! let us not prepare for ourselves a share in the eternal, irremediable, regret which tortures the damned, that we could so readily have saved our souls through the name, the invocation of Mary, yet neglected to adopt this means so powerful in itself, so easily attained by all.
There are three degrees in temptation - suggestion , or the thought of evil; delectation, or the pleasure that thought excites; consent or adhesion, by which alone the crime is consummated. Do you desire to vanquish the enemy, wait not till he has made some progress in your soul, but rather fly to Mary on his very first attack.
"O Mother of desolate orphans, hear the cries of your children; spread out your wings that we may fly beneath their shelter from the face of the enemy."
When Saint Dominic was preaching at Carcassonne, they brought to him an Albigensian heretic, whom the devil had taken possession of, in consequence of his having publicly cried down the Devotion of the Rosary. The Saint on the part of God commanded the devils to declare if what he preathed concerning the Rosary was true, they cried out with terrific howlings - "Hear ye, Christians, all that this man, who is our enemy, has said of Mary and the holy Rosary is perfectly true." They added, "Mary, Mother of God, is our capital enemy; she upsets our plans, baffles our measures; but for her we should have over-thrown the Church a thousand times by heresies and schisms." They then avowed they had no power over Mary's servants, and that there were many who, despite their demerits, were saved at the point of death by invoking Mary. They concluded by saying - "We are forced to declare that no one is damned who perseveres in devotion to Mary and the holy Rosary;" because Mary obtains for the sinners among them true repentance before death. Saint Dominic made the people recite the Rosary, and at each "Hail Mary," several demons were seen to go forth from the body of the unfortunate man, under the appearance of burning coals. By the conclusion of the Rosary he was entirely freed from them. A vast number of heretics, witnesses of this miracle, abjured their errors and were converted. Even in our own days the virtue of exorcisms wrings similar avowals from Satan. Being recently interrogated in the person of one possessed, as to what we should believe concerning Mary, he replied - "She is a woman who has a Son; this Son is God; this woman was conceived without sin." Is she powerful? "She can do everything with her Son. Whoever has confidence in this woman is assured of salvation." She is, then, very compassionate towards men and sinners? "Oh, yes! she is merciful to all, .... except the devils." Thus it is that the force of truth sometimes compels the father of lies himself to speak for our instruction and consolation, even against his own interests.
Visit to the Blessed Sacrament
"What is this to love?"
O my God, what a desert for the heart, to be loved by no one in this world! But to be loved - passionately loved - by a God, and to be ignorant of it all one's life, or only to learn it when it becomes impossible to return it - what torture, what regrets it would cause! Alas! how many days and years have I lost in this fatal ignorance! My Lord, what shall I do to repair time lost? How obtain Your love, in order to be loved by You, to love You to the last moment of my life? One of Your dearest servants, in order to excite in himself contempt for things of time, was accustomed to say - "What is this or that to eternity?" And I, in order to despise all that opposes the perfect union of my heart with Yours, will henceforth say - "What is this or that to love?" Oh, how love - the desire of obtaining Your love - gives me courage for all sacrifices, for all humiliations! This, then, O my hidden Saviour, this is the compact I make with You in order to obtain the end of all my desires - Your love. I will humble myself beneath every creature, willingly, joyously, constantly, give me but Your knowledge, Your love. I will remain a stranger to all that is not You, deign but to manifest Yourself to me. I will keep silence, but You will speak; I will fly the familiarity of creatures, but You will initiate me into Your secrets; I will seek solitude, but You will bear me company; I will refuse every satisfaction to my senses, but You will be the joy of my heart.
What did I say, O my God! I am a mercenary soul, that promises sacrifices only at the price of consolation. No; I will seek You, I will follow You whatever be Your severity towards me. I merit this chastisement. Provided that I find You at the end of my pilgrimage, provided that You spare me for eternity, I consent to love You here below, without sentiment, without knowledge, only grant that I may truly love You!
O Mary! you who, possessing so pure love of God, yet never said - "It is enough," give me a devouring hunger, an insatiable thirst, that nothing can satisfy, so that I may run without delay to God by the generous sacrifice of all that is not Him.
- taken from The Month of May Consecrated to the Glory of the Mother of God, The Queen of Heaven