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that no sinner ever had recourse to you for assistance and was rejected: I, a miserable sinner, have recourse to you, and place my confidence in you. III. Gate of heaven. Mary is called the gate of heaven, because no one can enter heaven but through her means. "No one," says St. Bonaventure, "can enter into heaven but through Mary, as "through a gate." "My power is in Jerusalem." (Mass of B. V. M.) says this most holy Queen; and Richard of St. Laurence adds: "by obtaining "what I desire and introducing whomsoever I "please." Hence, St. Bonaventure writes: "Those "who enjoy the favour of Mary, are acknowledged

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by the citizens of heaven; and those who have "her mark," (that is, the favour of being her servants)" are inscribed in the book of life." St. Bernardin calls Mary: "The book of life;" and says, that those who are inscribed therein, through devotion to her, are secure of salvation. Most holy Mother, I love you, be a Mother to me and promote my salvation: O suffer not any one of your servants who love you, to be condemned to hell to pour out maledictions against you.

EIGHTH DAY.

I. MORNING star. Mary is called by St. John Damascen: "The star which immediately precedes "and announces the rising of the sun.' As the morning star precedes the sun, só devotion to the Blessed Virgin precedes the sun of divine grace; for, says St. Germanus, "devotion to the Blessed Virgin is a sign that a person is either already in "the state of grace or will speedily acquire it." Our Blessed Lady is called by the Church, the "star of the sea," because, as St. Thomas explains

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as mariners are directed to port by a star, so are men directed to heaven by Mary." Hence St. Bernard admonishes us: "Turn not away your eyes from the brightness of this star, if you would "not be overwhelmed by the storms and the tem"pests." And he continues: "Following this star you shall not go astray; under its protection you "shall not be afraid: under its auspices you shall arrive safe at the end of your voyage.”

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II. Health of the sick. Mary is called by St. Simon Stock the "Medicine of sinners;" and by St. Ephrem, not only the medicine, but the health also of sinners: "The sure health of those who "have recourse to her.". Hence he who has recourse to Mary, will not only find a remedy but health, as she herself promises to those who endeavour to find her: He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from our Lord. Prov. viii. 35. Let us not fear that on account of the corruption of our wounds, she will not deign to take care of us: she is our Mother; and as a natural mother has no horror of dressing the wounds o her son, so will not she our heavenly Mother refuse to dress and heal our wounds when we have recourse to her. Hence St. Bernard says: "O "Mother of God, you have no horror of a sinner, however defiled he may be; if he sighs after you, you will save him from yielding to despair.'

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III. Refuge of sinners. Such is Mary called by St. Germanus: "The most secure refuge of sinners, "their greatest safety, by whom no sinner is re"jected. She receives all sinners, and this without "demur." St. John Demascen calls her: 66 The "city of refuge for all those who fly to her." Hence St. Anselm thus addresses her: 66 You embrace "with maternal affection even the most despised "sinner in the world, and do not abandon him "until you have reconciled his miserable soul to

"his Judge. If then, most holy Lady, you are the refuge of all sinners, you are also my refuge. Thou who despisest no sinner who has recourse to thee, do not despise me now recommending myself to thee: Refuge of sinners, pray for us.

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NINTH DAY.

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I. COMFORTER of the afflicted. St. Germanus says: Who, after your divine Son, has so "much care of the human race as you have? Who "is so ready to console us in all our afflictions?" No, replies St. Antoninus; 'No one is found among the saints so to compassionate our infir"mities as the Blessed Virgin Mary." And because the infirmities which most afflict us are those of the soul, the Blessed Henry Susone calls Mary "the most faithful comforter of sinners." sufficient to expose the wounds of our souls to Mary, to induce her immediately to succour and console us with her prayers. As Richard of St. Victor writes, her pity even goes before our petitions, and induces her to assist us. Let us therefore say to her with St. Bonaventure: "O Mary, "be always our consolation, but particularly at the

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"hour of our death: come then and take our souls "and present them to your divine Son, who will then be our Judge."

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II. Help of Christians. Such is she called by St. John Damascen: "The prompt and prepared "help of Christians, delivering us from evils." "The help of Mary is all-powerful," as St. Cosmas of Jerusalem writes, "to save us from sin and hell." Thou," says St. Bernard, "art invincible in behalf "of thy servants, fighting against the wicked spirits "who assault us.' Hence is she called in the

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Canticles (vi. 3.) Terrible as an army set in battle array. My sovereign Queen! had I always had recourse to you, I should never have been overcome by my enemies: from this day forward you shall be my fortress; in temptations I will always have recourse to you, and from you will hope for victory.

III. Queen of martyrs. With good reason is Mary styled the Queen of martyrs, since she underwent a martyrdom during the sufferings and death of her Son on the cross, which far exceeded all the sufferings of any of the saints for the faith of Christ. "His mother was standing near the "cross." Mothers in general fly away when they behold their children dying and can no longer afford them any help; but Mary would not leave her Son until she saw him give up the ghost: "She

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was standing near the cross.' And while Jesus was agonizing on the cross, she was offering to the Eternal Father the life of her Son for our salvation: but in making such an offering she suffered an agony, and endured a struggle more terrible than death. O my most sorrowful Mother, through the merit of your sufferings at the foot of the cross, obtain for me a true sorrow for all my sins, and the love of Jesus my Redeemer; and through that sword which then pierced your soul, when you beheld him bow down his head and expire, I beseech you to assist me at the hour of my death, and to obtain for me eternal salvation, that I may come to love you for ever with the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus.

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On the Purification of the Blessed Virgin.

February 2.

I. THE time being come when Mary was to go acccording to the law to be purified in the temple, and to present Jesus to his Eternal Father, she sets out together with Joseph. Joseph takes with him the two turtle doves that were to be offered on the occasion; and Mary takes her dear infant, the divine Lamb, to offer him to God, in token of that great sacrifice which Jesus was one day to offer on the cross. O God, suffer me to join my offering with that of Mary; I offer to thee thy beloved Son made man, and through his merits I beseech thee to bestow thy grace upon me. I do not deserve it, but Jesus, in order to obtain it for me, offered himself in sacrifice to thee. For the love therefore of Jesus have pity on me.

II. Mary enters into the temple, and makes an oblation of her Son, in the name of the whole human race. But on this day Jesus Christ himself particularly offers himself to his Eternal Father. Behold me, does he say, O my Father, to thee do I consecrate my whole life; to thee do I offer my whole self for the salvation of the world. O how wretched should I have been, my dear Redeemer, if thou hadst not made satisfaction to the divine justice for me! I thank thee for having made satisfaction for me, and love thee with my whole heart. And whom shall I love, if I love not thee, my God, who has sacrificed thy life for me?

III. This sacrifice was more dear to God than all the sacrifices of men and angels could have been for all eternity; because from this one offering of Jesus, the Eternal Father received infinite honour, and infinite satisfaction. Jesus Christ once said

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