Our Lady Refuge of Sinners

Our Lady Refuge of Sinners

January 16

The worst evil that can befall us is unquestionably SIN, which makes us an object of abhorrence in the sight of God.

God’s infinite mercy has not only prepared for us a potent remedy against sin in the merits of Jesus Christ, our Savior, but it has also given us poor sinners a secure refuge in the assistance of Mary, Our Lady refuge of sinners. In the Old Law there were cities of refuge to which the guilty could flee for safety; in the New Law, Mary’s mantle is for us that citadel of refuge for sinful souls. How can the Divine Wrath strike us, if we are covered by the mantle of Mary, the chosen daughter and the honored Mother of God?

Our Lady refuge of sinners is thus not merely a pledge of our safety, but by her unrivaled sanctity, she is as earnest of pardon for all sinners who have recourse to her intercession. She not only disarms the just anger of God roused by our sins, but also obtains for her true clients sincere and heartfelt conversion. All we need do is turn toward her with Faith, to obtain Divine Clemency and the means to rise from the mire of sin.

To be cleansed from sin and to be admitted again into the friendship of God is a grace beyond compare; but to be kept free from fresh falls is even more important, as our salvation depends entirely upon final perseverance. Mary, by her intercession, helps us detest past sins and faults; and keeps us from renewed relapses.

Through God’s permission we are tempted in all sorts of ways; but Mary’s watchful assistance helps us put Satan to flight while she suggests to us, through our Angel Guardian, all manner of good thoughts and holy aspirations.

More than ever at the hour of death, Mary shelters her devoted children, driving the Tempter far from us, and encouraging us to fight valiantly to the last gasp.

“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us SINNERS, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

St. Bonaventure has aptly said: "Thou embracest with maternal affection a sinner who is even despised by the whole world, nor dost thou cease thine embrace until thou hast reconciled him with his judge."

In the Old Testament we find many figures of Mary as the refuge of sinners, like Ruth who "gleaned the ears of corn after the reapers." St. Bonaventure draws this comparison:

"As Ruth found grace in the eyes of Booz, so Mary found Grace before God. The reapers are the gleaners in the vineyard of the Lord, the missionaries, preachers and confessors who endeavor to gain souls to God. But there are obstinate and hardened souls who do not allow themselves to be gained; these can be saved only through the powerful intercession of Mary. There is no sinner so corrupt and sunk in vice that Mary will despise and reject him. If such a one seeks help with her, she will most certainly reconcile him with Jesus and obtain pardon for him." 

*from The Woman in Orbit and other sources

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