OUR Blessed Lady told St. Bridget that she was the Mother of more than just the saintly and the innocent. She was the Mother of sinners too, if they really wanted to repent.
Those who want to be children of this great Mother must first give up sin --- and then they can expect to be accepted as her children. Persons in mortal sin do not deserve to be considered children of such a Mother.
Mary is humble, and they are proud. Mary is pure, and they are defiled. Mary is full of love, and they hate their fellow human beings. What arrogance that they should want to be called children of Mary, while they go on disgusting her by a life of sin!
A certain sinner once said to Mary: "Show yourself a mother. " But the Blessed Virgin replied: "Show yourself a son." Another sinner invoked our Lady, calling her the Mother of mercy. But she answered: "You sinners call me Mother of mercy when you want my help; at the same time you make me a Mother of sorrows with your sins."
Accursed of his Creator [is] he who angers his mother (Sir. 3: 16). God curses those who afflict this tender Mother by their wicked life ---- or more particularly, by their obstinacy in sin.
I say, by their obstinacy in sin; for if sinners, though they have not yet given up their sins, nevertheless make efforts to do so, and for this purpose seek the help of Mary , this good Mother will not neglect to help them and make them recover the grace of God.
This is exactly what St. Brigid heard one day from the lips of Christ when, speaking to His Mother, He said: "You help anyone who makes an effort to return to Me, and your consolations are never wanting to anyone."
Thus, as long as sinners remain obstinate, Mary cannot love them. However, when they find themselves in the chains of some passion that keeps them slaves of Hell, they should recommend themselves to the Blessed Virgin, and with confidence and perseverance beg her to lift them out of the state of sin.
Then there can be no doubt about it. This good Mother will reach out her strong hand to them, break loose their chains, and lead them to salvation.
The Council of Trent condemned as heretical the doctrine that all prayers and works performed in a state of sin are themselves sin. St. Bernard says that, even though prayer in the mouth of a sinner has no beauty of itself, because it is not elevated by the theological virtue of charity, it is still useful and obtains for the sinner the grace to abandon sin.
Thus too St. Thomas teaches: the prayer of a sinner, without merit in itself, is an act which obtains the grace of forgiveness, since the power of prayer does not depend on the merits of the one praying but on the Divine Goodness and the promises of Jesus Christ Who said: "Whoever asks, receives" (Lk. 11:10).
The same thing must be said of prayers offered to the Mother of God. If those praying do not merit to be heard, the merits of the Mother to whom they pray will intercede effectually ."10
Suppose a mother (says Adam, the Abbot of Perseigne) knew that her two sons had a mortal hatred for each other, and that each was planning the other's murder. Would she not do everything in her power to make peace between them? Any good mother would consider it her duty to do this.
Mary acts in the same way, for she is the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of human beings. When she sees a sinner at enmity with Jesus, she cannot bear such a state of things --- she does all in her power to reconcile them.
This kindest of Ladies demands only one thing --- that sinners recommend themselves to her and be determined to change their ways. When she finds sinners at her feet imploring mercy, she does not fix her attention on their crimes, but she looks only at the motive that brings them to her. If the motive is good, and even though they have committed every conceivable sin, this most loving Mother takes them in her arms to heal the wounds of their soul.
She is not only called the Mother of Mercy. She is the Mother of Mercy. And she proves herself such by the loving tenderness with which she helps us all.
Mary, the Mother of sinners who wish to mend their lives, seems to feel the miseries of her poor children as if they were her own. When the Canaanite woman begged our Lord to deliver her daughter from diabolical possession, she said: "Lord, Son of David, have pity on me! My daughter is terribly troubled by a demon" (Mt. 15:22).
Have pity on me, she said. And she was right to put it that way, for mothers feel the sufferings of their children as if these were their own. And it is thus that Mary too cries out for the sinful soul: "Have pity on me!" 11
In the Second Book of Samuel (14:6) we read how that wise woman of Tekoa addressed King David: "Your majesty, I had two sons, and to my misfortune one killed the other, so that I have now lost one and justice demands the life of the other, the only one that is left. Have mercy on a poor mother and let me not lose both my sons."
In a similar way we may imagine Mary pleading with God, when His justice is directed against a sinner who has recommended himself or herself to her.
"My God, I had two sons, Jesus and Mankind. mankind took the life of Jesus on the Cross, and now your justice would condemn the guilty one. O Lord, my Jesus is already dead. Have pity on me; if I have lost the one, do not let me lose the other also."
It is absolutely certain that God win not condemn those sinners who have recourse to Mary and for whom she prays. For did He not Himself commend them to her as her children?