How great should be our Confidence in Mary, who is the Queen of Mercy.
We read, in the life of Sister Catharine of St. Augustine, that in the place where she resided, there was a woman, of the name of Mary, who in her youth was a sinner, and in her old age continued so obstinate in wickedness, that she was driven out of the city, and reduced to live in a secluded cave; there she died, half consumed by disease, without the sacraments, and was consequently hastily buried in a field like a beast. Sister Catherine, who always recommended the souls of those who departed from this world, with great fervor to God, on hearing the unfortunate end of this poor, old woman, never thought of praying for her, and she looked upon her (as everyone else) as irrevocably lost. One day, four years afterwards, a suffering soul appeared to her, and exclaimed: “How unfortunate is my lot, Sister Catherine! Though you recommend the souls of all those that die, to God: on my soul alone you had no compassion.” “And who are you?” asked the servant of God. “I am,” she replied, “that poor Mary who died in the cave.” “And are you saved?” said Catherine. “Yes,” she answered, “by the mercy of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” “And how?” “When I saw myself at the point of death, loaded with sins, and abandoned by all, I had recourse to the Mother of God, saying, ‘Lady, you are the refuge of abandoned creatures: behold me, at this moment, abandoned by all; you are my only hope: you alone can help me: have pity on me.” The Blessed Virgin obtained, for me the grace to make an act of contrition. I died, and am saved; and besides this, she my Queen obtained for me another favor, that my purgatory should be shortened, by enduring, in intensity, that which otherwise would have lasted for many years: I now need only a few masses to be entirely delivered; I beg you to have them said; and on my part, I promise always to pray for you to God and to Mary.” Sister Catherine immediately had the masses said; and after a few days that soul again appeared to her, shining like the sun, and said: “I thank you, Catherine: behold, I go to Paradise, to sing the mercies of my God, and to pray for you.”
O, Mother of my God, and my Lady Mary: as a beggar, all wounded and sore, presents himself before a great queen, so do I present myself before you, who are the Queen of heaven and earth. From the lofty throne on which you sit, disdain not, I implore you, to cast your eyes on me, a poor sinner. God has made you so rich that you might assist the poor, and has constituted you Queen of Mercy in order that you might relieve the miserable. Behold me then, and pity me: behold me and abandon me not, until you see me changed from a sinner into a saint. I know well that I merit nothing; that I deserve, on account of my ingratitude, to be deprived of the graces that, through your means, I have already received from God. But you, who are the Queen of Mercy, seek not merits, but miseries, in order to help the needy. But who is more needy than I? O, exalted Virgin, well do I know that you, who are Queen of the universe, are already my queen; yet am I determined to dedicate myself more especially to your service, in order that you may dispose of me as you please. Therefore do I address you in the words of St. Bonaventure: “Do govern me, O my Queen, and leave me not to myself.” Command me: employ me as you will, and chastise me when I do not obey; for the chastisements that come from your hands will be to me pledges of salvation. I would rather be your servant than the ruler of the earth. I am yours; save me. Accept me, O Mary, for your own, and as yours, take charge of my salvation. I will no longer be mine; to you do I give myself. If, during the time past I have served you ill, and lost so many occasions of honoring you, for the future I will be one of your most loving and faithful servants. I am determined that from this day forward no one will surpass me in honoring and loving you, my most amiable Queen. This I promise; and this, with your help, I hope to execute. Amen.