The Necessity of the Intercession of Mary for our Salvation.
The history of Theophilus, written by Eutychian, patriarch of Constantinople, and who was an eye-witness of the fact he relates, is well known. It is attested by St Peter Damian, St Bernard, St Bonaventure, St Antonine, and by others quoted by Father Crasset.
Theophilus was archdeacon of the church of Adana, a city of Cilicia, and he was held in such veneration by the people that they wished to have him for their bishop, but he, out of humility, refused the dignity. It happened that evil-disposed persons accused him falsely of some crime, and for this he was deposed from his archdeaconry. He took this so much to heart, that, blinded by passion, he went to a Jewish magician, who made him consult Satan, that he might help him in his misfortune. The devil told him that if he desired to be helped by him, he must renounce Jesus and his Mother Mary, and consign him the act of renunciation written in his own hand. Theophilus immediately complied with the demand. The next day, the bishop having discovered that he had been deceived, asked the archdeacon’s pardon, and restored him to office. No sooner was this accomplished than his conscience was torn with remorse, and he could do nothing but weep. What could he do? He went to a church, and there casting himself all in tears at the feet of an image of Mary, he thus addressed her: “O Mother of God, I will not despair as long as I can have access to you, who are so compassionate, and have the power to help me.” He remained thus weeping and praying to our Blessed Lady for forty days – when, lo, one night the Mother of mercy appeared to him, and said: “O Theophilus, what have you done? You have renounced my friendship and that of my Son, and for whom? For his and my enemy.” “O Lady”, answered Theophilus, “you must pardon me, and obtain my forgiveness from your Son.” Mary seeing his confidence, replied: “Be of good heart; I will intercede for you with God.” Theophilus, encouraged by these consoling words, redoubled his tears, mortifications, and prayers, and never left the image. At last Mary again appeared to him, and with a cheerful countenance said: “Theophilus, be of good heart; I have presented your tears and prayers to God; he has accepted them, and has already pardoned you; but from this day forward be grateful to him and faithful.” But, O Lady,” replied Theophilus, “that is not yet enough to satisfy me entirely; the enemy still possesses that impious writing in which I renounced you and your Son. You can oblige him to surrender it.” Three days afterwards, Theophilus awoke in the night, and found the writing on his chest. On the following day he went to the church where the bishop was, and, in the presence of an immense concourse of people, cast himself at his feet, and with bitter tears related all that had taken place, and delivered into his hands the infamous writing. The bishop committed it to the flames in the presence of all the people, who did nothing but weep for joy, and praise the goodness of God, and the mercy of Mary shown towards this poor sinner. But he, returning to the church of our Blessed Lady, remained there for three days, and then expired, his heart filled with joy, and returning thanks to Jesus and to his most holy Mother.
O Queen and Mother of mercy, who dispenses graces to all who have recourse to you with so much liberality, because you are a Queen, and with so much love, because you are our most loving Mother; to you do I, who am so devoid of merit and virtue, and so loaded with debts to the divine justice, recommend myself this day. O Mary, you hold the keys of all the divine mercies; forget not my miseries, and leave me not in my poverty. You are so liberal with all, and give more than you are asked for, O, be thus liberal with me. O Lady, protect me, this is all that I ask of you. If you protect me, I fear nothing. I fear not the evil spirits; for you are more powerful than all of them. I fear not my sins; for you by one word can obtain their full pardon from God. And if I have your favour, I do not even fear an angry God; for a single prayer of you will appease him. In fine, if you protect me, I hope all; for you are all-powerful. O Mother of mercy, I know that you take pleasure and do glory in helping the most miserable, and, provided they are not obstinate, that you can help them. I am a sinner, but am not obstinate; I desire to change my life. You can, then, help me; O, help me and save me. I now place myself entirely in your hands. Tell me what I must do in order to please God, and I am ready for all, and hope to do all with your help, O Mary – Mary my Mother, my light, my consolation, my refuge, my hope. Amen, amen, amen.