TWENTY-FIRST SATURDAY OF THE YEAR II
MASS OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY,
MOTHER AND MEDIATRIX OF GRACE
Today’s Mass, honouring the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mediatrix of all graces, was originally granted by Pope Benedict XV in 1921 in response to a request from Cardinal Mercier of Belgium. Cardinal Mercier was a close friend of Blessed Abbot Marmion. These two Masters of the spiritual life were of one mind and heart in recognizing and in celebrating the mission of the Blessed Virgin Mary to administer the graces won for us by the passion and death of her Son. The Office and Mass of Mary Mediatrix were extended by the Holy See to dioceses and communities the world over, making the feast practically universal.
The feast was originally celebrated on May 31st. In 1956, when Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of the Queenship of Mary on that same day, the feast of Mary Mediatrix was moved to May 8th in some places and to August 31st in others. In 1986 a complete Mass formulary, graced with a remarkable Preface, was prepared for the collection of Forty-Six Masses in honour of the Blessed Virgin.
Mary is the new Eve, the Mother of all the living. Standing at the foot of the Cross and filled in that hour with the Spirit of her Son, she said “Yes” to the unique participation in the work of redemption that, from the beginning, the Father had reserved for her. She continues to participate in that work by dispensing “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph 3:8) to all of us, the old Eve’s poor children exiled in this valley of tears.
The Mother of God herself offers us a commentary on today’s First Reading.
Saint Paul says, “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are” (1 Cor 1:27-28). The Blessed Virgin, seeing herself among the foolish, the weak, the low, the despised, and those who are not, sings that God “has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden . . . scattered the proud in the conceit of their hearts, put down the mighty from their thrones, exalted those of low degree, filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty” (cf. Lk 1:46, 51, 55).
The Gospel too sends us to Mary, the Mediatrix of All Graces. Mary is the one through whom all things are made fruitful. If you have received five talents, entrust them to Mary; if you have received two talents, entrust them to Mary; if you have received but one talent, place that talent in Mary’s hands.
If you would see the talents you have received fructify and abound, entrust them to Mary. Everything given to Mary, the ministra gratiae, the minister and dispenser of grace, is given back to us greatly multiplied. When we entrust Mary with something, it is not buried in a hole in the ground, it is placed in the immaculate hands of the wisest investor of all.
On the feast of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces in 1932, Mother Marie des Douleurs wrote: “Mary at the foot of the Cross merited all the graces that have blossomed and that will blossom in the Church until the end of time.” Anything given to Mary blossoms and bears abundant fruit, fruit that will abide (cf. Jn 15:8, 16). Anything withheld from Mary falls into sterility and ruin. Anything not entrusted to Mary risks being lost forever in that “outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 25:30). A wise monk once said to me, “Seek first the Mother of God, and all the rest will be given you besides.”
Give then everything to Mary, Mother and Mediatrix of Grace. Let not a day go by when you do not place everything in her hands. God is glorified when we turn with confidence to the Mother of His Son. Her motherly intercession for us is ceaseless because she stands in heaven at the side of Christ, our Eternal High Priest who “always lives to make intercession for us” (Heb 7:25). In every Holy Mass too, Mary is present. Anything you give to her she immediately makes over to her Son to be taken up in His Sacrifice and to be made fruitful by the dew of the Holy Spirit. Of all the investments you can make, the wisest is to give everything to Mary.