Mary, Help of Christians
Children owe to their mothers not merely the gift of life, but the preservation of life. For children are helpless; they look to someone else, above all to their mother, for help and care.
When we salute Mary, then, as Help of Christians, we are expressing in other words that She is truly our Mother, and that we must, as Our Lord told us, "become as children to enter the kingdom of Heaven." The verdict of history is clear and undeniable. During Her sojourn on earth, Our Blessed Mother was instrumental in frequently helping others; this She has continued in Her capacity as Queen of Heaven.
1. Mary has been a help in time of public stress and calamity. During war, Mary has been on hand to bring victory to a just cause. The soldiers of Heraclius, the Emperor of Constantinople, who in the early seventh century utterly destroyed the Persian army which had raided Jerusalem and stolen the true Cross on which Christ had died, marched into battle singing hymns of praise to Our Lady. The Crusaders promoted devotion to Our Lord's Passion and to Mary's Sorrows.
The militant Catholics of Spain, under their fervent Catholic King and Queen, marched to victory under the banner of the Immaculate Queen of Heaven as they drove the satanic Mohammedans from the parts of their beloved country which they had enslaved (while ruthlessly massacring thousands of Christians and desecrating their churches). In our own century, hundreds of thousands of faithful Catholics forced the peaceful over-throw of Communist dictators in Brazil, Portugal, Austria, and Chile as they processed through the streets praying the holy Rosary. The most renowned manifestation of Mary's help came on October 7, 1571, when the Christian forces, led by Don Juan of Austria, annihilated the Moslem Turks who threatened to invade and to ravish all of Europe. Pope St. Pius V had ordered all of the Catholic Kingdoms to the fervent recitation of the Holy Rosary to beg Mary's aid and at the actual moment of the miraculous victory, He Himself, the Vicar of Christ, was praying to Her in His private chapel. In gratitude for this triumph, the saintly Pontiff instituted the Feast of the Holy Rosary and inserted the title "Help of Christians" into Our Lady's Litany.
Moreover, Mary has helped to preserve the Church from heresy in every age. "Thou alone, O Mary," the Church exultingly proclaims, "hast destroyed all heresies in the whole world." With Mary's name on their lips and her medal around their necks, Irish Catholics were martyred by the Anglicans, German Catholics were martyred by the Lutheran armies of Sweden, Chinese and Japanese Catholics were martyred by the Buddhists, the Catholics of Goa were martyred by the Hindus, Swiss Catholics were martyred by the followers of the Italian heretic Zwingli, Dutch Catholics were martyred by the Calvinists, the Catholics of Scotland were martyred by the Presbyterian followers of the satanic radical John Knox, American colonial Catholics were martyred by the Protestant evangelicals of New England, and the Catholics of France, Mexico, Portugal, and Latin America were martyred by the Freemasons. In our own times, millions of faithful Catholics devoted to Our Lady were martyred by the Communists in Vietnam, Cuba, Poland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Nicaragua, Korea, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Rumania, the Ukraine, Spain, Prussia, Armenia, Latvia, Estonia, Croatia, China, Angola, Africa, and Lithuania! Thousands more of Mary's devotees have been recently martyred in Lebanon and in the Moslem African, Arab, and Asian states, which do not tolerate Christianity.
Mary, Help of Christians! Pray for us!
Mary, Queen of Martyrs, inspire us with the zeal for our holy Catholic Faith of the Church Triumphant!
2. Mary is a help to each one of us individually. St. Paul looked upon our Savior's Passion and death as a personal gift to himself: "He loved me and delivered Himself to me. We should regard Mary's help in the same way. Her mother-love is directed not only to the universal Church, but in a special way to each of her children -- to me. Almost synonymous with her name are the titles with which we honor Her: Mother of Perpetual Help, Lady of Prompt Succor, Help of Christians, Mother! If the devotions performed in Her honor could speak -- the Hail Mary, the Rosary, the Hail Holy Queen, the Scapular, the Miraculous Medal, the Novena -- each one would tell a thousand and more stories of Her help to the human heart. The Shrines of Our Lady contain abundant proof of her unfailing assistance and the Christian heart is the favorite shrine of the Merciful and Loving Help of Christians.
Though all Christians can lay claim to Mary's love and aid, she is above all ready to assist those Catholics who bear about in their bodies the image of Her Crucified Son; those who have applied to their lives the Redeemer's words, "If anyone would be my disciple, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me."
Mary, Perpetual Help of Christians, be my perpetual help!
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