Plinio Corręa de Oliveira
The most precious grace in terms
of devotion to Our Lady
comes when She establishes with us a truly maternal relationship
Excerpts from Saint of the Day, Wednesday, 11/20/1963 (*)
It seems to me that this invocation (Mother of God) has a very important point: it is that since Our Lady is the Mother of God, by a series of consequences She also is, and especial so, the Mother of men, and therefore, our Mother.
I believe that the most precious grace that one can have in terms of devotion to Our Lady comes when She deigns to establish with each of us, through ineffable ties, a truly maternal relationship. This can take place in a thousand ways, but in general Our Lady shows to be our Mother especially when She saves us from some predicament in a way that becomes completely unforgettable. Or when She forgives us for some particularly unforgivable fault through one of those kindnesses that only mothers can have; She passes by, forgives us, and removes all rubbish much like Our Lord Jesus Christ would heal leprosy: nothing is left.
[Our fault was such that] nothing deserved to be forgiven, there were no mitigating circumstances, [we] deserved nothing but God’s wrath. But Our Lady, as Mother, with her sovereign power and that indulgence which mothers have, erases and eliminates all that with a smile, and the past is completely forgotten.
At times Our Lady gives such graces in a way that they remain marked by fire on a person for a lifetime; marked by a fire from heaven, not one from earth or even less so from hell. The soul is marked by fire with the belief that we can turn to Her a thousand times in utterly indefensible circumstances and She will always forgive us again because She has opened for us a door of mercy that no one will close.
“The Group lives off a credit of mercy opened by Our Lady”
I think, my dear friends – and if Fray Jerome approves this theology – I think that this is exactly what the Group lives off. It is a credit of mercy opened by Our Lady, but of a type of mercy as has seldom been seen; and since we do not deserve it and keep doing all kinds of things, She still has one more smile, one more pardon, and ‘fishes’ us back [from the abyss] once more. This reminds me of a passage in the Apocalypse that says: "Behold, I have given before thee a door opened, which no man can shut; because thou hast a little strength... (3:8).
I see in this an immensely legitimate application to the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. And I think that it is also very legitimate to apply this to the Sacred Heart of Mary and to Mary’s Maternal Heart towards us. So we should not speak about the Group and the special grace of the Group as a grace that we have merited. This is sheer nonsense, with an uppercase N. Although undeserved, it was given by Our Lady because She wanted to.
I know no truth more palpable and more worthy of our love and gratitude. For, to give you a very faint idea, we stand to Our Lady as Brazil stands to the United States: We pay our loans and then contract new loans of which the interests are compounded with our previous loan. We are completely stuck.
But Our Lady treats us very differently from the United States. So, whether or not we are happy with ourselves, if Our Lady gives us the grace at the end of this day or this week to have in the depths of our souls a feeling of special confidence (not because we have any reason to be happy with us but because we know how good She is), if She gives us this grace I have the impression that the day and the week will have been fully rewarding.
(*) The preceding article has been translated and adapted without the author’s revision.