Prayer to Mary, Our Mother1. There is a story told of a devout man who was wavering before the onslaught of temptation and was accustomed to kneel before a statue of Our Lady and say this simple prayer: "Show yourself a mother to me." When the same man had fallen into sin and, although full of remorse, had not succeeded in reforming, he went one day to Mary's altar and pitifully repeated his usual prayer. Immediately he heard a gentle voice replying: "Show that you are my son."
If we wish Our Lady to be a mother to us, we must also show her that we are her children. Earthly mothers are delighted to think that their offspring take after them. In the same way Mary wishes to see a reflection of her own sanctity in our thoughts, desires and actions. All this demands sacrifice, of course. It demands hard work, fervent prayer, and constant watchfulness over ourselves. If we do all that we can and never lose courage, God will not refuse us His help and our good Mother will not fail to intercede for us.
2. Even if we fall often into sin, we should never be discouraged. Although Mary is the Mother of all mankind, she is in a special fashion the merciful Mother of sinners. No matter how sinful a man may be, he will not be lost if he is sincerely devoted to Mary. We must not be deluded into imagining, however, that it is enough to pray to Our Lady in order to be saved, even if we continue to commit sin. St. Brigid tells us in her revelations that Mary is not the Mother of hardened sinners, but only of those sinners who desire to amend their lives and pray to her with this intention. (Rev., Bk. 4, C. 138) Jesus has told us, moreover, that “not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father in heaven shall enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 7:21) The same holds for those who are devoted to Our Lady. It is not sufficient to pray to her, but we must also imitate her and accompany our prayers with the resolution of improving.
Fervent prayer is certain to obtain Mary's intercession on our behalf. St. Alphonsus recommends in particular (a) the Hail Mary repeated three times every morning and every night with the invocation 'Mother most pure, pray for me'; (b) an invocation to Our Lady every time the clock strikes the hour; (c) the daily recitation of the Holy Rosary; (d) a visit to the altar of Our Lady every time we make our daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament; (e) and some acts of mortification on the vigils of principal feasts of Our Lady, followed by a fervent celebration of the feasts themselves. If we show our good dispositions in this manner, Mary will be our true Mother in life and in death.
3. O Mary, be my merciful and kind Mother always, but especially when you see me struggling against temptation and against the wiles of the devil. Grant that I may never fall and offend God again. I need you so much. Help me and save me. Amen.