40 Reasons to Serve Mary

According to Richard of St. Laurent (d. c. 1250), De laudibus beatae Mariae virginis libri xii, lib. 2, cap. 1:

1. Because the Son of God, whose every action is a lesson for Christians, honors and magnifies his mother, according to the commandment, Exodus 20:12: "Honor your father and mother."

2. Because the Holy Spirit commands that Mary be honored, Psalm 98:5: "Adore the footstool of his feet, because it is holy."

3. Because whatever reverence and honor is shown to the mother redounds wholly unto the son, and vice versa. Whence Ecclesiasticus 4:15: "Those who serve her serve the holy one," that is, Christ, who is the holy of holies.

4. Because through her and in her and out of her, the glory of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is increased. Whence Psalm 47:2: "Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, in his holy mountain."

5. Because through her and in her and with her and by her the world has, had and will have every good, that is, Christ, who is every good and the highest good and the one without whom there is no good, who alone is good, whence he says, Luke 18:19: "No one is good except God alone."

6. Because with Mary is found every good. Whence she says, Proverbs 8:35: "He who finds me, finds life and will receive salvation from the Lord."

7. Because she loves those who love her, nay, rather, she serves those who serve her. Whence she says, Proverbs 8:17: "I love those who love me."

8. Because it is the highest honor, the greatest glory and the greatest utility to serve Mary and to be one of her household (familia). For to serve her is to reign, just as Boethius says of the Lord.

9. Because drawing water with the bucket of humble and devout prayer from the fountain of life that is by God, rather that is God himself, she sprinkles her servants with great drops, especially if they have suitable vessels [to catch the water in].

10. Because she reconciles her servants and lovers most effectively with her angry Son: for she speaks peace to her people and over her saints [Psalm 84:9].

11. Because it is her benignity that no one should be frightened to come to her.

12. Because so great is her mercy that she drives no one away from her.

13. Because she builds up her servants with gifts and charisms that they might become a worthy habitation for her Son and the Holy Spirit. Proverbs 14:1: "The wise woman builds her house," that is, her household (familiam).

14. Because she adorns her servants with manifold virtues like many clothes, as represented by Dorcas, who clothed the poor [Acts 9:39].

15. Because she offers up the prayers and sacrifices of her servants, and especially those that are dedicated to her, in the sight of the divine majesty.

16. Because just as the Son is the mediator between God and man, so she is our mediator with the Son, that is, through her mediation the Son comes to us and by way of her as mediator we come to the Son.

17. Because she is our advocate with the Son, just as the Son is our advocate with the Father; rather, she brings our troubles and petitions to the Father and the Son.

18. Because she represents those invoking her humbly with sweet words before her angry Son, at which the Son is easily pacified.

19. Because for the salvation of her servants, she is able not only to supplicate her Son like the other saints, but also to command him with her maternal authority.

20. Because she is the tree of life for all those who lay hold of her [Proverbs 3:18] with particular love and service.

21. Because often those whom the justice of the Son condemns, the mercy of the mother sets free.

22. Because given that she is the treasury of the Lord and the treasurer of his graces, she enriches abundantly those serving her with spiritual gifts.

23. Because confessing the virgin birth leads to salvation, from which the blessing of God the Father follows.

24. Because she protects her servants most effectively from the threefold adversary, namely the world, the flesh and the devil, for whom she is terrible as the ordered ranks of the army [Song of Songs 6:3].

25. Because in Mary all those find refuge who fearing the justice of God are afraid to come to him.

26. Because she gives food to the hungry and drink to those who thirst. Whence it may be said of her just as of the Son: "Cast your thoughts on the Lady (Domina), and she will nourish you" [cf. Psalm 54:23].

27. Because given that she is the mother of wisdom who is the Son of God, she mercifully instructs her servants in the law of the Son. Whence it is said concerning her, Wisdom 7:27: "She constitutes friends of God and prophets," that is, the wise.

28. Because if her favor has been withdrawn from you on account of your sins, as swiftly as you will repent, it will be returned to you. Whence she says with the Son, Zacharias 1:3: "Return to me, and I shall return to you."

29. Because our salvation is in her hand, such that we Christians ought to say to her more truly than the Egyptians said to Joseph, Genesis 47:25: "Our salvation is in your hand."

30. Because by serving her are attained days of grace and glory. Whence she says to her servant, Proverbs 9:11: "For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life."

31. Because after the Son she is Lady (Domina) of all creatures: whence she is called Lady, and for that reason ought to be served like a Lady.

32. Because he who loves and honors the mother of the Lord, freely is able to ask mercy from the Father and the Son.

33. Because through the incarnation of the Word that was accomplished in her, the sinful soul is returned to the unity of the Church.

34. Because through Mary and Christ whom we have through Mary, whatever we lost through Adam and Eve is restored to us.

35. Because through her conception and giving birth the wonderful dignity and prerogative of human nature is increased, namely, because the Son of God about to redeem the world assumed not angelic nature, but rather human nature in her and through her.

36. Because wishing us to attain victory that we might win the crown, and knowing that he will not be crowned unless he competes legitimately, she arranges wars and temptations for her lovers, and permits them to be afflicted from time to time: but she gives success with temptation, so that they are able to bear up and aids them with virtue that they might achieve the crown: for she is the one who gives strength to the weary with her prayers, merits and examples.

37. Because those who serve her in the present will see her most glorious face in the future.

38. Because she rewards her servants with the glorious fruit of her womb, just as she is depicted in her images holding her Son, as if giving him to her servants, herself being the propagatrix operariorum.

39. Because she protects the souls of her servants going out of their bodies from the attack of the powers of the air, to whom she is terrible as the ordered ranks of an army, just as is often read in her miracles.

40. Because she will glorify in the future those serving and honoring her in the present. Whence she says with the Son, 1 Kings 2:30: "Whoever will have honored me, I will glorify him: who however contemns me will be cast down (ignobiles)."

--B. Alberti Magni...Opera omnia, ed. A. and E. Borgnet, vol. 36 (Paris: L. Vives, 1898), pp. 59-81, my translation.

4 comments:

  1. Hi, I am an MA medieval art history student trying to figure out when and where and why the star appears on Mary's shoulder and sometimes head. It is commonly called 'stella maris' but there does not seem to be anything written about it.
    I will soon start a review of paintings to see if there are special circumstances it is used, locations and when it begins or ends. Do you know anything about this from the texts? I would be forever grateful if you could give me a direction to research. Thanks, Marilyn G

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  2. Marilyn: You are right, the star probably refers to Mary's title as "stella maris." You might try looking at the history of the hymn, "Ave stella maris," which has been dated as early as the ninth century. There is a study of it in German by Heinrich Lausberg (Opladen, 1976), that would be a good place to start.

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  3. how are u? i just to thank you for the good work. keep it up.
    i am also into a blog as yours you might find time visiting it to comment on it and also to add and advice each other on how to go about it.
    thanks once again. my name is Morris am a twin and my twin name is Malachy. we are defenders of the catholic faith and an instrument to teach the world about the mother of christ the blessed virgin mary.
    do have a nice day and happy new year.

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  4. Fascinating! As an American of Portuguese Azorean descent, I have been drawn to learn more about the Azorean "Cult of Mary" that was so clear in my grandfather's life. I wonder what your thoughts are on that, and whether there is a distinct history leading to that particular vein of worship? You have some very interesting and well-thought out blogs. Highly informative, and sharply written are how I would characterize them. Thank you!

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