The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 109.

An opinion which comes to us thus supported demands at least our respect and attention. We may not lightly set aside that which has been taught by Saints and Doctors of the Church and by successive Vicars of Christ, and has been inserted in the very Liturgy. Lex orandi — lex credendi. We shall not then be surprised to find Dr. Hedley, a name ever to be held in honour by English Catholics, writing as follows:

" Whenever you pray to Jesus, Mary is very near. She is intended to be the enforcement of Jesus. . . . There is no doubt that all grace passes through her hands to come to us." 

When we come to examine the ground upon which this opinion rests, apart from the weight afforded it by authority, it will, I think, appear only congruous that, as we received the Author of grace, so we should receive grace itself, through Mary.

We know that this was actually the case in the Mystery of the Visitation. Our Lady visited Elisabeth. Her Divine Son lavished His graces on the favoured house of Zachary.

Zachary recovered the use of speech, Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost, the Baptist was sanctified within his Mother's womb — all when Mary spoke.

When Catholic ascetical writers, following the tradition handed down by St. Ephrem, have attributed the conversion of the Good Thief to our Lady's prayers, 1 Protestants have scoffed. Unless it had been written by the Evangelist, " And it came to pass that when Elisabeth heard the Salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost," we can imagine the chorus of hostile criticism that would have arisen had Catholics ventured to opine that these wondrous favours had been granted through Mary —when Mary spoke. But in this case at least, we know that it was so. No one who believes the Gospel can deny that our Lady was the chosen channel of grace to the Baptist before his birth, when he was filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb. " Whence is this unto me, that the Mother of my Lord should come unto me ? As soon as thy salutation sounded in mine ear, the babe leapt in my womb for joy."

Does it not appear probable that a pattern was then set by God which should be as a law in the Divine distribution of grace—that His graces should hereafter be bestowed upon man by the Incarnate Word, through His Mother's mediation ?

Some of the Fathers lay stress upon the fact that the Blessed Virgin remained three months in the house of Elisabeth.

1 " Adam when naked was beautiful. His thrifty wife furnished him with a garment wrought by her hands—to wit, a filthy garment, all defiled with the guilt of grievous sin. However, Paradise saw the first made man in his fallen state, and mourned the fall to which he himself had given cause. Mary sought out another garment for the penitent thief, fitted it on him, and, with the promise that then was added, raised him up to hopes of a better lot. Him, too, Paradise saw, with open arms embraced Him, and allotted to him the seat that was vacant through Adam's banishment."— De Paradisi Eden, Opp. Syr., vol. iii., p. 572.