by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1877

"I am the mother of knowledge."--Eccl. xxiv, 24.

Life is a warfare, and none should be more sensible of this truth than the children of that holy and venerable Church whose character on earth is militant. Well did St. Paul realize our state; and, therefore, in his Second Epistle to Timothy, he admonished this disciple that he who striveth for the mastery is not crowned except he strive lawfully. That all the members of our ancient faith do not strive after this manner is, alas, but too certain; and who can say, dearly beloved in Christ Jesus, that the greater number ever at all begin this conflict with the world, the flesh and devil? And yet, as salvation for a long and endless eternity depends upon this combat and this victory, each zealous child of the Church should avail himself of every means within his reach to render the issue as certain as possible; for what is more just than that a combatant choose the keenest weapons for the fray, and protect himself with the strongest armor?

A child of the Church should, therefore, obey the loving call of that tender mother when she most earnestly entreats him to fly for refuge to Mary the Mother of God. That she does so is evident from the fact that in almost every instance the "Hail Mary" immediately follows the "Our Father." The very words, which are thus placed on our lips, manifest the confidence reposed by the Church in the ever-blessed Virgin. From this powerful protectress her children may expect assistance in all dangers of soul and body, for she teaches them to say: "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death."

There are innumerable other prayers which she says in the name of her children, and each one indicates her confidence in the patronage of Mary. There are also two special devotions through which she calls upon her children to take refuge with Mary, namely, the devotion of the Rosary and of the Scapular. It is the latter which today claims our attention, and I say to you: Children of Mary, be invested with the Scapular of Mount Carmel, and, moreover, wear it in the spirit of God; wear it as becomes worthy children of her who calls herself: "The Mother of knowledge."

How does she deserve this title? I shall today endeavor to establish her claims. O Mary, Protectress of the Church of God and her children, above all strengthen in our hearts the virtue of holy faith, that it may be and remain for us all a shield in that combat which will only end at death! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus for the greater glory of God.

"The just man lives by faith," as St. Paul assures us. How important, therefore, must it be to let this virtue take deep root in our hearts, that it may have a vigorous growth and bear abundant fruit; how anxious ought we to be that these fruits obtain their full maturity for the nourishment and refreshment of our souls.

The same Apostle also calls faith a shield. The life of the just man upon earth is, as we have already heard, a combat, and only he who lawfully strives will receive the crown of victory. As proof of this read the eleventh chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews. Beginning with Abel the just, he points to the combat and victory of the patriarchs and all the just of the preceding ages, to Gedeon, Sampson, Jephte, David, Samuel, and the prophets, and concludes with the words: "Who by faith subdued kingdoms, wrought justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, . . . . . put to flight the armies of foreigners . . . . . . They were stoned, they were cut asunder, they were tempted . . . . And all these being approved by the testimony of faith . . . . ."

The same and much more St. Paul could have asserted of the faithful under the New Law. What should we learn from this? That, as the same Apostle exhorts us, following "this cloud of witnesses," we should run to the fight proposed unto us, "looking on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of faith," which must illumine and strengthen the valiant contenders for the kingdom of God. To combat victoriously it is necessary to have an accurate knowledge of the battle-field, to know beforehand the number of the opposing forces, and to be acquainted with the manner of their attack. All this we see by the light of faith.

St. Paul says: "Looking on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of faith;" I say today: Looking at Mary, upon whom Christ Himself bestows the epithet "blessed" on account of her faith. And why? I answer: Because Mary, as Mother of the Author of our holy faith, with all its truths, gifts, advantages, and promises, is intimately and inseparably united with Him.

St. Paul calls faith, first, a shield in the conflict against the world, the flesh, and the devil. In olden times, the shield covered the warriors from head to foot. When will faith be to us such a protection in the combat for our salvation? When we not only confess the faith with our lips and in some of our actions, but are thoroughly instructed in matters of faith and able to furnish a correct explanation of what we believe. What a reliable shield in the conflict against temptation will our faith be to us if it be as firm and unhesitating as Mary's!

"Blessed art thou who hast believed." These were the words which the holy and venerable Elizabeth addressed to the young and tender Virgin, and in the same manner the entire Church calls out to her, saluting her as the seat of divine wisdom, as the tower of David, as the one who put to flight all heresis and enemies of holy faith. The whole life of the blessed Mother is a resplendent picture of active faith. All that she is before God and in the kingdom of God, she is simply and only in virtue of the truths, the gifts, the means, and promises of holy faith.

How important is it, therefore, that we, in the conflict against temptations, look on her, and think of what holy faith teaches us in regard to our existence, our eternal destiny, our Redemption through Christ, and our call to the Church! How essential is it that we reflect upon and make use of the means of salvation, which she distributes to us, and obey the call to dwell forever in the kingdom of the blessed, with which, through the grace of God, we have been favored.

Give me a Christian who is so entirely penetrated with the spirit of faith, that his thoughts run constantly thus: "I am an image of God; my destination is not this world, but eternity. I have no other problem to solve than the fulfillment of the holy will of God; and all that I do in this regard is meritorious for eternal life, for heaven, where, in communion with the angels and saints, united with God, I shall be and abide eternally." All the privileges which holy faith secures for us shine with most wonderful brightness over our pathway through life if we look upon Mary. She also was a child of man. God called her into existence that she might one day become His Mother, Queen of heaven and earth. Therefore, she entered the world pure, holy, immaculate; her precious soul unstained by the slightest breath of sin; and she lived only to fulfill the holy will of God.

"I am the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to Thy word." In this disposition Mary lived and suffered, and now, resplendent in glory, her place in heaven is by the side of Christ. If we glance at Mary, the Queen of Apostles, the Mother who heard the word of revelation from the lips of the Word incarnate, during nearly thirty years she spent in solitude at Nazareth, what a motive we find for appreciating the benefits of faith and deeming it a priceless blessing, which should call forth our ardent gratitude! Without any merit of our own, we have been made children of the holy, the infallible Church, a happiness which millions, both before and after Christ, have not enjoyed, and which will be unknown to millions in time to come.

But merely to be penetrated with a high appreciation of the truths of faith will not avail; we must live in accordance with its precepts. To prevent this conformity, and to induce us to transgress the law of God, is the constant aim of Satan. But let us look upon Mary, and we will have a most powerful motive to crush the serpent's head in the first moment of temptation, that we may not afflict the heart of the stainless Virgin and Mother, by yielding to sin. And oh, what shame will overwhelm that evil spirit! He will retire in dismay if we, in the moment of temptation, call upon that sure refuge, the invoking Mother.

But if Satan does not succeed in making us plunge into mortal sin, he puts forth every effort of his diabolical art to weaken the kingdom of God in our souls, that, leading a lukewarm and indifferent life, we may not strive after perfection, as every soul redeemed by Christ should do. To enkindle our fervor and to avoid the danger of a tepid life, the most efficacious means is a glance at Mary, the mirror of justice. What an incentive to zeal is the example of her humility, devotion, selfdenial, and fraternal charity!

How inviting and amiable the exercise of these, as of all the other virtues, appears in this most admirable Virgin! If we serve God in this manner, beloved in Christ, we may be well assured that hell, with all its powers, will be arrayed against us; our faith may be exposed to many most severe and painful trials; God Himself will, perhaps, visit us with afflictions the most trying. In every case let us look at Mary beneath the Cross, and sorrow will turn to the sweetest joy; a radiant light will shine upon our earthly griefs, for we will bear them for Christ's dear sake. The thought, that through sorrow Jesus entered into His joy, that through sufferings Mary and the blessed saints attained eternal bliss, will strengthen us, give us courage to fight, and render us invincible to the foe.

A true devotion to Mary will furnish us with a shield, most efficacious for our protection in the spiritual combat, which is her perfect readiness, if we have sinned, to assist us in obtaining forgiveness from God, and in once more being reconciled to Him. She is surely the Mother of mercy and the refuge of sinners, who assists us and prays for us, that we may not remain enemies to her Son, Whom she loves so well.

At the same time her hidden life with Christ in Nazareth, is a figure of the intimacy which we, children of the Holy Church, enjoy with Christ, the Conqueror of death and hell, Who abides with us in the most holy Sacrament, offers Himself for us, and even enters into our hearts. Oh, let us frequently avail ourselves of this happiness, and in such a manner that we may derive from it that benefit which Mary gained from the presence of Jesus at Nazareth.

Is our faith a perfect, an enlightened, a living one? Then will it provide us also with those other weapons to gain the victory, of which St. Paul speaks: "the girdle of truth"--faith teaches us with infallible certainty--"the breastplate of justice," "your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace," "and take unto you the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit." These weapons, beloved in Christ, will enable you to conquer, even if all the powers of hell be arrayed against you. Believe with a living faith, make good use of those unerring weapons, for never, never, will the Christian who clings to them be lost.

And when you look upon the Scapular, which you wear in honor of Mary, pray to that blessed Mother, that she may obtain for you the perfect plenitude and power of faith, that you may be firmly grounded in all its truths, and live in the observance of its holy precepts. Thus may faith, with its warnings, requirements, and promises, illumine your pathway through life, and may you give glorious testimony thereto by the possession of a heart free from sin, and richly endowed with virtue.

May the arrows of temptation fall powerless against this Scapular of faith, and drop as from an impenetrable shield, harmless, to the ground. And, above all, may you set out upon that awful journey to the other world, under the protection of the ever-blessed Mother of God, as a soul saved by her example and intercession, in the power of faith vivified by love and animated by hope.Amen.

"I am the mother of holy hope."--Eccl. xxiv, 24.

That which is particularly necessary to the warrior is courage; for a coward fights not, but ignominiously takes to flight, and is entirely overcome. Now, what augments and enlivens the courage of a warrior is, first, the possession of suitable weapons; and, secondly, what is of greater importance, the protection which he has reason to expect from the brave and experienced warriors engaged with him in the combat.

And this, beloved in Christ, is precisely what we children of the Church militant need to combat victoriously for God and the salvation of our immortal souls: unerring weapons and powerful protection. We also need courage; and this courage is supported and strengthened in us by the influence of holy hope. But that this hope may prove efficacious, and protect us like a shield in the battle, we must hasten to Mary, who calls herself the Mother of holy hope. And in truth she proves herself such to her faithful children.

The Church salutes Mary as "Star of the Sea;" for as, amid the threatenings of a storm upon the mighty deep, the sight of a star animates the courage of the navigators, quiets their fears, and revives their hopes to soon reach in safety the longed-for haven: So the thought of Mary acts upon us children of the Church, sailing through the storms of life, and steering towards the harbor of eternal bliss. Mary, the Mother of holy hope, the star which glitters so brightly amid the clouds of life, the star which shines to illumine our path to heaven, will be the subject of my theme today.

O Mary, kind Mother, to thy protection we fly! Invested with the holy Scapular, by which we proclaim ourselves to be thy children, we invoke thy aid. Show thyself a Mother, and from eternal death save all who come to thee! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, for the greater glory of God.

"We were saved by hope," so says St. Paul; and this assurance at least makes known to us how important it is to strengthen in ourselves this divine virtue if we wish strenuously to battle against the enemies of our souls' salvation. And the reason why St. Paul speaks with such high commendation of Christian hope is perfectly clear to every one who reflects upon the influence of this virtue upon our lives as children of God. For all salvation is referred to Christ, through Whom alone we are saved. Hence, for those souls who waited during four thousand years for the coming Redeemer, hope became the anchor which saved them from the shipwreck of sin.

Our hope, too, after His coming, is in Christ. It is the anchor on which the bark of the Church depends for safety amid the tempest of persecution; it is a motive power which every child of the Church must feed to give his faith an outward expression and to bear up against the tribulations of life. Hope gives light, strength, and perseverance even in earthly affairs. It is indispensable for success in life. It is especially necessary for the soldier on the battle-field when about to face a deadly foe. But, above all, in that terrible struggle in which we, as children of the militant Church, must engage from the cradle to the grave, holy hope inspires with indomitable energy and irresistible courage, and this for three reasons:

First, because the benefits which this divine virtue places before our eyes as the pledge of victory are so indescribably great and glorious.

Secondly, because it reminds us that the weapons which faith offers us, if earnestly used, procure for us a certain victory.

Thirdly, because it recalls to our minds God's promise of victory if we combat valiantly, and His solemn assurance of unfailing protection.

Listen to the promise of the Lord: "Because he has confided in Me, I will deliver him and glorify him illustriously." Thus He speaks by the mouth of the Psalmist: "Look about you and see if there be one on earth who put his trust in God and was deluded or forsaken." Thus the inspired wise man challenged God's people. And David gave vent to his unbounded confidence in God thus: "I have hoped in Thee, O Lord; I will never be confounded!" As this virtue, therefore, is of such importance, should we not exert every means to confirm ourselves therein?

Now, there is no means more effective than to hasten to Mary, whom the Church calls the Mother of holy hope, and unto whose care Christ, from the tree of the cross, committed the whole human race as her children, with the power and privilege to petition Him for their salvation, and to assist them in every necessity, spiritual and corporal. And with what readiness do we ever behold Mary fulfilling this maternal duty! Let us, then, confide in her, the pledge of our hope, for we may rest assured that whatever be the motives which inspire our hearts with confidence in friends who have, besides the power, also the wish and the determination to help us, we have more cause to salute Mary as our hope, and take refuge with her.

The first reason which encourages us to take refuge with a friend and entreat him to aid us is the conviction that he has the power to do it. What a motive to place unlimited confidence in Mary! Jesus, Who is almighty, is her Son, and, as a devoted Son, He wishes to honor His Mother and to give her joy. To Him had been given "all power in heaven and on earth," and He has communicated it to His Mother. To gratify her He performed the first miracle at Cana, in the presence of His disciples; and if Mary today asks Him in heaven, is there any favor He will not grant?

Jesus, the Author of grace, has appointed Mary to be the dispenser of grace. St. Gertrude once had a vision in which she beheld the throne of Jesus in heaven, and the throne of Mary, the heart of Jesus and the heart of Mary. She saw, besides, a stream flowing from the heart of Jesus into the heart of Mary, and from thence back into the heart of Jesus, and again into the heart of Mary, and from thence through heaven to earth, and into purgatory.

Beloved in Christ, what are we to understand from this consoling vision? I answer: Jesus merits--Mary dispenses. The father of the house earns, the mother distributes. Thus the order of grace is reflected in the order of nature, and the two are in perfect accord. Moreover, Mary is the Queen of Angels, the Queen of Saints. At Mary's behest all these ministering spirits are ready every moment to assist us.

The second motive which inspires us with confidence to ask for assistance, is a conviction that the one to whom we apply knows our wants, and being, perhaps, father, mother, brother, or friend, has the will to aid us. What a motive for us children of God to put our trust in Mary! She knows our wants, she is united to God, sees all in Him, and is the seat of divine wisdom. She will help us, because she is indeed all mercy, and loves us more tenderly than an earthly mother can ever love her child; for she perceives, with vision bright and clear, the value of the souls for whom Christ shed every drop of His blood.

Since, then, the Lord bestowed upon her so tender, kind, and merciful a heart, is it not most fitting that she, the Mother of the Redeemer, should aid these souls to gain eternal life? Besides, she gave the promise--she, the Queen of Apostles, promised her dying Son upon the cross to be our Mother, and to do all in her power to guide those souls who would fly to her protection, through the storms of life to a haven of rest.

The third motive which increases our confidence in asking assistance, is the assurance that the one to whom we apply has actually helped many others. Now, what is the testimony of experience on this point? We need only glance at the many shrines dedicated to Mary, where an innumerable multitude of her devoted children flock; where miraculous cures are of constant occurrence; where, from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, Mary assists her faithful clients.

And indeed, my dear Christians, we need only say the well-known prayer of St. Bernard to be strengthened in our confidence. "The ear hath never heard," this great saint and servant of Mary assures us almost one thousand years ago--"The ear hath never heard that he who ran to her for refuge was forsaken of God."

This bold assertion is confirmed by the experience of every devout child of Mary. Whosoever in his misery sought refuge in her maternal love, full of confidence in her power and goodness, has experienced her protection. She loves to aid us--the more as she knows how earnestly the Sacred Heart of Jesus desires us to have recourse to her, especially in our spiritual wants and all that tends to nourish divine love in our souls.

"Mother of mercy, Refuge of sinners." Thus does the Church salute Mary. And, by means of the Hail Mary, she repeats over and again through the lips of her members, "Pray for us poor sinners." And thus, from the little child whose lips can scarce form the words, to the venerable Pontiff who rules the destinies of the Church, all Christendom is calling, "Pray for us sinners!"

I have, however, one caution to add: Satan, who deems nothing too holy or sacred to be abused, makes use even of this confidence in Mary to work our ruin and destruction. There are souls who remain willfully in the state of sin, and suppose that if they only put their trust in Mary, and daily say some prayers in her honor, they have done all that is necessary to secure their salvation. This is particularly the case in regard to the Scapular. Many think that if even they live in mortal sin, provided they are only faithful in wearing the Scapular, Mary will never permit them to die in that state. This, however, is injustice. It is superstition. By that presumptuous thought such men sin grievously. What! to expect Mary to protect, and permit them to lead abandoned lives, and at the same time favor them with her maternal care! This would make of Mary not only a refuge of sinners, but their accomplice. God will punish them for this, and they will not even have the grace to die with the Scapular on. It will be taken from them in changing their clothes, as remarkable examples have shown. There are well attested instances of suicides who were found without scapulars, though they were known to have faithfully worn this sacred badge.

If the Scapular is to be for us a pledge of Mary's special protection during life and at the hour of death, and even in purgatory, then it is essential that we wear it as a remembrance--an admonition to strive, as true children of Mary, after perfection, and to follow her example. When this is the case--yes, then the Scapular will indeed prove for us a most effectual shield; will strengthen our confidence in Mary, as Mother of holy hope, as the consoling Star of our eternal salvation. Amen!

"I am the mother of fair love."--Eccl. xxiv, 24.

Even as the Church has her marks by which she is known to be the true Church of Christ, so likewise are found in the lives of her true children, marks by which they are distinguished from the infidel and the heretic. These marks are a reflection of the Church herself in the true Catholic life. Among these characteristic attributes of the true children of God is one which shines with especial splendor, and that is, their devotion, their confidence, their love towards Mary. That this trait is indeed characteristic of faithful and zealous Catholics, is proved by the very reproach and ridicule heaped upon them in consequence, by those who are not of "the household of the faith."

But this reproach becomes for us a source of consolation. The holy and venerable Simeon predicted it of the Blessed Virgin in the temple: "Through you, the hearts of the children of men shall be made manifest." Should we, therefore, shrink from a reproach which will, if patiently borne, gain us such treasures in heaven?

"From henceforth all generations shall call me blessed," so Mary herself assures us, with holy exultation in the "Magnificat." But, my dear Christians, as not every prayer, which is offered up to the Most High, is genuine and fervent, as the homage paid to God by the lips is often rendered void by a dissolute life, so the veneration which is professed for Mary becomes suspected and valueless, because not manifested in action. A person may wear, in her honor, the Scapular upon a heart, which crucifies her Son by mortal sin, and, therefore, deeply wounds her loving heart. This is not to wear it as a faithful child of the "Mother of fair love." What this attribute of Mary, as Mother of fair love requires of her clients, that they may wear her dress meritoriously, as a pledge of salvation, I shall explain today.

O Mary, replenish our hearts with the fire of that love which burns in your tender heart! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, for the greater glory of God!

As I said before, there is a prayer which mounts straight to the throne of the living God, and a prayer, which, coming only from the lips, and contradicted by dissoluteness of conduct, merits for him who pronounces it the reproach: "His prayer shall be turned to sin." So there is also a true veneration of Mary, and one which is only apparent. The first is manifested by him, who, by his life shows that he is really in earnest to please Mary; the second appears in the lukewarm, presumptuous Christian, who makes his exterior veneration of Mary a pretext for living with the greater wantonness in a continual state of sin, foolishly imagining that Mary will not forsake him, since he honors her occasionally with his lips.

And what is, indeed, the principal reason that our lives contradict the exterior and apparent devotion to Mary? The answer is suggested by my text: "I am the Mother of fair love." Yes, hence arises the contradiction. The heart, whose every throb is but a feeling of sin as it beats beneath the Scapular, is not filled with the beautiful, holy, and sanctifying love of Mary, but with the wicked, sinful, and disorderly love of creatures. Their enjoyment and possession is preferred by the sinner before God and his beatitudes. The sinner has no right to declare: "O my God, I love Thee with my whole heart, with my whole soul, with my whole mind, and with all my strength!"

Mary had every right to repeat this prayer, for she is the Mother of fair love. This expression, "Mother of fair love," tells us at the same time that not only Mary loved God in this manner, but that veneration to her, to be true, must at the same time fill our hearts with similar dispositions of love; must produce and prove within us this true and beautiful love of God. To understand this better, let us consider separately the different kinds of love which burn in the heart of Mary.

The first is the most perfect love to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. How far exalted is the love of Mary towards God, even above that of the angels themselves! Now which are the principal sources of the love of God? First, the knowledge of His infinite perfections; and, secondly, the appreciation of His benefits. Now, then, Mary is, as Holy Scripture testifies, the seat of divine Wisdom; she is the Queen of the Cherubim, those angels that are distinguished for their knowledge of God.

Who can imagine, then, with what unquenchable ardor the fire of Mary's love rises up to God? And what thanks does not Mary owe to the triune God! God the Father chose her from all eternity as His daughter; God the Son as His Mother; God the Holy Ghost as His spouse. What prerogatives are contained in this triple relationship of Mary! Privileges by far greater than any conferred upon the Angels or Saints, were imparted to her; no one can, on earth, even faintly realize their importance. We shall, no doubt, understand more about them in heaven. But St. Thomas of Aquin does not hesitate to assert that the excellence to which Mary was elevated by the most Holy Trinity, surpasses, and will ever exceed even the understanding of the angels, on account of the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. The extent of this mystery, in its fullness, is known to God alone. And radiant in this glorious dignity, Mary appears in her majesty as Queen of heaven and earth, so rich in the possession of the rarest endowments of nature and grace, that she may be compared to the ocean, into which all rivers flow; for it was the dearest joy of her divine Son to pour into her immaculate heart the most royal gifts. Oh, how inflamed with love for God was, and is, this virginal heart!

And in our own regard, how can we think of this pre-election of Mary, without congratulating ourselves upon having a right to call her our Mother? And even if God has not elected us to such an eminent degree of glory as He bestowed upon her, He, notwithstanding, created us according to His image, and chose us, therefore, to enjoy, at some future day, in heaven, the most perfect bliss, as the faithful children of Mary.

The second stream of love which, uniting with the first, has its source in that immaculate heart, is her love towards Christ as man. She certainly is His Mother, and in a greater degree than any other mother, for she is a virgin Mother, and the Son of God took His human nature from her alone. "Thou art all mine," might well be her joyous thought, when she pressed the Infant Jesus to her maternal breast, and nursed the Lord of heaven and earth. And, surely, if God fills the heart of every mother with such affection for her child, particularly if she has long desired to be blessed with one, and still more, if she sees it grow up highly gifted, most amiable, and beholds in it a pledge of her dignity and happiness on earth, who can imagine what the heart of Mary felt for Jesus? And this fire of love towards Him increased every day of the thirty years during which she dwelt with Him under one roof at Nazareth.

Suppose a man were, during thirty years, to pour oil into a fire, what a vast conflagration would result! The whole earth would be one immense sea of flames. What this oil would be to the fire, that, during thirty years, Jesus was for Mary's love. His appearance, each holy word which fell from His divine lips, His every act in the house of Nazareth, increased her love for Him. But when Jesus went forth upon His apostolic mission, then His incomparable preaching, even like that oil upon the fire, enkindled the love of her heart to still greater ardor, as did also the sight of the miracles which He performed, commencing with the first which He wrought in Cana, at her own request. At last she stood beneath the cross, as Eve of the New Testament, and heard Jesus make her the dispenser of His infinite merits in the kingdom of that Church which arose from the wound of His Sacred Heart on the cross.

What ardent gratitude glowed in the heart of Mary for all the favors granted to her; gratitude and maternal love strive for the mastery in her--our Mother. In contemplating her, our own hearts can not remain unmoved. How could we look at Mary, the dolorous Mother, who made such a sacrifice for us--how hear in spirit the words of Christ from the cross: "Behold thy Mother!"--and not feel an increase of love toward Jesus for this inestimable gift, which He gave us from the cross? How could we reflect, that almost in the agony of death the Saviour remembered us, and not increase in love from day to day?

The whole appearance of Mary, whether we see her holding the divine Infant in her arms, or standing at the foot of the cross, is so beautiful, so holy, that we instantly perceive the value of our Redemption, and recognize what a joy it is for us to be children of that Church in which Jesus deposited the word of revelation, and which He enriched with every means of salvation, besides placing it under the special patronage of that blessed Mother.

The love which burns in the heart of Mary, in fine, is a well-ordered, ardent, self-sacrificing, magnanimous, and faithful love towards all the children of men, whom the Lord transmitted to her from the cross. Besides Christ, no one knows the value of souls so well as Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer; she saw all what her divine Son Himself did for them. How mightily, therefore, did the love of Mary increase for Him, as well as for every child of man; how tenderly she thought of every one of those weary steps of this divine Son, Who offered for them His whole life, His passion and death.

And in regard to the fraternal charity which we should cultivate in our hearts, what a motive to love our neighbor as ourselves may be found in the wish to please Mary, even if it were not a precept which God has given to us! For, how much will the heart of a mother be pleased and consoled, when we assist a child of hers who is in need and great danger! The mother will regard our efforts and kind offices as if they were conferred upon herself; nay, her joy and thankfulness would be even more intense than if she herself had received them.

Such is the influence of the devotion to Mary, if we look at her as the Mother of fair love. But, alas! too often the heart is full of that disordered love which afflicts her mother's heart with the deepest wounds.

What a gain for the soul, if the holy Scapular reminds us daily of Mary, the Mother of fair love, in the manner I have today endeavored to describe! Oh, may it do so; may it cause the love of God, the love of Jesus, the love of Mary, and the active, holy love of our neighbor daily to increase in our hearts. Then the Scapular will, indeed, become a coat of mail, and a shield in our combat against temptation to ill-ordered, impure, and unholy love; and it will make us faithful and unwavering in good, according to the assurance of St. Paul: "For love is strong as death, and should a man give all his substance, he shall despise it as nothing."

Therefore, ye faithful children of the Catholic Church, be invested with the Scapular of Mount Carmel, whose use the Church has approved centuries ago, and for whose feast she has composed a special office. If rightly used it will increase the flame of love in our hearts, and we shall be permitted to apply, what St. Paul says of our love for Christ, to true devotion to His blessed Mother: "Then in all things we will conquer through her--through our love towards Mary." Amen!