It is impossible for you not to have mercy on sinners. Now that you are in heaven, where you no longer have to make any sacrifices for their salvation, you cannot look on quietly and see how all that you and your divine Son have endured remains without fruit, and how those souls perish on whose account your Son shed His blood and you became the Mother of Sorrows. To the end of the world you will never cease to have mercy on sinners and to intercede for their salvation.
MARY, if you confer upon us so many temporal blessings, you will surely be all the more anxious about our spiritual welfare. The sinner, were he even the outcast of the world, is never rejected by you, but you welcome him with motherly kindness and do not leave him till you have reconciled him to His Judge. As the devil goes about seeking whom he may devour, you go about seeking whom you may save.
As the Mother of Mercy, you are full of kindness and love, not only toward the just, but also toward sinners. Pray for the sinners of the world, especially for those farthest removed from God. Prepare them to receive divine graces. Stand between them and the just punishments of God. Plead for their sincere repentance that they may not be lost. Be their safe refuge and their hope for the sake of Jesus who died for them.
MARY, how well you know that mortal sin is the greatest offence against God. The infinite majesty of God is so great that all creatures in heaven and on earth are as nothing compared to Him. Teach me to understand that when I sin, I refuse obedience to God; I rebel against Him, even despise Him. I crucify Jesus anew by my sins, as the Apostle Paul reminds me, for by my sins I renew the cause for which my divine Savior suffered the death of the cross. Help me to understand more and more the malice of sin that I may hate it above all things and avoid it as the greatest possible evil. Let me rather die than commit a willful mortal sin.
REFUGE OF SINNERS, if I have the misfortune to fall into a grievous sin, let me have recourse to you at once. Obtain for me the grace of a sincere repentance and true contrition. With your help let me walk constantly in the way of penance so that as a penitent I may be saved.
O Almighty and merciful God, Who in the Blessed Virgin Mary have given sinners a refuge and a help, grant us, who are protected by her, the forgiveness of all our sins and the blessings of Your mercy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. (Feast of Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners, Aug. 13)
The illustration of this advocations of the Litany of Loreto included in the main text extols Mary’s role as advocate for spiritual and corporeal works of mercy and is of intricate composition. The cameo with mother and child is delimited by four anchors, symbols of hope, security, and stability. This central image is surrounded by five biblical scenes. Each one of them depicts in miniature size a situation of danger, temptation or fault with subsequent conversion and/or mercy:
In the lower half center, we see the rendering of Saint Peter’s vision of the large sheet filled with all animals of earth and sky (Acts 10:11-12). Peter will have to change his opinion about what is clean and unclean in order to comply with God’s will.
The miniature to the left of Peter portrays a safe harbor (Psalm 108:30). Those who went off to sea experienced distress, but God brought them to the harbor they longed for.
To the right of Peter’s vision is a town-like agglomeration of houses, churches and castles. They are a symbol of refuge for the needy, possibly reflecting 1 Maccabees 10:13,14 and the stronghold of Beth-zur.
The upper left miniature tells about the rescue of Nabal, the evil rich. His wife Abigail implores David to refrain from vengeance. David relents and praises her saying: “Blessed be your good judgment and yourself, who … have prevented me from shedding blood” (1 Samuel 25:33).
The fifth miniature, in the upper right corner, tells the story of Adonijah, who in an attempt to become king turned against David, his father. Abandoned by his followers, he “went and seized the horns of the altar” in search of refuge against Solomon’s vengeance. Solomon acted mercifully, and said to Adonijah: “Go to your home” (1 Kings 2:49ff).
The lemma reminds us that God loves all people (Psalm 87:4f.). It is Mary’s role to bring God’s love into the world, to be the intercessor for all, and to give hope and help to sinners.
Credits: text of the meditation was written by Fr Lovasik as Loreto Litany meditations and can be found on the Intermirifica webpage, whereas explanation of the picture of Our Lady Refuge of Sinners is after 'The Mary Page', relevant links on the sidebar in Rosary section of this blog.