Often, it brings instant comfort to say the prayer of St. Bernard to Our Lady, the Memorare:
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to your protection, implored your help, and sought your intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother, to you I come, before you I stand sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate! despise not my petitions, but, in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.
No doubt the comfort is associated with our devotion to Jesus’s mother, all we have known all our lives about how our own mothers have nourished and cared for us, and what our mothers have told us about all the goodness in us.
This prayer has a very curious ending. Rather than ask the Mother of God to intercede with her Son so that He will show us His mercy, we ask for her mercy. The Salve Regina prayer refers to Mary as the “mother of Mercy,” and it also refers to her mercy: “Turn thine eyes of mercy toward us.”
It was only recently your author here realized this, and realized that, indeed, we should beg Mary for her mercy for us. It was only recently that he realized the ultimate spiritual chutzpah of asking Mary for anything, asking her for any intercession with her Son for us, and of asking her to “pray for us sinners.”
Imagine being there when Simeon tells a young teenage Mary, holding the baby Jesus, that a sword will pierce her heart. It is our sins that forge that sword. It is our sins that, without any thought for her sorrow or suffering, thrust that sword into her heart.
Imagine standing in the crowd when the priests and hierarchy of the day incite the people to yell, “Crucify Him, crucify Him;” and we either stand there silent, or, seeing Mary on the fringe of the crowd, we join in and heartily shout for the crucifixion of her Son – and then it is our sins that do crucify Him.
Imagine being along the road, the Via Dolorosa, the way of sorrow, and seeing her meet with her Son as He carries His cross to Calvary, and as He staggers away from her under the weight of our sins, she turns to us and we refuse to help Him.
Imagine watching Mary at the foot of the Cross, her Son nailed above in tortured agony, each of His remaining breaths bringing Him closer to death. Try to think of ignoring Jesus as He dies, not asking God the Father to ease His Son’s pain, but focusing on ourselves, even then. After He has put us all in her care try to imagine asking Mary, at that moment, as her Son expires, “Pray for us sinners.”
What kind of woman, what kind of mother, would hear our prayer? What mother would not cry out at us, screaming,
You did this to my Son, my own Son, my baby boy, my child who lived within me. Look at Him. The whip that scourged Him is your sins. The thorns that crowned Him are your sins. Each of those nails was hardened by your sins. The spear tip that pierced Him is your sins. Your sins spilled His blood. Your sins killed Him!
Sinless and full of grace, she has accepted me and you, gifted to her by her Son as He died:
Mom, I am giving you now all my brothers and sisters. Do for them all you did for Me. Take them all with you, care for them and love them as you did Me, and then bring them all back home to Me.
And Mary, now our mother, says again to her Son the “Yes” she said to Gabriel. Now in her mercy, she says “Yes” for us, for all her children.