De Maria numquam satis.
Of Mary, never enough!
This famous saying of St. Bernard is fitting also for today’s saint, Anthony of Padua (or St. Anthony of Portugal, as they say in the country of his birth). St. Anthony, who also quoted the most eloquent St. Bernard quite often in his sermons, was an eloquent preacher himself – in fact, his tongue is incorrupt to this day as a super natural testament to his gift for preaching. Born on the feast of the Assumption, Anthony would go on to develop a deep devotion to the Mother of God. Today we begin a community retreat, and so we ask his intercession that these days may be fruitful and grace-filled.
Below is an excerpt from one of his Marian sermons, this one on the Annunciation. You can find the entire sermon here
, as well as many others. Note how St. Anthony refers to Our Lady as Mediatrix (we’ve talked a little bit about Our Lady as Mediatrix on our recent radio shows)!
There follows: And his glory shall be as the olive tree. This stands for peace and mercy.The blessed Virgin Mary, our mediatrix, re-established peace between God and the sinner; for which reason God says of her: I will set my bow in the clouds. The two principal colours of the rainbow are those of water and of fire. Water, which nourishes all things, represents fecundity; fire, whose flame no sword can injure, represents the inviolate virginity of Mary. This is the sign of the covenant of peace between God and the sinner. It is also the olive-tree of mercy. Therefore blessed Bernard says, “You have a sure access to God, O man, where you have the mother standing before the Son, and the Son before the Father. The mother shows her heart and breasts to her Son, and the Son displays his side and wounds to the Father. There will be no refusal where so many signs of charity come together.”
There follows: And his smell as that of Libanus. Libanus means ‘whitening’, and it represents the whiteness of blessed Mary’s innocent life, the fragrance of which spreads everywhere, breathing life to the dead, pardon to the despairing, grace to the penitent and glory to the just.
By her prayers and merits may the dew of the Holy Spirit refresh the fever of our minds, put away our sins, and infuse grace; that we may become fit to attain the glory of eternal and immortal life. May he grant this!