Queen of Heaven
By Blessed Henry Suso, OP
Salute to Mary
Heavenly Father, how should a sinful creature dare to approach You, unless You had given him Your own elected Child, Eternal Wisdom for a guide? Yes, Eternal Wisdom, how should a sinful creature dare at all times to discover his uncleanness before such purity, unless he took the Mother of All Compassion for his Protectress? Eternal Wisdom, if You are my Brother, You are also my Lord: if You are truly man, so are You also truly God, and a very severe Judge of all evil deeds.
For this reason, when our poor souls are in the narrow prison-house of fathomless sorrow of heart, and we can neither move here nor there, nothing remains for us except to lift up our miserable eyes to you, O chosen Queen of Heaven. Therefore, O Mirror reflecting the brightness of the Eternal Sun, O hidden Treasure of infinite compassion, this day do I and all penitent hearts salute you! O exalted spirit, O pure souls, stand forth, extol and praise, commend and exult in the ravishing Paradise of all delight, the sublime Queen! For I am not worthy to do so, unless in her goodness she deigns to allow me.
She Draws Us Near
O you chosen Friend of God, you fair golden Crown of Eternal Wisdom, permit me, a poor sinner, even me in my weakness, to speak to you a little in confidence. With a trembling heart, with a countenance of shame, with downcast eyes, my soul falls down before you. O Mother of all, it seems to me, neither my soul, nor any other sinful soul requires permission or a passport to come to you. Are you not the Mediatrix of all sinners? The more sinful a soul is, the more reasonable, it seems that it should have free access to you; the deeper it is in wickedness, the more reason it has to run to you. Therefore, my soul, step joyfully forth!
If your great crimes drive you away, her unfathomable goodness invites you to draw near. O, therefore, only Consolation of sinful hearts, only Refuge of guilty mortals, to whom so many a wet eye, so many a wounded, miserable heart is raised up, be a gracious Mediatrix and Channel of Reconciliation between me and the Eternal Wisdom.
Think, think, O gentle Queen elect! You derive all your merits from us poor sinners! What was it that made you God’s Mother, made you a treasure chest in which the Eternal Wisdom reposed? O Lady, it was the sins of us poor mortals! How could you be called a Mother of Grace and Compassion, except through our wretchedness, which has need of grace and compassion? Our poverty has made you rich, our crimes have ennobled you above all pure creatures. Oh, turn to us the eyes of your compassion, which your gentle heart never turned from a sinner, from a forlorn mortal!
Take me under your protection, for my consolation and confidence are in you. How many a guilty soul, after having bid farewell to God and all the Heavenly Host, by denying God and despairing of Him, and being lamentably separated from Him, has, by still clinging to you, been sweetly detained, till at length, through your intercession, it has again attained to grace. Who is the sinner, no matter how great his crimes, to whom your overflowing goodness has denied assistance?
Name of Mary
Lo, when my soul seriously reflects within itself, it seems only right, if it were possible, that while my eyes wept for joy, my heart should leap out of my mouth; so does your name dissolve in my mouth like honey from the comb. You are even called Mother, Queen of Compassion, yes, tender Mother, yes, gentle Mother of Compassion! Oh, what a name! Oh, how unfathomable is the being whose name is so rich in grace! Did ever the melody of song resound as soothingly in an agitated heart as your pure name in our penitent hearts? At this exalted name all heads endowed with reason ought to incline, all knees to bend.
How often have you not put to flight the hostile powers of wicked spirits, how often have you not allayed the angry justice of the severe Judge! How often have you not obtained from Him grace and consolation! Yes, poor sinful mortals that we are, what have we to say to this? How shall we ever acknowledge such great goodness? If all angelic tongues, all pure spirits and souls, if Heaven and earth, and all that is contained in them cannot properly praise her merits, her ravishing beauty, her graciousness and immeasurable dignity, alas! What shall we sinful hearts be able to do? Let us do our best, and express to her our acknowledgement, our thanks; for, indeed, her great kindness, does not look at the smallness of the gift, it looks at the purity of the intention.
Ah, sweet Queen, with what justice may not your sex rejoice in your sweet name; for cursed was the first Eve that she ate of the Tree of Knowledge; blessed be the second Eve that she brought us again the sweet Fruit of Heaven! Let no one lament over Paradise; one Paradise we lost, and have won two others. For is she not a Paradise in whom grew the Fruit of the living Tree? In whom all delight and joy are contained together? And is that not also a Paradise in Whom the dead again live, if they only taste His fruit from Whose hands, feet, and side the living fountains which irrigate all the earth flow, the fountains of inexhaustible mercy, fathomless wisdom, overflowing sweetness, ardent love, the fountains of Eternal Life? Truly, Lord, whoever tastes of this Fruit, whoever has drunk of this fountain, knows that these two gardens of Paradise far surpass the earthly Paradise.
O Queen elect, you are the gate of all grace, the door of compassion, that never yet was shut. Heaven and earth may pass away before you will permit anyone who earnestly seeks your assistance to depart from you without obtaining it. Behold, for this very reason you are the first object my soul sees when I awake, the last when I lie down to sleep. How should anything which your pure hands present before God and commend unto Him, how small soever in itself, be rejected? Take, oh take, the smallness of my works and present it, so that, in your hands it may appear something before the eyes of God Almighty. You are the pure vessel of red gold, melted down with graces, inlaid with precious emeralds and sapphires, and all virtues, whose single aspect, in the sight of the heavenly King, surpasses that of all other creatures.
O lovely divine Spouse elect, if King Ahasuerus was captivated by the beauty of Esther, if she was found pleasing in his eyes above all women, if she found favor above them all, so that he did for her whatever she desired, how justly may the King of Heaven be captivated by your spotless purity, your meek humility, by the sweetness of all your virtues and graces! How infinitely pleasing, above all mortals, in His eyes is your delicate and love-inspiring beauty, before which all other beauty fades like a glow-worm before the brightness of the sun. What overflowing grace have you not found before Him for yourself and for us mortals who are without grace! How should, how can, then, the Heavenly King deny you anything? Truly you may say, My Beloved is mine, and I am His. (Canticle of Canticles 2:16) You are God’s and God is yours, and you two have an eternal and unfathomable reciprocation of love which no duality can divide. Think of us poor needy ones, who continue to wander so wretchedly in sorrowful affliction. Yes, exalted Lady of Heaven and earth, arise now and be to us a Mediatrix, and an Obtainer of grace with your tender Child, the Eternal Wisdom.
Ah, Eternal Wisdom, will You deny me anything? Even as I present You before Your heavenly Father, so do I present Your pure, tender Mother before You. Look at he mild eyes which so often looked kindly on You; behold those fair cheeks which she so often affectionately pressed to Your infant face. Oh, look at her sweet mouth which used to kiss You so fondly and tenderly again and again. Look at her pure hands which so often ministered to You. O, Goodness above all goodness, how can You deny anything to her who nursed You so affectionately and carried You in her arms; who laid You to rest, wakened You, and tenderly reared You? O Lord, let me remind You of all the love You ever experienced from her in Your Childhood, when You sat in her motherly lap, and with Your playful eyes, laughed so pleasantly and tenderly in her face with that fathomless love You had for her above all other creatures! Think, too, of the heart-rending anguish which her maternal heart endured with You under the gibbet of Your miserable cross, where she saw You in the agony of death, and when her heart and soul so often died away in sorrow and distress with You. Lord, I entreat You, for her sake, to grant me every means of shaking off my sins, of acquiring Your grace, and never losing it again.