Our Lady of Mercy
The first and greatest patron saint for the Confraternity is our Blessed Mother Mary under the title of “Our Lady of Mercy.” This title of Our Lady goes back well into the Middle Ages, when the Mercedarian Order invoked her under this title.
Why invoke Our Lady under the title of Mercy? First of all, she is the first and greatest recipient of the Infinite Mercy of God in the mystery of her Immaculate Conception. At the moment of her conception, in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, God intervened by a special grace to preserve Mary from ever being touched and tainted by the Original Sin, the rebellion of our first parents. The passion and cross of our Lord Jesus was applied to Mary in an even greater way than it was applied to the rest of mankind. We receive the grace of Christ after being affected by Original Sin, but Mary received His grace to prevent her being tainted with that Original Sin.
Mary is also the “Mother of Mercy” because she is the mother of Jesus Christ, who is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity and the Incarnation of God’s Infinite Mercy. By her freely given consent, God came into our world, took our flesh and blood, our humanity with its weaknesses, in order to save us from sin and death. Mary played an essential role in the Incarnation, so she is the Mother of Mercy, always seeking to bring us closer to her Divine Son.
At the Cross, Mary stood there, “joining in her mother’s heart,” [Vatican II] with what her Son was doing for us upon the Cross. She joined Him at the Cross as you and I are called to join Him in the mystery of His Cross. Without the Cross, there is no salvation; we need to follow Mary’s example in joining with love with Jesus on the Cross.
Even now, in heaven, Mary is still the Lady, Mother and Queen of Mercy. We believe in the “communion of saints” [Apostles’ Creed]. This means that all who are in Christ Jesus are united as one in Him – those in heaven, the souls of the just being purified in purgatory, and those still in the battlefield here on earth are all united in Christ our Savior. The saints in heaven still care about us, and long for us to join them in the kingdom – and Mary, the Mother of the Lord and spiritual mother of all the members of His Body (the Church), is pre-eminent in her love for us and her intercession on our behalf.
If we are to be perfectly united to the Lord Jesus Christ, who better to accompany us on our journey than His Mother, the first and greatest of all of His disciples? We need to have a real love and devotion to Mary, “Our Lady of Mercy,” and ask that she bring us more speedily and safely to her Divine Son.