Refuge of Sinners

Why do we call Mary the \”refuge of sinners\”? It seems that she has this title because, as the most perfect of mothers, she is one any sinner can turn to, no matter how terrible the sins, and ask for her mercy and intercession with Our Lord. So many promises of salvation through the intercession of Mary have been revealed to the saints. For example, Mary is said to have told St. Dominic, Blessed Alan, and St. Louis de Montfort all that anyone devoted to the Rosary would be saved. 
This does not mean, however, that we should be presumptuous and just commit any kind of sin we choose, imagining that a few hurried Hail Marys and Our Fathers will save us from hell. Instead, we should pray the Rosary with the hope of salvation in mind, with the desire to overcome our sinful tendencies and amend our lives. As a counterpoint to this welcoming image of Mary, we might remember Michelangelo\’s \”Last Judgement\”, where an implacable Christ sends those on His left hand into hell while His mother turns away, unable to bear the sight of her children leaving the face of God forever.

Holy Mary our Mother, Refuge of Sinners, help us to amend our ways and turn back to our Lord Jesus Christ, your only Son. May we never imagine that our salvation is guaranteed, and help us to avoid judging others, for only God knows the heart. 

Our Lady of Fatima

On this, the memorial of Our Lady of Fatima, we can do no better than allow Pope St. John Paul II to speak for us:

\”In Fátima, as in Lourdes, the Blessed Virgin chose to give her message to children:  Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia. They received it so faithfully that they deserved not only to be recognized as credible witnesses of the apparitions, but also to become themselves an example of evangelical life.

Their holiness does not depend on the apparitions but on their fidelity and commitment in responding to the extraordinary gift they received from the Lord and from Mary most holy. After their encounter with the angel and with the beautiful Lady, they recited the Rosary many times a day, offering frequent penances for the end of the war and for the souls most in need of divine mercy, and they felt an intense desire to \”console\” the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The little shepherds also had to endure the great pressures of those who with force and terrible threats tried to make them deny everything and reveal the secrets they had received. But they encouraged one another, trusting in the Lord and in the help of \”that Lady\”, of whom Francisco said:  \”She is our friend\”. Because of their fidelity to God, they are a shining example to children and adults of how to comply in a simple and generous way with the transforming action of divine grace.

A message of conversion and hope has spread from Fátima throughout the world, a message which, in conformity with Christian revelation, is deeply rooted in history. It invites believers, on the basis of their lived experiences, to pray fervently for peace in the world and to do penance so that hearts may be opened to conversion. This is the true Gospel of Christ, which is presented anew to our generation particularly tried by events of the past. God\’s appeal to us through the Blessed Virgin still retains all its timeliness today.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us receive the light that comes from Fátima:  let us be guided by Mary. May her Immaculate Heart be our refuge and the way that leads us to Christ. May the blessed shepherd children intercede for the Church, so that she can continue courageously on her earthly pilgrimage and proclaim the Gospel of salvation with constant fidelity to all mankind!\”

General Audience of May 17, 2000