We will consider Our Lady under the title of Help of Christians. Our Lady is indeed our help, but that does not mean we should expect immediate relief. We should not be surprised when Our Lady delays in coming to our aid.
At times, Our Lady begins a relationship with us by heeding our small requests right away, thus giving small expressions of her maternal affections. This support is very precious. However, there are other times when Our Lady takes time to assist us. She does this precisely to grant great graces, which she wants us to ask for persistently.
This granting of both immediate and delayed favors generally happens throughout the life of a person who is very devoted to Mary Most Holy. Inside a wreath of easily granted graces, she places some difficult favors to obtain. These graces usually involve spiritual favors, although they can also be material matters that, by their delay, affects a person’s spiritual life.
If there are some delays in the providence of Our Lady as Help of Christians, she will usually give us more later than if she heeded the request immediately. Indeed, this delay is partly because, if Our Lady answered all our requests immediately, the Earth would become a paradise, and suffering would disappear.
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Crosses and sufferings are some of the greatest graces that Our Lady gives us. She often delays heeding our requests as a means of providing us with the grace of suffering.
Moreover, she sometimes delays her aid to test our faith and develop our faith and confidence in her. Afterward, she obtains these requested graces for us in an outstanding way.
Thus, if we think it is taking too long to receive a grace, we should not consider it as a refusal from Our Lady but a promise. If we ask persistently, we will receive with extraordinary abundance.
We should ask Our Lady, Help of Christians, for aid since she is a generous distributor of graces. Just as she pities the souls in Purgatory and abbreviates their torments, we must ask her to deign to shorten these great delays and obtain what we want as long as it is good for our souls and spiritual life.
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In general, everyone’s spiritual life needs to receive some grace since we tend to get a little “stuck” for one reason or another. Some spiritual lives are entirely “stuck.”
Let us, then, ask Our Lady for the grace to get our spiritual lives “unstuck.”
A U.S. Secretary of State once commented on the underdevelopment in Latin American countries. He compared their development to an airplane: all it needs is to take off, and then it remains in the air on its own.
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Like the plane, some souls have all the impetus to take off and fly but need a push to get them off the ground. We must obtain the grace of taking off from our immobility. Let us ask Our Lady to give us this grace under her invocation as Help of Christians.
The preceding article is taken from an informal lecture Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira gave on May 21, 1964. It has been translated and adapted for publication without his revision. –Ed.