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NOTICE

 

First Edition

This work, the GLORIOUS OF MARY, was published in 1750, at Naples.  St. Alphonsus was then fifty-four years old.  His bodily health had become exhausted by austerities and excessive labor.  This made him believe that his end was approaching, as he himself declares in the dedication of his work, and did not permit him to suspect that he had yet to live nearly forty years in the service of God.  It is known that this indefatigable apostle made a vow never to lose a moment's time.  All the time that he did not employ in the exercise of the ministry he divided between prayer and study, hardly allowing his body the rest and the care that it absolutely required.  His zeal at the same time embraced all that might serve to promote the welfare of souls.  It is thus that during many years he amassed an ample supply of materials destined to form so many useful works, which it was his intention to publish in order to convert sinners, or enlighten and nourish the piety of the faithful, or to aid those that were charged with the duty of laboring in behalf of souls;—a twofold end that he always kept in view, and that he specially proposed to himself by publishing the Glories of Mary, as may be seen in the Introduction.

            There are books which, though not voluminous, are yet sufficient to render a name popular and immortal; and such undoubtedly is the book entitled the GLORIES OF MARY.  This work is not only a source of glory to its author, but it is much more—it is a great benefit that God bestows upon all.  Heartily welcomed by all those that love good books, and especially by souls that hunger and thirst after justice, or need consolation and encouragement, translated afterwards into all languages, printed and reprinted in every country of the world, the GLORIOUS OF MARY has up to the present time produced incalculable good, and what good should it not produce in the future?

            In the original, the GLORIES OF MARY is divided only into two parts, no doubt because it was printed at first in two volumes, the first of which contained the explanation of the Salve Regina, and the second all the rest.  In it, however, we find five Parts that are very distinct, and we follow this division in order to be better able to understand the whole work in all its details.

            Everything that our saint has written is, as it were, a summary of a Catholic tradition on the subject that he treats: it is not an individual author; it is, so to speak the Church herself that speaks to us by the voice of her prophets, her apostles, her pontiffs, her saints, her fathers, her doctors, of all nations and of all ages.  No other book appears to be more worthy of recommendation in this respect than the GLORIES OF MARY.  We should, however, be able to rely upon the authenticity of the quotations.  These we have carefully verified, and can vouch for their exactness.  We found that we had to make corrections in the texts of Scripture as well as in other parts of the work; but we have made them because we were convinced that the holy author himself would have made them or would have approved them.

            Cardinal Dechamps, in the preface of the little work that he has published in honor of the Blessed Virgin, entitled LA NOUVELLE EVE, "The New Eve," relates the following incident: "At a visit that we paid to a learned and pious friend, we found the GLORIES OF MARY among the books that covered his table.  He saw that I had noticed the work, and taking it in his hand, he said: "This is my spiritual thermometer, for when I am not faithful to grace, this book by the least of its pages enlightens me and sustains my confidence.  When I grow negligent and become lukewarm it hardly suits my taste; it is, so to speak too much for me.  Noticing this state of things, I enter into myself, and I recognize without difficulty that it is not the light that has diminished its brightness, but that it is the interior eye that is no longer able to bear its brilliancy.  I then strive to restore to this eye of the soul its purity and its power, and soon the thermometer rises; I wish to say that the soul rises and finds itself in unison with the dear GLORIES OF MARY.

            "We have taken care," adds Cardinal Dechamps, "not to draw from this isolated fact a general conclusion, as this would not be justifiable, since daily experience proves that the GLORIES OF MARY touches sinners and brings them back to God, as well as consoles the just, and animates them to perseverance.  Yet it is not less true that there is a certain state of the soul, unhappily too much known;—a state of languor and darkness, in which one feels the need of varying one's reading, and of being sweetly brought back to that kind of reading, which one has become almost unworthy of relishing."

            St. Alphonsus has himself unintentionally bestowed praise on his work, under most touching circumstances, as is related by Father Panzuti.  When the saint was almost a nonagenarian, the lay-brother who attended him was as usual making with him a spiritual reading.  One day he was quite enraptured with what was read to him, and his memory having failed him, he said at the end: "Brother, who is the author of that beautiful book?  Oh how well written it is! What sweetness!  Tell me who wrote it?"  The lay-brother reading the title of the book, answered, "The GLORIES OF MARY, by Alphonsus de Liguori."  At these words the holy man became quite confused, and remained silent.  His humility found itself, as it were, caught in a trap.

           There is no danger of erring if we say that those persons who are fond of reading books, such as those of our saint, and especially the GLORIES OF MARY, are in God's friendship or are on the point of attaining it; and if they persevere in such a disposition their salvation will be assured.  The GLORIES OF MARY is a book that contains a selection of fine pearls, skillfully set in a frame that enhances yet more their beauty and their value; it is a mosaic of precious stones, the sight of which attracts and delights the eye, elevates and purifies it, without ever fatiguing it, provided it is not yet injured; it is a cloud that illumines and protects, a water that refreshes and heals, a celestial manna that sustains our life in this arid and perilous desert, and aids us to reach safely the promised land, by giving as a foretaste of the goods with which it abounds,  Read a page of the GLORIES OF MARY, no matter which, and you will experience these effects.—Ed.     


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