A Petition to Mary (by St. Alphonsus Liguori)

To Deliver Us From Temptation

Mosaic of Mary, Queen of Heaven from a church in Rome, Italy. (Photo © Scott P. Richert)
Mosaic of Mary, Queen of Heaven from a church in Rome, Italy. The iconography is very traditionally Byzantine. (Photo © Scott P. Richert)

St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787), one of the 35 Doctors of the Church, wrote this beautiful prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in which we hear echoes of both the Hail Mary and the Hail Holy Queen. Just as our mothers were the first to teach us to love Christ, the Mother of God continues to present her Son to us, and to present us to Him.

A Petition to Mary (by St. Alphonsus Liguori)

Most holy Virgin Immaculate, my Mother Mary, to thee who art the Mother of my Lord, the queen of the universe, the advocate, the hope, the refuge of sinners, I who am the most miserable of all sinners, have recourse this day. I venerate thee, great queen, and I thank thee for the many graces thou has bestowed upon me even unto this day; in particular for having delivered me from the hell which I have so often deserved by my sins. I love thee, most dear Lady; and for the love I bear thee, I promise to serve thee willingly forever and to do what I can to make thee loved by others also. I place in thee all my hopes for salvation; accept me as thy servant and shelter me under thy mantle, thou who art the Mother of mercy. And since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the strength to overcome them until death. From thee I implore a true love for Jesus Christ. Through thee I hope to die a holy death. My dear Mother, by the love thou bearest to Almighty God, I pray thee to assist me always, but most of all at the last moment of my life. Forsake me not then, until thou shalt see me safe in heaven, there to bless thee and sing of thy mercies through all eternity. Such is my hope. Amen.

Definitions of Words Used in the Petition to Mary

  • Immaculate: free from sin
  • Thee: You (as the object of a preposition)
  • Art: are (second person singular present of be)
  • Advocate: a person who intercedes on behalf of someone else
  • Refuge: a shelter 
  • Recourse: to approach as a source of help, in this case through prayer
  • Venerate: to revere; to treat with great respect
  • Graces: the supernatural life of God within our souls
  • Thou: You (singular, as the subject of a sentence)\
  • Bestowed: presented; to have given something of great value
  • Unto: to
  • Salvation: deliverance from the consequences of sin, chief among them death of the body and eternal damnation of the soul
  • Thy: Your
  • Shelter: protect, shield
  • Mantle: a cloak, a covering
  • Temptations: trials
  • Obtain: to gain something; in this case, to gain something for us through intercession with God
  • Overcome: to rise above, defeat
  • Implore: ask or beg sincerely or desperately
  • Bearest: carry
  • Forsake: abandon, renounce
  • Shalt: shall (second person singular)
  • Bless: praise
  • Eternity: a state of timelessness, in this case the timelessness of Heaven, after this life