In Sin, Affliction, Turn to Mary

This is the 12th article in a series on the Litany of Loreto. Every month, I will explain this popular prayer line by line, providing you with spiritual and theological insights.

View the previous article in this series.

By Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC

Refuge of Sinners, pray for us.
In families where the father is the principal disciplinarian, children tend to run to their mother for comfort when they get hurt or do something wrong. Mothers, after all, are typically more mild, gentle, and inviting than fathers. At the same time, a good mother does not oppose the discipline of a good father. However, a mother has the capacity to bring a certain comfort to a child that he or she cannot necessarily get from a father.

Of course, in the spiritual realm, the Blessed Virgin Mary plays this role of gentle comforter amid our sinfulness. No matter what we might've done, when we go to her, she will lead us to mercy.

Now, this does not mean that Jesus is not merciful. He's infinitely merciful, whereas Mary's virtues are finite. Nor does this mean that Mary is not just. She perfectly exemplifies the virtue of justice. But Jesus will one day be our Judge. Mary, on the other hand, does not have the power or authority to judge us. Therefore, going to her amid our sinfulness provides us with a unique sense of spiritual comfort.

After all, it's only natural that when we do something wrong, we don't necessarily want to seek comfort from the person whose law we broke. We would prefer to go to someone not directly involved in law enforcement!

This month, on Aug. 13, we ought to go to the Blessed Virgin Mary in a special way. Coincidentally, that's when we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners.

Comforter of the Afflicted, pray for us.
In the last section, we discussed how we can go to Mary for comfort after we do something sinful. But what if we're not the cause of our own suffering?

This title tells us that Mary is the perfect person to go to when something bad, through no fault of our own, happens to us. She knows what it's like to suffer from something unjust. She raised a perfect Son who never did one thing wrong. Still, He was crucified as though He were a criminal. All the while, she stuck by Christ until the very end. And she sticks by us, too.

When something bad happens to us, we instinctively look for protection from physical danger. In these cases, children especially would want protection from the strong arms of a father. Other times, when we're afflicted, we crave comfort from someone more sensitive to our emotional needs. In these cases, we might prefer to seek comfort from a mother. As a gentle caregiver, Mary feels our pain. But she does not let it overwhelm her. She uses her heavenly connections to get us the help we need.

Help of Christians, pray for us.
When we go to Mary, she doesn't only want to comfort us. She wants to help set things right. As the Queen of Heaven and the Mother of God, no one (except the Holy Trinity) has more power than she does. All we have to do is ask her.

And not just spiritually. She wants to help us in other areas of our lives, too. In fact, many times throughout history, she's intervened in important affairs that ended up changing the course of history. For example, at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, the Church fended off invasion from the more powerful Muslim Turks through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Under the leadership of Don Juan of Austria, every soldier in the Christian armada prayed the Rosary for victory, and despite the odds, Our Lady came through saving the western world from sure defeat. (To read more about how Our Lady intervened in this battle and other events in history, read my new book 10 Wonders of the Rosary!)

To order 10 Wonders of the Rosary, visit and search product code WOND. Or go to


You might also like...

On Feb. 8, we celebrate the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was born in Sudan, sold into slavery, and entered a convent after being freed. It is also the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking.

We celebrate the Baptism of the Lord on Jan. 8 this year. Jesus's Baptism stresses necessity of the Sacrament in removing original sin.

The perpetual profession of vows, also known as making perpetual or final vows, is the last step in joining a religious congregation. Two Marian brothers will take that “last step” on Sat., Aug. 13 with the Marians: Br. Jason Lewis, MIC, and Br. Ruben Veloz, MIC.