Tag: Devotion to Mary

Necessity Of The Blessed Virgin Mary And Of Devotion To Her

Necessity Of The Blessed Virgin Mary And Of Devotion To Her

Quotes from True Devotion to Mary.

• The world was unworthy, says St. Augustine, to receive the Son of God directly from the Father’s hands. He gave Him to Mary in order that the world might receive Him through her.

• 18. Just as Isaac of old was offered by Abraham’s consent to the will of God, it is she who nourished Him, supported Him, brought Him up and then sacrificed Him for us.

• 18. Christ gave more glory to God the Father by submission to His Mother during those thirty years than He would have given Him in converting the whole world by the working of the most stupendous miracles. Oh how highly we glorify God when, to please Him, we submit ourselves, to Mary, after the example of Jesus Christ, our sole Exemplar.

• 19. If we examine closely the rest of our Blessed Lord’s life, we shall see that it was His will to begin His miracles by Mary. He sanctified St. John in the womb of his mother, St. Elizabeth, but it was by Mary’s word. No sooner had she spoken than John was sanctified; and this was His first miracle of grace.

• 19. At the marriage of Cana He changed the water into wine, but it was at Mary’s humble prayer; and this was His first miracle of nature. He began and continued His miracles by Mary, and He will continue them to the end of ages by Mary.

• 20. God the Holy Ghost, being barren in God that is to say, not producing another Divine Person is become fruitful by Mary, whom He has espoused. It was with her, in her, and of her that He produced His Masterpiece, which is God made Man, and that He goes on producing daily, to the end of the world, the predestinate and the members of the Body of that adorable Head. This is the reason why He, the Holy Ghost, the more He finds Mary, His dear and inseparable spouse, in any soul, the more active and mighty He becomes in producing Jesus Christ in that soul and that soul in Jesus Christ.

MARY IS NECESSARY TO GOD IN THE SANCTIFICATION OF SOULS.

• 23. God the Father made an assemblage of all the waters and He named it the sea (mare). He made an assemblage of all His graces and he called it Mary (Maria). This great God has a most rich treasury in which He has laid up all that He has of beauty and splendor, of rarity and preciousness, including even His own Son: and this immense treasury is none other than Mary. Whom the saints have named the Treasure of the Lord, out of whose plenitude all men are made rich.

• 24. God the Son has communicated to His Mother all that He acquired by His life and His death, His finite merits and His admirable virtues; and He has made her the treasurer of all that His Father gave Him for His inheritance. It is by her that He applies His merits to His members, and that He communicates His virtues, and distributes His graces. She is His mysterious canal; she is His aqueduct, through which He makes His mercies flow gently and abundantly.

• 25. To Mary, His faithful spouse, God the Holy Ghost has communicated His unspeakable gifts; and He has chosen her to be the dispenser of all He possesses, in such wise that she distributes to whom she wills, as much as she wills, as she wills and when she wills, all His gifts and graces. The Holy Ghost gives no heavenly gift to men which He does not have pass through her virginal hands. Such has been the will of God, who has willed that we should have everything through Mary; so that she who, impoverished, humbled, and who hid herself even unto the abyss of nothingness by her profound humility her whole life long, should now be enriched and exalted and honored by the Most High. Such are the sentiments of the Church and the holy Fathers.

• 27. Mary, being altogether transformed into God by grace and by the glory which transforms all the saints into Him, asks nothing, wishes nothing, does nothing contrary to the eternal and immutable will of God. When we read then in the writings of Sts. Bernard, Bernadine, Bonaventure and others that in Heaven and on earth everything, even God Himself, is subject to the Blessed Virgin, they mean that the authority which God has been well pleased to give her is so great that it seems as if she had the same power as God; and that her prayers and petitions are so powerful with God that they always pass for commandments with His Majesty, who never resists the prayer of His dear Mother, because she is always humble and conformed to His will.

• If Moses, by the force of his prayer, stayed the anger of god against the Israelites in a manner so powerful that the Most High and infinitely  merciful Lord, being unable to resist him, told him to let Him alone that He might be angry with and punish that rebellious people, what must we not, with much greater reason, think of the prayer of the humble Mary, that worthy Mother of God, which is more powerful with Him Majesty that the prayers and intercessions of all the angels and saints both in Heaven and on earth?

• 28. In the Heavens Mary commands the angels and the blessed. As a recompense for her profound humility, God has empowered her and commissioned her to fill with saints the empty thrones from which the apostate angels fell by pride. The will of the Most High, who exalts the humble (LK. 1:52), is that Heaven, earth and Hell bend, with good will or bad will, to the commandments of the humble Mary, whom He has made sovereign of Heaven and earth, general of His armies, treasurer of His treasures, dispenser of His graces, worker of His greatest marvels, restorer of the human race, Mediatrix of men, the exterminator of the enemies of God, and the faithful companion of His grandeurs and triumphs.

• 30. He who has not Mary for his Mother has not God for his Father.

• 32. If Jesus Christ, the Head of men, is born in her, then the predestinate, who are the members of that Head, ought also to be born in her, by a necessary consequence. One and the same mother does not bring forth into the world the head without the members, or the members without the head; for this would be a monster of nature. So in like manner, in the order of grace, the head and the members are born of one and the same Mother.

• 33. St. Augustine, surpassing himself, and going beyond all I have said, affirms that all the predestinate, in order to be conformed to the image of the Son of God, are in this world hidden in the womb of the most holy Virgin, where they are guarded, nourished, brought up and made to grow by that good Mother until she has brought them forth to glory after death, which is properly the day of their birth, as the Church calls the death of the just. O mystery of grace, unknown to the reprobate, and but little known even to the predestinate!

• 35. When Mary has struck her roots in a soul, she produces there marvels of grace, which she alone can produce; because she alone is the fruitful Virgin who never has had, and never will have, her equal in purity and in fruitfulness.

• Mary has produced, together with the Holy Ghost, the greatest thing which has been or ever will be- a God-Man; and she will consequently produce the greatest saints that there will be in the end of time.

• 36. When the Holy Ghost, her Spouse, has found Mary in a soul, He flies there. He enters there in His fullness; He communicates Himself to that soul abundantly, and to the full extent to which it makes room for His spouse. Nay, one of the greatest reasons why the Holy Ghost does not do startling wonders in our souls is because He does not find there a sufficiently great union with His faithful and inseparable spouse.

 

CONSEQUENCES

I. Mary is Queen of All Hearts

• 37. We may evidently conclude so far, first of all that Mary has received from God a great domination over the souls of the elect.

• 38. Mary is Queen of Heaven and earth by grace, as Jesus is the King of them by nature and by conquest. Now, as the kingdom of Jesus Christ consists principally in the heart or the interior of man- according to the words, “The kingdom of God is with you” (LK. 17:21)- in like manner the kingdom of our Blessed Lady is principally in the interior of man; this is to say, his soul. And it is principally in souls that she is more glorified with her Son than in all visible creatures, and so we can call her, as the saints do the Queen of All Hearts.

II. Mary is Necessary to Men

1. Necessary to all men to attain salvation.

• 40. The learned and pious Jesuit, Suarez, the erudite and devout Justus Lipsius, doctor of Louvain, and many others have proved invincible, from the sentiments of the Fathers (among others, St. Augustine, St. Ephrem, deacon of Edessa, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Germanus of Constantinople, St. John Damascene, St. Anslem, St. Bernard, St. Bernadine, St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure), that devotion to our Blessed Lady is necessary to salvation, and that (even in the opinion of Oecolampadius and some other heretics) it is an infallible mark of reprobation to have no esteem and love for the holy Virgin; while on the other hand, it is an infallible mark of predestination to be entirely and truly devoted to her.

• 41. “To be devout to you, O holy Virgin,” says St. John Damascene, “is an arm of salvation which God gives to those whom He wishes to save.”

 

2. Still more necessary to those called to a special perfection.

• 43. If devotion to the most holy Virgin Mary is necessary to all men simply for working out their salvation, it is still more so for those who are called to any special perfection.

• 44. Jesus is everywhere and always the Fruit and the Son of Mary; and Mary is everywhere the veritable tree who bears the Fruit of life, and the true Mother who produces it.

• 46. The greatest saints, the souls richest in graces and virtues, shall be the most assiduous in praying to our Blessed Lady, and in having her always present as their perfect model for imitation and their powerful aid for help.

3. Especially necessary to the great saints of the latter times.
True Devotion to Mary.

7 Powerful Reasons Why Catholics Are Devoted to Mary

7 Powerful Reasons Why Catholics Are Devoted to Mary

Protestants often accuse Catholics of worshiping Mary.

This isn’t always the case. I know a great deal of Protestants who understand the devotion to Mary but for the most part there is still a lot of confusion in the non-Catholic world on this issue. I know Protestants who agree with most of the teachings of the Catholic faith but still have a hard time with Marian devotion.
I can understand the confusion about Mary’s role in the Catholic Church.

I mean, if Catholic’s say they don’t worship Mary then why are they always talking about her? Why do they pray the rosary so much? There’s nothing wrong with asking these questions. Even a Catholic who doesn’t understand the practice should seek the answers to these questions. There are very good reasons Catholics are so devoted to Mary. Here are seven.

#7 – Devotion Is Not Worship

A simple Google search for the word devotion produced the following definition – “love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person”. The synonyms provided include faithfulness, fidelity and commitment. I am married and I am devoted to my bride. I have often said that I am in love, faithful, or devoted to my wife. Never have I been accused of blasphemy or worshiping my wife for saying such a thing. Why is it the case that we are afraid to say we are devoted to Mary?

If being devoted to her just means that we really, really, love her then how does that get confused with worship? I spend a great deal of time with my bride. When I am at work I often catch myself thinking about her and wondering how her day is going. I will often send her a text message to remind her that I love her. God is not jealous that I am devoted to my wife, that I spend time with her, or that I love her. When I love her I am honoring God.

Mary is family to me. I listen to her, speak to her and spend time with her as a way to express my devotion, or love, to her and as a way to honor God. We give to God what belongs only to God – worship. However, we can be radically in love with another human and totally devoted to them without fear of worship. That’s because real love has no fear of abandoning God for another since true love must first be grounded in Love himself. Our love for Mary leads us closer to God.
How? Well, that leads to reason number six.

#6 – Mary Is the Ark of the New Covenant

This sounds like an odd reason, I know, but the Ark of the Covenant was an extremely important part of the faith of God’s people in the Old Testament. Therefore, if we can demonstrate that the Ark of the Old Covenant was a foreshadowing of Mary then it might be easier to understand her role in the faith.

God gave specific instructions on how to build the Ark starting in Exodus chapter 25, verse 10. The Ark held three things of great importance: the manna (miracle bread) from heaven, the staff of Aaron who was the high priest, and God’s word on stone tablets (Heb 9:4).

Likewise, Mary held in her womb three things: the true manna, the true high priest, and the Word of God. Jesus says, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” (John 6:51). He is the high priest (Hebrews 4:14) and he is the Word, not of stone, but the Word become flesh (John 1:14).

With this knowledge in mind take a look at Revelation chapters 11 and 12. The Ark, which was so important to the people of the Old Testament, had been lost for a very long time and here it was being revealed to John by God, “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant” (Rev 11:19).

Pay close attention to the verses that follow, “A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth” (Rev 12:1). “And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne” (Rev 12:5).

If you read this in your Bible at home you might be tempted to say “Hey, the ark appears at the end of chapter 11 and the verses concerning Mary are in the next chapter. The division of Scripture by chapter and verse was developed in the 13th century. Before that there was no division between Revelation 11:19 and 12:1. John was speaking of Mary when he referred to seeing the ark of the covenant.

Further study into the ark of the old covenant will give a greater view into the way Catholic’s view Mary’s role in the Church. I recommend reading a book titled “Hail, Holy Queen” by former Protestant minister, and now Catholic scholar, Scott Hahn. The book can be found on Amazon and local Catholic book stores.

There are other interesting parallels between the Ark of the Old Covenant and Mary (read more here). The point, though, is that the ark of the old covenant was treated with great reverence and respect. It was considered holy because of what it contained.

It wasn’t worshiped and it didn’t hinder the faith of God’s people. In fact, it enhanced their faith and was a means by which God blessed his people. In the same way, Mary is considered holy by God’s grace. She is not worshiped and devotion to her doesn’t hinder our faith. In fact, it can enhance our faith and be a means by which God blesses us.

#5 – Mary is the New Eve

“And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living” (Gen 3:20). Mary is often called the New Eve except she succeeds where the Old Eve failed. Bishop Irenaeus in AD 202, just over a century after Jesus’ death, wrote, “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. The knot of which the virgin Eve tied by her unbelief, the Virgin Mary opened by her belief”.

He also says “If the former [referring to Eve] disobeyed God, the latter [referring to Mary] was persuaded to obey God, so that the Virgin Mary became the advocate of the virgin Eve. And thus, as the human race fell into bondage to death by means of a virgin, so it is rescued by a virgin”.

I did not set out to provide a complete explanation of why Catholic’s believe Mary was born without sin. However, I would like to say that the first Eve was born without sin. Therefore, it’s not a stretch to believe that the Mother of Jesus, the one who was to usher in the Savior of the world, enjoyed the same gift as the person who ushered sin and death into the world.

If Mary was born without sin does that mean she didn’t need a savior? No. We believe she was saved in a different manner – before she was tainted by sin. Imagine Mary is walking through the woods when she steps on a bear trap. Jesus comes along and helps her get her foot out of the bear trap.

He saved her. In another scenario Mary is walking through the woods but right before she is about to step on the bear trap Jesus swoops in and stops her. Even though she wasn’t harmed by the bear trap she was still saved by Jesus.

She still need a Savior because she would have stepped on it had he not prevented her. Why would God save her in a different manner than the rest of humanity? I don’t know. Why did God choose Mary to be the mother of Jesus? He could have chosen anyone else in any time period but he chose Mary. My guess is that he chose her not because she was the most powerful, or vocal, but because she was the most humble and open to God’s will. That brings us to reason number four.

#4 – Mary Is the Prime Example of What It Means to be Human and to be a Saint

Pope John Paul II taught, in his lectures on the Theology of the Body, that woman, in the image of her body, shows all humanity the example of what it means to be human. More specifically, Mary is the example of what it means to be a follower of Christ. In this age we have so many powerful speakers, and leaders, and we can easily forget that the central message of the Gospel is to accept God’s proposal to marriage. Throughout the Bible we are constantly reminded that God is a husband and that Jesus is the bridegroom. Sometimes our biggest obstacle is to let God love us.

Being open to the will of God for us can be difficult because it requires an active passivity. In some cases when a man tries to open the door for a woman she might say “thanks, but I can do it myself”. We can sometimes feel that we need to prove our self sufficiency and show that we are not dependent on anyone. However, true humility requires that we recognize our complete dependence on God.

We can do nothing on our own. God’s grace is at work to keep us alive and in existence. Mary was the prime example because when the Angel Gabriel came to her and said “you will bear conceive and bear a son … and He will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:31-32) her response was one of being open to the will of God “I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

That’s what makes Mary so important?

Yes. What makes Mary most important is that when someone comes to her she tells them “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). That is our example – to point others to Jesus. That’s also why the apostles are so important to the Church. Their role was simply to bring others to Christ. Mary brought others to Christ by bringing Christ to the world. And she did it through obedience to God’s will.

#3 – Our Prayers to Mary Are Spoken in the Language of Love

If you’re simply wondering why Catholic’s pray to Mary, or to the Saints, read my article “Why Do Catholic’s Pray to Saints?”. Here I am going to address Marian devotionals and, more specifically, the rosary. Protestants often wonder why Catholic’s put such a heavy emphasis on the rosary.

Let me first say that the rosary is a meditation on the life of Jesus. It begins with the Apostles creed which many Protestants profess in their own churches, except the part that states “I believe … in the holy Catholic Church” (some Protestants do recite this part as referring to the ‘universal’ church).

Then it proceeds with the Our Father which is a prayer that Protestants often recite as well. The next prayer is the Hail Mary which is something many people have trouble with. However, the first part “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you” comes straight from Luke 1:28.

The next part is taken from Luke 1:42 “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus”. The last part of the Hail Mary prayer is simply asking Mary for to pray for us – “Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen”.

The completion of ten Hail Mary’s is called a decade. On each decade the person praying is meditating on a particular passage of the New Testament. Each decade is meant to help us think about the events of Jesus’ life for at least as long as it takes to pray ten Hail Mary’s. Catholic Answers has an article that goes into more detail on the rosary and can be found here.

If you can get past the Hail Mary you are still confronted with the last prayer of the rosary – the Hail Holy Queen.

“Hail holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.”

For those who have an aversion to any kind of Marian devotion these words can be like nails on a chalkboard. However, this is nothing but the language of love being spoken by one who is devoted to their loving mother. When we feel in love with another person we often start speaking like this. This is actually God’s design. The beauty of his creation and our communion with each other is meant to be a sign and symbol of God who is love and who is family.

For example, when I proposed to my wife I told her that she was the most important person in my life. I told her that she had changed my life and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. I told her she was my everything. Even now, I give her my sighs. I mourn to her and I offer her my tears because she comforts me (though rarely since I’m not really an emotional person). I don’t treat her as my God and she doesn’t try to take Christ’s place as comforter. She imitates Christ and shares in his ministry as comforter, healer and lover of my soul.

When I am feeling strongly in love with her my words are elevated and reach toward the Heavens. I have looked at my wife and told her “Oh my God, you are so beautiful”. I have looked at my children and told them “God, you all are so amazing”. I remember one day I realized that every time I praise my wife and children for their beauty I somehow end up bringing God into the praise.

Authentic and powerful love for our family orients us toward God even without us realizing. Likewise, I can look at Mary and say “My God, you are beautiful and amazing”. When I praise Mary I praise God. God is the designer so when we marvel in his work we are marveling in Him. When we learn how much Mary loves us, how she is the perfect mother to us, we start speaking words of great affection to her.

Consider the following quotes about Mary:

“[She is the] highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ. ..She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honor her enough. Still, honor and praise must be given to her in such a way as to injure neither Christ nor the Scriptures.”

“No woman is like you. You are more than Eve or Sarah, blessed above all nobility, wisdom, and sanctity.”

“One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God’s grace.. .Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ…Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God.”

“Whoever possesses a good (firm) faith, says the Hail Mary without danger! Whoever is weak in faith can utter no Hail Mary without danger to his salvation.”

Would you like to know who is responsible for all those praises of Mary?

Martin Luther.

Yes. The same Martin Luther credited for starting the Protestant reformation.

#2 – She Is Jesus’ Mother

Mary is Jesus’ mommy. She breast fed him, she cleaned his poop, she laughed and played with him, she tickled him and she kissed his tummy when it ached.

I’m not Jesus but I can tell you that if you respect and love my mother – I will go into battle alongside you. Conversely, if you disrespect or harm my mother – I will be going to battle against you.

Jesus is a better son than me. Imagine what he will do when you honor his mother with love and affection.

#1 – Jesus Gave Us Mary to be Our Mother

The simplest answer we can give for our devotion to Mary is that she is our mom too.
The last act of love Jesus performed before his death on the cross was to share his mother with us. “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home” (John 19:25-27). Throughout the Gospel of John, John refers to himself as the beloved disciple or the one whom Jesus loves (examples: John 13:23, 21:7).

This could be taken as a little odd and possibly arrogant of John but John, and God, is trying to tell us something. We are the ones whom Jesus loves. We are the beloved disciples. John is representative of all the beloved believers and that’s why in John 19:25 – “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved” – John didn’t refer to himself by name. He wanted us to know that Jesus was giving his mother to the beloved disciple. He chooses his words carefully to show us that Jesus was giving the gift of his mother to all of us.

I am not afraid to take her into my home. I am not embarrassed to say I love her. She is my mother.