Tag: May Devotion

7 Reasons Catholics Are Devoted to Mary

7 Reasons 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.

There are other interesting parallels between the Ark of the Old Covenant and Mary. 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.

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.

Thanks for reading and remain blessed.

Honour to Mary and Joseph, Glory to Jesus. Amen

5 Reasons to Honor Mary This May

5 Reasons to Honor Mary This May

Retable_de_l'Agneau_mystique_(3)

It’s been a long-standing Catholic tradition to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary during the month of May. In most Catholic churches (and even in many Catholic homes), a “May Altar” is erected with a statue or picture of Mary, flowers, and perhaps candles. The altar stands from May 1-31 as a reminder of Mary’s importance in the life of the Church and in our own lives as well.

Additionally, many Catholic churches and families hold a “May Crowning,” presenting Mary with a crown made of blossoms or other hand-crafted materials to signify her queenship as the mother of Christ, the King. I’ve even seen some crowns made of glistening metal and synthetic jewels.

Why is the entire month of May given to the honoring of Mary?

The tradition dates all the way back to the ancient Greeks who dedicated the month of May to Artemis, the goddess of fecundity. Romans also claimed May to honor Flora, the goddess of bloom or blossoms. They celebrated “floral games” at the end of April and petitioned Flora’s intercession for all that blooms. In medieval times, a tradition arose of expelling winter at this time of year, since May 1 was considered the start of new growth.

It was during the Middle Ages (eleventh century) that the idea of giving the month of May to Mary began with an old tradition, the “Thirty-Day Devotion to Mary”, which was originally held August 15-September 14. During the month, special devotions to Mary were organized, and this custom, which began in Italy eventually spread elsewhere.

Although we don’t see Mary as a goddess of any sort – Catholics do not worship Mary, we honor, or venerate, her as Jesus’ mother – we’ve adapted the early Greek and Roman customs of honoring important women in their religions by honoring the most important woman in our religion: Mary.

Fine. That’s why Catholics in general honor Mary during Mary, but why should you honor her?

Here are five reasons why it makes sense for you to honor Mary this month.

1. Mary is Jesus’ mother. She is the instrument of the Incarnation and her yes, or fiat, made it possible for our Lord to become the God-Man who was Crucified for our salvation.

2. She is the first and most perfect disciple. Mary was the first to hear the Good News, and the first to follow Christ. Her entire life was devoted to him and assisting him, in whatever way she could, to carry on his mission. Unaffected by Original Sin, she was able to perfectly open herself to God’s will.

3. She’s your mom. No, really. She is. To put it simply, she’s our mother because we are all members of the Body of Christ. Since she gave birth to that Body, then she’s our mother, too. At the moment she gave her fiat, she became our mother in the order of grace. She may not have given birth to us physically, but she certainly has given birth to us spiritually. (Check out CCC #964)

4. She loves you more than you can ever imagine. If she didn’t, would she have endured the horror of seeing her Son tortured, scourged, crowned with thorns, carry the Cross to Calvary, and die a gruesome death on it? She did it for you, for all of us, because she understood that Jesus’ Passion and Crucifixion was the only way to your (our) salvation. She loves you like no human mother ever could.

5. Not only is she Mother, but she also is Advocate, Helper, Benefactress and Mediatrix (CCC #969). Her job, so to speak, began at the moment she conceived Jesus in her womb and continues until this day. What’s more, it will continue for all eternity. As the first and most perfect disciple, she is devoted to accompanying him and continuing her saving office by interceding for us so that we may receive the gifts of eternal salvation. She’s at work 24/7/365/forever, for whatever we need, whenever we need it.

For all these reasons and more, Mary deserves honor, not only during the month of May, but always.

What will you do for her this May?

9 Beautiful Activities to Celebrate the Month of Mary

9 Beautiful Activities to Celebrate the Month of Mary

Many things can be said about Catholics, but it can never be said that we don’t honor our Mother! In addition to the myriad feast days honoring Our Lady in her many titles and virtues, the entire month of May is especially given to her praise.

May, when the earth blooms in springtime beauty, is an ideal time for our thoughts and sentiments to be directed towards this supremely lovely Queen of Heaven and Earth, who busily labors from her heavenly throne to conquer hearts, minds, and souls for the greater glory of her Son.

In the words of Pope Paul VI, May is “a month which the piety of the faithful has long dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God.”

So, how can you honor the Blessed Virgin Mary in a special way this month, and allow her to conquer your own heart? Here are nine ideas.

1. FLOWER YOUR MARY STATUE

May crownings are one of the most popular ways to celebrate the month of Mary. Make a Crown of Flowers for your Mary Statue and/or adorn your indoor and outdoor Mary statues with fresh blooming flowers this month. Add a candle too for an extra touch. If you don’t have a Mary statue, now would be a good time to get one. Even if it’s just a small statue for your desk or nightstand, no Catholic should be without it!

Even if you live in a town home or apartment, you can have a Marian garden on your porch! This creative display is pretty and portable...you don't even need a yard to maintain it.

2. PRAY A NOVENA TO OUR LADY

Sometime during the month of May, pray a novena to the Blessed Mother for a particular intention that you want to entrust to her Immaculate Heart, for yourself or for someone else. If you don’t already have a favorite novena to Our Lady, try one of these three Novenas to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Novena Prayers

3. SPREAD DEVOTION TO THE ROSARY

Outside of the Mass, there is no prayer more pleasing to Our Lady and more efficacious for her intercession than the Holy Rosary. If you don’t already have the spiritual discipline, make an effort to pray the rosary daily.

If you already do this, consider encouraging others to do the same throughout this month. Get inspired by reading Our Lady’s 15 Promises to Those Who Pray Her Rosary and hand out rosaries with rosary instructionsto others as the opportunity arises. There are many graces to be gained for those who preach the power of the holy rosary!

knotted cord rosaries

4. LEARN ABOUT A NEW MARIAN DEVOTION

Our Lady is the Mother of the Universal Church. There are many ways she has affected Christians in various times and places during these nearly 2,000 years since she walked the earth. It is fascinating to read the stories behind each one, and many are associated with miracles, apparitions, saints, and holy images. Will one of them touch you in a special way?

This month consider researching and adopting a special devotion to Mary under one of her many titles (find a short list here). For example, Our Lady of Fatima (whose feast is May 13th), Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady Undoer of Knots, Our Lady of Guadalupe, or Our Lady of Perpetual Help. This could become an annual tradition for you and your family to learn about a new Marian devotion each May. There are more of them than years in your life!

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

5. SHARE THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL

When Our Lady appeared to St. Catherine Laboure and gave her the vision of the Miraculous Medal in 1830, she promised great graces to those who would wear the medal. It was called “Miraculous” by the faithful for good reason, as it became the means of conversion for even the most hardened of atheists to the truth of the Catholic faith. Consider buying a 25 pack of Miraculous Medals and have them blessed with this Blessing and Investiture of the Miraculous Medal, and distribute them as the Holy Spirit leads. Mary changes lives through the power of her sacramentals!

25 Pack of Miraculous Medals

6. MEMORIZE A MARIAN PRAYER OR HYMN

You may already know the Memorare and the Hail Holy Queen by heart, and this month you can add more Marian hymns and prayers into your mental index. These prayers and hymns become a great solace during trying moments and can be recited often.

You can memorize the beautiful Prayer of Praise to Our Lady composed by St. Ephraim, or learn to sing traditional Marian hymns such as the Regina Caeli and the Salve Regina (the Hail Holy Queen in Latin). The below video is an excellent guide to learning to sing the Salve Regina for those who didn’t grow up knowing it. It is an incredibly beautiful melody, and supernaturally consoling. Then you can sing this prayer after finishing your rosary instead of reciting it; and, as St. Augustine says, “He who sings prays twice.”

7. GET INVESTED IN THE SCAPULAR

If you haven’t been invested in the scapular, Mary’s month is a good time to do it. A scapular is basically a mini religious habit for the laity, an outward symbol of your consecration to the Blessed Mother, that you wear daily underneath your clothes.

The original and most common scapular is the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel which has special prayers and graces associated with it, namely the famous “Scapular Promise” that those who die wearing Our Lady’s scapular will not spend eternity in hell. Most scapulars come with the proper prayer for investment (or enrollment) that the priest prays for you while blessing the scapular; if not, you can find it at the link immediately above.

8. READ A BOOK ABOUT MARY

The best way to increase your devotion to the Blessed Mother is simply by reading more about her. There is no shortage of great Catholic books on Mary that unpack the mysteries of her life, virtues, and perfect union with her son, Jesus, and the treasures of grace this unfolds in the life of every Christian who turns to her in faith. Make a goal to read one this month.

Books on the Blessed Virgin Mary

9. PRAY THE LITTLE OFFICE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary is like the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours) in that it is comprised of prayers said at various hours throughout the day, but different in that they are all in praise of Our Lady.  Once upon a time in Church history the Little Office was the preferred way to pray the Hours for the laity.

HOW WILL YOU CELEBRATE THE MONTH OF MAY?

Pope Paul VI wrote a beautiful encyclical on the Month of May in which he describes how the faithful reserve this month to honor Mary in a special way:

For this is the month during which Christians, in their churches and their homes, offer the Virgin Mother more fervent and loving acts of homage and veneration; and it is the month in which a greater abundance of God’s merciful gifts comes down to us from our Mother’s throne.”Pope Paul VI goes on to say that May is an opportune time to let our petitions fly to Our Lady—especially for the needs of the Church and the whole human race—that most urgently require our Blessed Mother’s intercession.

What would you add to this list of ways to celebrate the Month of Mary?

May Devotion; 10 Ways to Celebrate Your Spiritual Mom

May Devotion; 10 Ways to Celebrate Your Spiritual Mom

October is the month of the most Holy Rosary; November, the month to pray for the faithful departed; June we immerse ourselves in the ocean of mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; July we praise and worship the Precious Blood of Jesus, the price of our salvation. May is the month of Mary.

Mary is the Daughter of God the Father, the Mother of God the Son and the Mystical Spouse of the Holy Spirit, the Queen of the angels, saints, of heaven and earth. And St. Louis de Montfort acclaims her as the Queen of all hearts and God’s masterpiece of creation.

The saints acclaim in powerful, inspired and often poetic terms the glories of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

What might be some ways that we can manifest our love and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her month; the month of Mary? Here are ten ideas.

1.    Consecration. The first gesture we should do every morning is prayer—a prayer of consecration to Jesus through the Immaculate heart of Mary.  Start off the day right through Mary!  Blessed Mother of Teresa moved by great love for Mary said: “Mary, give me your heart: so beautiful, so pure so immaculate; your Heart so full of love and humility that I May be able to receive Jesus in the Bread of Life and love Him as you love Him and serve Him in the distressing guise of the poor.”

2.    Angelus/Regina Caeli. Traditionally this prayer is prayed at noon, but it came be prayed at any y time. Why not pray it three times a day—at 9:00- a.m., 12 noon and 6:00 p.m. By doing this we will be sanctifying the morning hours, the afternoon hours, and the evening hours through the holy  and sweet presence of Mary.   These Marian prayers call to mind Mary’s key presence in the Mysteries of our salvation—The Incarnation, Passion, death and Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! The Cure of Ars, St. John Vianney reminds us of the constant presence and action of Mary in our lives: “Only after the Last Judgment will Mary get any rest; from now until then, she is too busy with her children.  To serve the Queen of Heaven is to reign there, and to live under her commands is more than to govern.”

3.    Consecrate the Home and Family to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Prepare for the consecration by a nine-day novena of Rosaries and prayers and culminate with the priest blessing the image as well as the home and family members. From this blessing and consecration God the Father will shower a deluge of blessings upon you and every member in your family.

4.    Consecration of the Self. Go through the formal process of consecration of your whole begin of Jesus through Mary.  You can choose various forms: Kolbe, or St. Louis de Montfort, or the modern one done by Father Michael Gaitely—”33 days to the morning glory”.  This consecration could change dramatically your whole life.  If you have already done it then you can renew the consecration every year and go deeper into the infinite reservoir of the love of God brought to us through the intercession of Mary! Mary has power over us in ways that go way beyond our wildest imagination. St. Louis de Montfort reminds us: “For God, having given power over his only-begotten and natural Son, also gave power over his adopted children—not only what concerns the body which would be of little account—but also in what concerns the soul.”

5.    Imitate Mary. If we truly love somebody, then we want to get to know them better, follow them more closely and finally to imitate their good qualities that we call virtues. St. Louis de Montfort in his classic “True Devotion to Mary”gives us a list of the ten principal virtues of Mary. Imitate them and you will be on the Highway to holiness! Here they are! Her deep humility, lively faith, blind obedience, unceasing prayer, constant self-denial, surpassing purity, ardent love, heroic patience, angelic kindness, and heavenly wisdom! (True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis de Montfort, # 108) St. Louis teaches us:  “The greatest saints, those richest in grace and virtue will be the most assiduous in praying to the most Blessed Virgin, looking up to her as the perfect model to imitate and as a powerful helper to assist them.”

6.    Temptations: Call on MaryOur life is a constant combat zone, until death!  We should not fight alone against the devil, the flesh and the world. Rather, in the heat of temptation, when all seems to be lost call upon the Holy Name of Mary; pray the Hail Mary!  If done, all the powers of hell will be vanquished. Mary is the “General in the army”. At her command the enemies—the evil spirits—take to flight, vanish, and are defeated!  St. Francis de Sales was tempted to despair and through the prayer to Mary, “Memorare” (attributed to St. Bernard) the temptation was conquered.   St. Anthony Mary Claret was tempted fiercely to give in to a temptation against purity. It was through his fervent prayers to Mary that the devil of impurity was expelled and young Anthony was given special graces to live chastity, to found a Religious Order, preach constantly and write many books that did immense good. As St. Bonaventure asserts: “Men do not fear a powerful hostile army as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary.”

7.    Mary and the Liturgical Year.Get to know the powerful presence of Mary in the Mystical Body of Christ which is the Church. Especially get to know Mary’s presence in the Liturgical Year—the Masses. The end purpose of Holy Mass is to praise and worship God the Father, through the offering of God the Son and through the power of the Holy Spirit. However Mary has a special place in the Liturgical Year. Mary is the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church and she is our Mother in the order of grace! Read and meditate attentively the Apostolic Letter of Pope Paul VI Marialis Cultus, which clearly explains the presence of Mary in the Liturgical calendar. This is a spiritual masterpiece. It is a must for your reading!

8.    Reading on Mary. For a well-formed and integral Mariology we should cultivate both doctrine and devotion.   Doctrine without devotion can be arid and dry. Whereas, devotion without doctrine can easily degenerate into mere sentimentalism!    Why not read the Apostolic Letter of Saint John Paul II “Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary”. This spiritual gem combines both solid catholic doctrine (Mariology) with a tender love and devotion to Mary.  The saintly Pope exhorts the entire world to contemplate the face of Jesus through the eyes and heart of Mary.”  Mary is the quickest, shortest, easiest and most efficacious path to Jesus.

9.    Marian Apostle. Become an ardent and fervent and passionate Apostle of Mary. One of the most famous modern Marian saints is Saint Maximilian Kolbe. His love for Mary could not be contained. One of the apostolic methods that Kolbe used was to spread devotion to the Immaculata by means of the Miraculous Medal (Medal of the Immaculate Conception). Any opportunity that would arise, St Maximilian would give, free of charge, the medal to the person. He called these “spiritual bullets”. Then he would explain the Marian, catechetical meaning of this explosive medal. The medal is called “Miraculous” for the simple reason that many miracles have been attributed to those who use it with great faith and love and trust in the intercession of Mary. Why not become a modern Marian apostle today, following in the footsteps of Kolbe? This great Marian saint asserted with conviction: “The Immaculate alone has from God the promise of victory over Satan. She seeks souls that will consecrate themselves entirely to her, that will become in her hands forceful instruments for the defeat of Satan and the spread of God’s kingdom.”

10. The Most Holy Rosary. In Fatima Our Lady appeared six times to the Shepherd children—Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco.  In each and every apparition Our Lady insisted upon the praying of the most Holy Rosary. Six times! St. John Paul II in his document on the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary insisted, pleaded, that the whole world pray the Holy Rosary for the salvation of the family and for world peace. The famous Rosary priest, Father Patrick Peyton put it concisely:  “The family that prays together stays together”… and “A world at prayer is a world at peace.”  Why not obey the new saint— Saint John Paul II? Why not obey the Mother of God, Our Lady of Fatima’s requests? If done the family will be saved and there will be peace that the human heart so longs for.