Monday, March 24, 2014

True Devotion to Mary

Mary is reading Isaiah 7.14. Lilies are for purity.
The Angel Gabriel greets her: "Hail, Full of Grace!"
The Holy Spirit, represented by a dove, overshadows Mary
like the ark, as she folds her hands in acceptance.

Tomorrow is a great Marian Feast: The Annunciation. On every Marian feast, people all over the world consecrate or reconsecrate themselves to the Virgin Mary by giving everything to Jesus through her according to the devotion preached by St. Louis de Montfort.

By "everything," even spiritual merits are included. It is an act of radical trust in the human woman born free from original sin, and made a "cooperater" with God in the economy of salvation. Of course, True Devotion does not end with Mary; the mother always directs us to her Son, and tells us, as at the Wedding at Cana, "Do whatever He says."

God did not have to include Mary in His plans for our salvation, but He did. She is so much more than a kind of "surrogate mother" that non-Catholics think of her as. She is working even now as the Mediatrix of grace, and Jesus gave her to us as our mother from the cross.

Heaven breaks through to a world ruined by sin.

33 Days to Morning Glory is a new book that takes you through the traditional month-long preparation for consecration. (Apparently, Amazon will allow me to loan it to a person, and you don't need a Kindle.) It is excellent, and examines Marian spirituality from the writings of different saints, such as St. Louis de Montfort, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Mother Teresa, John Paul II and others. There is also a workbook available, which I wish I had known about.

The classic book is St. Louis de Montfort's own True Devotion to Mary. It focuses more on prayers, while 33 Days is more expository. Neither one should be missed, but this is the original. It is only 99 cents, and is put out by Catholic Way Publishing. They specialize in cheap, well-formatted Kindle Catholic classics. (If you don't have a Kindle, most other kinds of devices have Kindle apps available.)

May 13 is the (optional) Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima. So the next opportunity to begin a retreat for consecration is on April 10.

3 comments:

  1. I am perennially appalled by the neglect of Mary that one encounters on the part of most Protestants - ranging from the simple lack of awareness of the majority who have never received any decent spiritual education, to something very like hostility - almost a sneering disdain, in the worst cases - on the part of many others who see her as a Catholic-invented rival to Jesus. I could undetstand hostility toward Catholicism in that circumstance, but the aggressive resentment one sees toward the Lord's - and our - Blessed Mother tips one off that the so-called "Bible Christian" just might often have fundamental "parental issues" that will remain unaddressed until he or she lets go of the bravado and enters into an honest contemplation of the vocation of parenthood in general and of motherhood in particular. Such contemplation could not but leave the Christian believer profoundly affected, humbled and open to a deeper appreciation of Mary's role in Salvation history.

    A good response to the "Bible Christian" who doesn't want to take Mary seriously is "The Bible says that all generations shall call her blessed. Have you called her 'blessed' lately"?

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  2. I think it was St. Louis de Montfort, but I'm not sure, who said, "If you do not have Mary as your mother, how can you claim to have Jesus as your brother?" Devotion to Mary is a sort of limus test for me. Let's just say I would have concerns for the salvation of someone who was hostile to the Mother of God, whether due to anti-Catholic bigotry or some other reason. But many go out of their way to insult her. Such people make satisfying, if bitter, bear snacks.

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  3. CLARIFICATION. The Bear does not advocate eating people who insult Mary. He was speaking metaphorically, as in "We must completely consume their ignorance by our loving example." The Bear's statements are often odd and disturbing, but if something sounds weird, be sure the Bear did not mean it in that way, and it is simply a matter of properly understanding the Bear's way of speaking.

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