~The following text is an article on Marian devotion which was written by Fr. Jonas Shell who is a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Steubenville. The article was first published in The Steubenville Register in the summer of 2022, and is used with the permission of the author. ~SCF
What could be more Catholic than devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary? We pray the rosary, honor statues of Mary, sing songs about Mary, celebrate many Masses in her honor, and dedicate churches, towns, dioceses and nations under her name. She embodies Mother Church, as Mary exists to form Jesus Christ in the hearts of believers and draw lost souls to the love of her Son. She is our great hope insofar as the great gifts which God has poured out upon Mary and her response to those gifts give all of us hope that we too can respond to God with such generosity. She is the model of humility and obedience to God’s word. She is the model of one who ponders the things of God. She is a mere creature, yet she is highly favored by God. She is our life, our sweetness, and our hope, because through this mere creature, God became flesh and dwelt among us. Mary is our mother and we rejoice and are glad. Yet, it seems that we are sometimes ashamed as Catholics to proclaim our love for Mary. This may be because we do not know why we believe what we believe. Or maybe we don’t want to cause any undo trouble with our protestant neighbors, since our words and actions often seem blasphemous to them. Yet it is the farthest from blasphemy to have devotion to the Mother of Jesus Christ.
As it is the mark of a true Christian to have great devotion to Jesus, it is also the mark of a true Christian to have a great devotion to his earthly mother. Jesus was obedient to his Mother in his youth, and he entrusted her to his beloved disciple John near his death (Lk 2:51;Jn 19:27). We too must be obedient sons of Mary if we are to imitate Jesus Christ and we too are to take Mary into our homes, ourselves, if we are to be beloved disciples.
It is the mark of a true Christian to praise the mighty works of God. If we are truly to praise God for his mighty deeds, how can we not proclaim the glories of Mary for whom the Lord did great things (Lk. 1:49)? How can we not see that she is the tabernacle not made by human hands? The place where God chose to make his dwelling? The person through whom God chose to come into this world? The one given the title by the angel as “full of grace”? The mother Jesus chose for himself? When we praise the creature we also praise the creator. When we praise the gift, it is also praise to the One who gives.
It is the mark of a true Christian to live as sons in the Son. In his nature, the Word of God is the son of the Father. By grace and by adoption, we become sons of the Father when we are baptized into Christ Jesus. In his nature, Jesus, the Word made flesh, is the son of Mary. Would we not also, by grace and by adoption, become sons of Mary? “Behold your mother” (Jn. 19:27)
Jesus and Mary always go together. It is foolishness to speak of the Mother without speaking of the son, or to speak of the son without acknowledging the Mother. If we are moved by the fact that God sent His only-begotten son into the world, then we must also be moved by the Mother through whom He sent Him. If we are moved by the saving passion of Jesus Christ, then we must also be moved by the Mother whose heart was pierced at the foot of the cross (Lk. 2:33-35).
Never feel ashamed of having devotion to the Blessed Mother. In fact, you should cultivate it in your soul and promote it to others. If you need to understand Devotion to the Blessed Mother better, look into St. Louis de Montfort’s book called True Devotion to Mary. I leave you with some of his words explaining the reason for having devotion to her. He says in the first chapter: “With the whole Church I admit that Mary, being but a mere creature from the hands of the Most High, is, in comparison with His infinite Majesty, less than an atom; or rather is just nothing, for He alone is “He who is.” Consequently this great Lord, for ever independent and self-sufficient, never had, and has not now any absolute need of the most Blessed Virgin for carrying out His will and for manifesting His glory. He has but to will in order to do all things” (article 14).
“I say however that, considering things as they are, considering that God willed to begin and complete His greatest works by the most Blessed Virgin ever since he made her, we can believe that He will never change His plan in future ages, for He is God, and changes neither in His sentiments nor in His way of acting” (article 15).
Because of this God-logic that we have received through revelation we can repeat St. Louis’ opening phrase to the book, “It is through the most Blessed Virgin Mary that Jesus Christ came into the world, and it is through her that He must reign in the world” (article 1). I hope this article piques your interest in the Mother of Jesus and your Mother. Christians, love your Blessed Mother.
~by Fr. Jonas Shell, priest of the Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio.