Tuesday, April 23, 2013

True Devotion to Mary Leads to One Result

There are many devotions to Mary, from the Rosary to Novenas to Scapulars. Marian apparitions include those recognized by the Church, such as Fatima, and those recognized by newspapers, such as the Virgin Mother's face in a bagel.  (I sincerely hope you don't put faith in the latter.)

A devotion is not worship. Worship is reserved for God alone. Mary is one of His creatures, though she tops even the angels in importance. She was the vessel who, through the Holy Spirit, carried Christ into the world. Devotion to Mary is best defined as love, loyalty and enthusiasm for a person. We are her devoted servants, because she is the Mother of God; the new Arc of the Covenant. We honor her for her incredible Fiat  to the Father.

How do we know if a Marian devotion is right?  We can tell by the fruits. All true devotions, whether Marian or to a particular saint, lead us to Jesus.  That's it. If it leads anywhere else, you're on the wrong track.

Mary's role in the Bible was always the same. She pointed us to her Son.

When she went to visit Elizabeth, John the Baptist jumped for joy in the older woman's womb--not because of Mary, but because she carried the Savior, Jesus Christ. And Mary's response wasn't to preen and say "Aren't I special? Look who got picked for this mission."  She immediately glorified the Lord. She demonstrated that we should give thanks to God for all things, and remain humble.

Then there is the Wedding at Cana. Did Mary spout off all sorts of advice on how to handle the major embarrassment of running out of wine? Did she become the Biblical Martha Stewart or Miss Manners? How to save face in front of your guests. No. She said, "Do what He tells you."  She pointed to her Son.

When Jesus the child remained behind in the temple without telling his mother, her entire effort to find him was a search for Christ that we all should imitate. And at the foot of the cross, her eyes were fixed firmly on the Savior, showing us again where our attention should be, even--or especially--in moments of great distress.

We honor Mary for showing us how to live in perfect conformity with God's will, and we try to imitate her ways.  The Mysteries of the Rosary focus on the events in Jesus' life. The Annunciation. The Nativity. Finding Jesus in the Temple. The Institution of the Eucharist. and The Ascension, to name a few.  We pray the Rosary, focusing on each event and how God speaks to us through that event, even today.

A Catholic is not required to believe in private revelations, even if they are approved by the Church.  I do think it's a good idea to look at the associated message.

Just remember that the only purpose should be to point us toward a relationship with Christ, because that is the Marian way.

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