January 01, 2011 Feast of Mary the Mother of God Fr. Mark Cherry
Today we honour the great Mother of God, Mary Most Holy. We have pondered and reflected on the wonder of the Incarnation, God made man in the person of Jesus Christ. Mary was the first to ponder the Incarnation after she received the archangel’s message and gave her “fiat” to becoming the mother of Incarnate Word. There is no one who other than her Son, Jesus Christ who more perfectly reflects the image of God than Mary and this is why St. Augustine referred to her as the “echo of God.” Mary only exists with reference to God. She is the echo of God who says nothing, repeats nothing other than God. If you say “Mary”, she says, “God.” Today I wish to speak about true devotion to Mary and why it is so important in our day and time. My comments will be taken primarily from St. Louis De Monfort’s famous work True Devotion to Mary.
The Blessed Virgin Mary is a necessary part of God’s plan for our salvation, a plan that is based on love, not fear. As a consequence of His will God chose Mary to be the Mother of His Son the God-man Jesus Christ. Mary chose to accept that honour and bring forth the Son of God in her womb and by extension all the members of the mystical Body of Christ. God chose to descend into the womb of Mary to live and grow and to come forth as a baby into the world that He came to save. He did not choose to come walking out of the desert as a grown man and announce the gospel to the world. He made Himself dependant on Mary and her co-operation with His plan. The advantage of this choice of God’s are immeasurable and Mary’s “yes” has brought forth abundant graces since the Incarnation until our day and will continue to do so until God’s plan of salvation is completed. The Father begets the Son, and the Father and the Son, breath forth the Holy Spirit in their mutual love for one another. But the Holy Spirit becomes fruitful in the womb of Mary producing the Incarnate Word. Not that He could not be fruitful by Himself for certainly He is God just as much as the Father and the Son. But it was in Mary that He chose to be fruitful. Not just in the Incarnation but in the sanctification of souls is Mary a necessary part of God’s plan. God chose to place at the disposal of Mary all the graces necessary for the salvation and sanctification of men. Is it any wonder since he entrusted to her the One who is the source of all graces. It is true God could have chosen to pour out His graces upon us directly but He did not. He chose the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the vessel by which grace and truth, our Lord Jesus Christ, came into the world and he chose Mary to be that vessel throughout salvation history.
No one can have God as his Father that does not have Mary as his mother. Just as in the natural order the father is the giver of life, so to in the spiritual order God the Father gives the life who is Jesus, and He did it through Mary who received that life in her womb. And so it is through Mary that the children of God are born. No one can come to the Father except through the Son and no one can come to the Son except through Mary. Again, it is not that God could have done this another way but He has chosen according to His Divine will to make Mary the treasurer; the dispenser of His graces. It is for this very reason that true devotion to Mary is essential if we are to receive the abundant graces that we need and God wishes to bestow upon us in our day and time.
So what time is it? On December 20th the eve of the last lunar eclipse of the year Pope Benedict made some stunning remarks in a talk that was largely ignored by the media. He compared our time to the time of the decline and collapse of the Roman Empire which he described by saying, “The disintegration of the key principles of law and the fundamental moral attitudes underpinning them burst open the dams which until that time had protected peaceful coexistence among peoples. The sun was setting over the entire world. Frequent natural disasters further increased this sense of insecurity. There was no power in sight that could put a stop to this decline. All the more insistent, then, was the invocation of the power of God: the plea that He might come and protect His people from all these threats”(Pope Benedict, address to Roman Curia, Dec. 20, 2010). Pope Benedict then went on to highlight the cause and certain outcome the current decline in our times: “For all its new hopes and possibilities, our world is at the time troubled by a sense that moral consensus is collapsing, consensus without which juridical and political structures cannot function. Consequently the forces mobilized for the defence of such structures seem doomed to failure”- Ibid. The Holy Father is saying our world with its current structures is in danger of collapsing because we have abandoned the foundation of a moral consensus based on the natural moral law. He went on to say, “This fundamental consensus derived from the Christian heritage is at risk…in reality, this makes reason blind to what is essential…the very future of the world is at stake” – Ibid. Pope Benedict sees the dire state of our world because we have abandoned the moral principles of natural moral law which are confirmed and brought forth with greater clarity by the Divine Law.
Given the dire state of affairs as described by the Holy Father where do we find hope, peace, joy, safe refuge and victory over the powers of evil that would try to dominate us? We find hope, peace, safe refuge and victory in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, through which we enter into the Sacred Heart of Jesus the source of all graces from God the Father. St. Louis De Monfort writes in the latter days, “the Most High and with His Holy Mother has to form for Himself great saints in sanctity as much as the cedars of Lebanon outgrow the little shrubs...”(pg.26). He states it was through Mary the salvation of the world was begun and it will be through Mary it must be consummated (pg. 28). St. Louis explains that Mary’s power over all the power of the devil shall shine forth in the latter times and that God will distribute to those who are solely devoted to her abundant graces and protection. Time does not permit me to elaborate on all the different ways that God will use those who have true devotion to Mary in our times but I will conclude by saying, it is God’s will that at this time in the history of salvation, that his Mother be made known and loved and that through those devoted to her many will be brought to know, love and adore her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Let me end today by giving you seven motivations for true devotion and love for our Blessed Mother.
1) Devotion to Mary is the surest, quickest, easiest and most perfect way to enter into deep intimate union with her Son Jesus who brings us to the Father.
2) Devotion to Mary will enable us to acquire the “grace of obedience” to do God’s will- to give our “yes” to God as she did.
3) Through Mary all the virtues that are found in her will be formed in us through her Spouse the Holy Spirit – humility, peace, hope, joy, trust, purity, chastity, patience, kindness, gentleness, long-suffering etc.
4) Devotion to Mary will keep us from mortal sin; she will give us the grace to resist the temptations we face each day from the world, the flesh and the devil. She will preserve us from the deception of the father of lies (heresies and false doctrine).
5) Mary as a good mother will bring healing to our lives in the areas we have been most deeply wounded
6) Mary will give us joy and the grace of perseverance in the midst of trials and sufferings.
7) Those who welcome His Spouse the Blessed Virgin Mary into their lives the Holy Spirit comes in His fullness, distributed grace upon grace and His gifts.I want to encourage all to considering reading St. Louis de Monfort’s book True Devotion to Mary and consider making the 33 day consecration to Our Lady. A good start date would be February 20th with the consecration being made on March 25th the Feast of the Annunciation. The details of how to make the consecration are contained in the book. As we enter 201, let us renew our devotion and love for Our Blessed Mother so we can live with the same “spirit of Mary” proclaiming, “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant…for He who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation.”