Now just before we begin October, the month of the holy Rosary, I would like us to carefully consider the little or no reverence accorded to the Holy Mother of God, Our Lady.
Perhaps there has never been any human figure in Christianity apart from Christ, Our Blessed Lord who has been despised, hated, and marginalised than Our Mother Mary.
For any Catholic who truly professes the one true faith, there is absolutely no reason to stir in that person a form of scepticism towards true devotion to Our Blessed Mother. But for some malformed Catholics who have not been informed properly and of course the huge number of Protestants who completely reject wholly or partially devotion to Our Lady, a form of true devotion to her becomes a headache and severely problematic!
But let us honestly ponder.
Why is there so much hatred and an apathetic posture towards devotion to the Mother of God, one of the simplest doctrines of the Church and intrinsic to Christian worship? There are numerous reasons but I have tried to classify them in just two points. Both clearly express the work of the evil one which are expounded on:
1. There are a number of false devotions to Our Blessed Mother. This is purely of the diabolic who delights in creating and spreading heresy and division.
St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Doctor of the Church, assists us in understanding this long standing crisis. In True Devotion to Mary, he unequivocally spells out several kinds of devotion to Mary. And there are basically seven of them. And just to quote, he observes in paragraph 92.:
There are, I find, seven kinds of false devotion to Mary, namely, the devotion of (1) the critical, (2) the scrupulous, (3) the superficial, (4) the presumptuous, (5) the inconstant, (6) the hypocritical, (7) the self-interested.
A quick sum up of these false devotions are thus:
The Critical devotees are those who have a vague form of devotion to Mary and always find it problematic when they see physical acts of devotion to Mary expressed from an inner disposition. They cringe when they hear miracles of Our Lady, or her apparitions.
The Scrupulous devotees fear that by singing praises to Mary or asking for her intercessions, they are slighting Christ. They are so cautious not to exalt Mary for fear of belittling Christ. When you tell them how the Early Fathers praised her they claim that it is purely exaggerated. So in pretending to correct abuses, they discourage people from this devotion.
The Superficial devotees delight in exterior practices to Our Lady in joining rosary processions and confraternities but have no interior devotion to Mary. Their devotion is one of a mere show.
The Presumptuous devotees are those who hang on their prayers, spiritual practices of devotion to Mary as wholly sufficient for them to safeguard heaven while still remaining in sinful situations. They abuse the mercy of God and Our Lady’s intercession, consoling themselves with miracles that have occurred in the past where souls have gone up to heaven with the aid of this devotion. Hence they live in an illusion.
The Inconstant devotees as the name goes are sometimes faithful in devotion and at other times become stagnant. They come with a form of zeal and later fall away and then before you know are lurking around again. They are simply lukewarm.
The Hypocritical devotees hide under this devotion to persist in their evil activities so as to appear pious before all men.
Then we have the Self-interested devotees who only employ this devotion only when they seek a special favour or need a breakthrough. But apart from such emergency, they hardly even think of Our Lady.
2. Satan, our Adversary, who hates mankind loathes the Mother of God even more because he is punished by her humility.
Remember when God made man from the dust of the earth in His image and likeness and gave him authority over all His creation, He made man ruler over the angels who were purely created spirits. Satan(Lucifer) chose to rebel and not serve man after all he was spirit and man came from the earth. Pride filled his heart and so was cast out of heaven. And when our first parents sinned, they then were made a little lower than the angels.
Now here comes a young handmaid prepared and fashioned by God that through her the Son of the Most High will come to the world in human form, our fallen nature, but without sin. He preserves this earthly vessel pure that He may be conceived by her after staying in her womb for nine solid months. This handmaid who was and is known as Mary will save the world through the action of Christ, Son of God. And of her, the Holy Spirit proclaims in her, all ages henceforth shall call me blessed. Again God gives humankind authority. The authority the first created humans lost.
How Satan must have been enraged that once more salvation had come to fallen man but even more defeating was that it came through a mortal being, Mary.
St. Louis de Montfort observes this dilemma of the Diabolical in the same book True Devotion to Mary in paragraph 52 thus:
Satan fears her not only more than angels and men but in a certain sense more than God himself. This does not mean that the anger, hatred and power of God are not infinitely greater than the Blessed Virgin’s, since her attributes are limited. It simply means that Satan, being so proud, suffers infinitely more in being vanquished and punished by a lowly and humble servant of God, for her humility humiliates him more than the power of God.
Now culling from St. Louis de Montfort, a true devotion to Our Lady is not a means to an end in itself. It is holy. This devotion as well as all other forms of pious devotions must lead to their final end which is God. It is God who grants all our requests and so wishes to extend His sole role of mediatorship to His mother whom He allowed himself to be nurtured by in the person of Christ, the Son. And it is the desire and will of God to grant mankind all graces we need to live a devout life through the hands of Our Blessed Mother.
If Christ Himself chose to honour his mother while on earth, one whom he so expressly willed to remain in her womb for nine whole months and entrusted her to us as Our Mother also, why should we be uncomfortable in being devoted to her?
When an artist receives so much praise for a masterpiece of art he creates, does He become offended or upset that people are praising his work of art? Rather, as more and more praises are showered on the masterpiece, he becomes more honoured and well known. The Mona Lisa has been praised for its intense detail and art. It truly is indeed a classic masterpiece and has received numerous praise. And the painter, Leonardo di Ser Piero da Vinci has become so popular and well known.
This is what true devotion to Mary does. The more we honour Mary, the more God is honoured, known and loved. When we read long tributes to deceased members of our family or of a prominent figure, sing hymns in celebration of his or her life, recite appellations to them, no one blurts out that its wrong. If that is so, then there must be no scepticism or hate when hymns and appellations are sung or recited in honour of Our Blessed Mother Mary.
Forgive us, O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, we who have caused so much affliction to your immaculate heart and most of all to Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ. Help us to be truly devoted to you and by our authentic devotion, we may learn from you to closely follow the life of Christ which you also trod on earth.
We make our prayer through Christ, Our Lord, Who lives and reigns with God, the Father Almighty in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God for ever and ever.