In honor of the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, I am so thankful for all the many women surrounding me who reflect the beautiful virtues of Our Lady. For my own mother, friends, and fellow writers,who hold close to the mother of Jesus, despite the resistance from others who gravely misunderstand her role, thank you for your faithfulness!
I have written in depth about the Mother of God many times. In Devotion to The Blessed Mother Mary, I unpack the biblical truths of the role of Mary (what devotion to her is and is not.) I examine Mary’s role as a living tabernacle, immaculate, in the context of the Holy Family, and at Cana.
In May – The Month of Mary, I reflect on Mary’s role as the true mother of all Christians — whom desire to inherit all that Jesus offers and promises – one such value is his mother, given from the cross. This article also touches on the intentional elevation of secular feasts, particularly in the Spring season and month of May.
The Motherhood of Mary explores Mary’s fullness of Grace, the meaning of her visit by the angel Gabriel, and her role as the mother of God. Mary was chosen, not needed. Her many roles also include an elevated rank of intercession.
Devotion is a funny thing in our culture. What I mean by that is that we live in a highly romanticized culture, in which we believe devotion requires a sustained movement of our emotions — largely without our individual effort. We see this most commonly in marriages, in which spouses “lose” a devotion, or love of the other. Yet in truly understanding love and devotion as God understands it, it becomes clear that devotion is something that takes time, effort, and consistency. Emotions may wax and wane, but love is a choice.
A marital relationship must be cultivated, prioritized, and maintained. Devotion comes through moving the will and the desires toward the knowledge of what is good. In marriage, there is, or was at one time, a spark. Yet, beyond that spark, there is knowledge that marriage is good. Even that your particular marriage is good for you specifically — as intended by and covenanted with God.
Therefore, devotion first comes with a desire.
- PRAY. It may sound silly to pray for a devotion that doesn’t “come naturally,” or take us by surprise (as we expect love to do). But starting with prayer is the best way to gain devotion, particularly to someone as important to our Lord, as his own mother! The Holy Spirit can move your soul in amazing ways, when you only ask for that grace. In My Saint Joseph Story, I tell of how I prayed for a stronger knowledge and devotion to St. Joseph. The Holy Spirit not only gave me the novena to pray (which fell out of a book), but also confirmed his movement through my efforts in growing closer to the great foster father of Jesus, over and over again. He was blessing my desire and my effort.
- READ. There are certainly so many wonderful books written about Mary. There are works written by saints, from very early centuries to modern day, including passionate homilies. Saint Louis deMontfort is particularly regarded as having a strong regard for Mary, in which he shares many insights about her in his book True Devotion to Mary. Leading theology scholar, Scott Hahn uses Scripture to reveal Mary’s great role in salvation history, in his book Hail Holy Queen. For a deeper and more scholarly work, Saint John Paul’s Encyclical letter; Redemptoris Mater shares the saint’s reflection on the “role of Mary in the mystery of Christ and on her active and exemplary presence in the life of the Church.” The many accounts of Mary’s apparitions also offer inspiring reading about Mary’s constant and ongoing intercession on earth.
- DISCOVER. Allow God to reveal Mary to you through a greater personal devotion. When your heart is open to his will, he will bless you. Discover how it is that Mary will come to intercede in your life, guide you with her motherly peace and protection, and most importantly — lead you closer to her son. Pray the rosary — which the devil hates — and reflect on the appropriate scripture for each decade. Allow Mary to come alive through prayer and scripture! Even if these practices lack depth at first, and your mind wonders (as in reading scripture), continue to persevere and allow God to bless your desire.
Copyright 2017 Kimberly Cook