Monday, September 8, 2008

There's Something About Mary

Today, September 8, is the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary - the Promised Woman in the book of Genesis and the Woman of Revelations. I encourage everyone to take time to read The Glories of Mary , an explanation of the Salve Regina, which St. Alphonsus de Liguori wrote in defense of the ancient practice of honoring the Mother of God against those who were criticizing and ridiculing this devotion. I believe personally that true devotion to Mary goes beyond the outward performance of devotions due to Her. All external acts of devotion or piety are meaningless unless we have authentic interior disposition, that is, a true devotee must hold the Blessed Virgin in high esteem as the perfect model of Christian discipleship, must always have recourse to Her in their needs both temporal and spiritual, and above all must endeavor to IMITATE the virtues for which She is very well known for, most notably, the virtues of chastity, humility, and perfect obedience to God's will. Sounds too difficult? Let's all pray for the necessary graces because the spiritual life is a long and arduous journey full of dangers and uncertainties. Let's all remember that authentic devotion to Mary is always Christocentric - it leads us always to Jesus who must be the sole purpose and meaning of every Christian's life - Ad Jesum Per Mariam - To Jesus Through Mary.

St. Alphonsus de Liguori on the Glories of Mary:

"I may be allowed to make a short digression and give my own sentiment here. I would say that when an opinion tends in any way to the honor of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, when it has some foundation and is not repugnant to the Faith, nor to the decrees of the Church, nor to truth, to refuse to hold it, or to oppose it because the reverse may be true, shows little devotion to the Mother of God.

"I do not choose to be counted in that company, nor do I wish my reader to be. I wish rather to be in the company of those who fully and firmly believe all that can without error be believed of the greatness of Mary.

"If there were nothing else to take away our fear of going too far in the praises of Mary, St. Augustine's opinion would be enough. He declares that anything we may say in praise of Mary is little in comparison with what she deserves, because of her dignity as Mother of God."

And after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of Thy womb, Jesus.

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