No true Christianity without Mary
In return for this infinite gift all generations must henceforth call that maiden blessed. She who brought Christianity on earth cannot be denied a place in Christian worship. But what of the many people in this world who hold her cheaply, the many who slight her, the many who do worse? Does it ever occur to those people to think that every grace they have they owe to her? Do they ever reason that if they were excluded from her words of acceptance that night, then Redemption has never come on earth for them? In that supposition they would stand outside its scope. In other words, they would not be Christians at all, even though they may cry: ” Lord ! Lord!” all the day and every day. (Mt 7:21) And on the other hand, they are indeed Christians, and if the gift of life has come to them, then it has only come because she gained it for because they were included in her acceptance. In a word, baptism that makes a person a child of God makes one simultaneously a child of Mary.
Gratitude, therefore – a practical gratitude – to Mary be the mark of every Christian. Redemption is the joint
gift of the Father and of Mary. Therefore, with the words of thanks to the Father must go up the word of thanks to Mary.
The Son is always found with his Mother
It was God’s will that the reign of grace should not be inaugurated without Mary. It was His pleasure that things should continue in the self-same way. When He desired to prepare St. John the Baptist for His mission of going before Himself, He sanctified him by the charitable visit of His Blessed Mother in the Visitation. On the first Christmas night those who turned her from their doors turned Him away. They did not realise that with her they refused Him whom they awaited. When the shepherd representatives of the chosen people found the Promised of all Nations, they found Him with her. If they had turned away from her, they would not have found Him. At the Epiphany, the Gentile races of the world were received by our Lord in the persons of the three Kings, but they only found Him because they found her. If they had refused to approach her, they would not have reached Him.
What had been done in secret at Nazareth had to be confirmed openly in the Temple. Jesus made offering of Himself to the Father but it was between the arms and by the hands of His Mother. For that Babe belonged to its Mother; without her the Presentation could not be made. Proceed, and it is learned from the Fathers that our Lord did not enter upon His public life without her consent. Likewise her request at Cana of Galilee was the beginning of the signs and wonders and mighty deeds by which He proved His mission.
Man for man: Maid for maid: Tree for tree.
When the last scene came on Calvary which finished the awful drama of Redemption, Jesus hung upon the tree of the Cross and Mary stood beneath it, not merely because she was a fond Mother, not in any accidental way, but precisely in the same capacity as she was present at the Incarnation. She was there as the representative of all mankind, ratifying her offering of her Son for men’s sake. Our Lord did not offer Himself to the Father without her assent and offering made on behalf of all her children; the Cross was to be their Sacrifice and His Sacrifice, “For as truly as she suffered and almost died with her suffering Son”-these are the words of Pope Benedict XV -“so truly did she renounce her maternal rights over that Son for the sake of our salvation, and immolate Him, as far as with her lay, to placate God’s justice. Hence it may justly be said that with Christ she redeemed the human race.”
The Holy Spirit operates always with her.
Come a little further to the feast of Pentecost , that tremendous occasion when the Church was launched upon its mission. Mary was there. It was by her prayer that the Holy Spirit descended on the Mystical Body and came to abide in it with all His “greatness, power, glory, victory and majesty.” (1 Chron 29:11) Mary reproduces in respect of the Mystical Body of Christ every service which she rendered to His actual Body. This law applies to Pentecost, which was a sort of new Epiphany. She is necessary to the one as she had been to the other. And so of all divine things to the end: if Mary is left out, God’s Plan is not conformed to, no matter what one’s prayers and works and strivings may be. If Mary is not there, the grace is not given. This is an overpowering thought. It may provoke the question: “Do those who ignore or insult Mary receive no graces?” They do, indeed, receive graces, for failure to acknowledge Mary may be excused on grounds of utter ignorance. But what a sorry title to Heaven! and what a way of treating her who helps us! Moreover, the graces which come in such circumstances are but a fraction of what should flow, so that one’s life’s work is largely failing.
What place must we assign her?
Some may take alarm and say it is a slight to God to credit such a universal power to a creature. But if it has pleased God to make it so, how does it slight His dignity? How foolish it would sound were anyone to say that the force of gravity derogates from God’s power! That law of gravity is from God, and accomplishes His purposes throughout all nature. Why should one think it disrespectful to allow as much to Mary in the universe of Grace? If the laws which God has made for nature show forth His might, why should the law which He has made for Mary do otherwise than manifest his goodness and omnipotence? But even if it is conceded that acknowledgment is dueto Mary, there still remains the question of its manner and amount. “How” – some will say – “am I to apportion prayer to Mary and prayer to the Divine Persons or to the saintS? What is the exact amount – neither too much nor too little …which I am to offer to her?” Others will go further and their objection will present itself as follows: “Would I not turn away from God were I to direct my prayers to her?”
All these grades of doubt proceed from applying earthly ideas to heavenly things. Such persons are thinking of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and of Mary and the saints, as if they were so many statues, so that to turn to one they must necessarily turn away from others. Various examples might be utilized to help towards a better understanding of the true position. But, strange to say, the simplest and at the same time the holiest solution of such difficulties lies in the recommendation: “You must, indeed, give all to God, but give it all with Mary.” It will be found that this apparently extreme devotion to her is free from the perplexities which measuring and moderation bring.
Every action should endorse her Fiat.
The justification of this method is to be found in the Annunciation itself. In that moment all mankind were joined with Mary, their representative. Her words included their words, and in a sense she included them. God viewed them through her. Now, the daily life of a Christian is nothing else than the formation of our Lord in that member of His Mystical Body. This formation does not take place without Mary. It is an outpouring and a part of the original Incarnation, so that Mary is really the Mother of the Christian just as she is of Christ. Her consent and her maternal care are just as necessary to the daily growth of Christ in the individual soul as they were to His original taking of flesh.
What does all this involve for the Christian? It involves many important things of which this is one: he must deliberately and whole-heartedly acknowledge Mary’s position as his representative in the sacrificial offering, begun at the Annunciation and completed on the Cross which earned Redemption. He must ratify the things she then did on his behalf, so that he can enjoy, without shame and in their fulness, the infinite benefits thereby brought to him. And that ratification: of what nature is it to be? Would a once-repeated act suffice ? Work out the answer to this question in the light of the fact that it was through Mary that every act of one’s life has become the act of a Christian. Is it not reasonable and proper that likewise every act should bear some impress of acknowledgment and gratitude to her? So the answer is the same as that already given: “You are to give her everything.”
Glorify the Lord with Mary
Have her before the mind, at least in some slight way, at all times. Unite the intention and the will to hers in such fashion that every act done during the day, every prayer you utter, is done with her. She should be left out of nothing. Whether you pray to the Father, or to the Son, or to the Holy Spirit, or to a saint, it is always to be prayer in union with Mary. She repeats the words with you. Her lips and your lips form the words together, and in everything she has a part. Thus she is far more than at your side. She is, as it were, in you; your life is you and she together giving to God all you jointly have.
This all-embracing form of devotion to Mary acknowledges handsomely the part she played and daily continues to play in the workings out of salvation. Likewise it is the easiest devotion to her. It solves the doubts of those who say: “How much?” and of those who fear lest giving to her is taking from God. But even some Catholics may say: “It is extreme.” Yet where does it offend against sweet reason? And wherein does it deny his due to the Almighty? The latter fault is better laid to those who say that they are jealous of the dignity of God, but will not work the plan which He has made; who say they hold the Scriptures as the sacred word of God, yet will not hear the verses which sing that He hath done great things to Mary, and that all generations shall call her blessed. (Lk 1:48-49)
from the Handbook: Legio Mariae