Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Greatness of the Mother of God

Those outside of the Catholic Church, and sadly, far too many in the Catholic Church, are very critical of the veneration and devotion the Church gives to Mary, the Mother of God.  The Catholic Church is often accused of worshipping Mary and putting her above our Lord.  I can only attribute this to the fact that these people are not aware of the great role our Blessed  Mother plays in our salvation.  She, above all other women, was chosen to be the Mother of God. As our Lord hung dying on the cross, one of His very last acts was to give her to us as our mother.   Our Lady reigns in heaven with her Son as the Queen of Heaven and Earth. The angels praise her as their queen. She is the arch enemy of Satan and the crusher of all heresies because it was her "yes" that crushed the head of the serpent, the devil. 

The Litany of Loretto gives us some of the titles for our Blessed Mother.  Here is a portion of that Litany:

Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,
Morning star,
Heath of the Sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comforter of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of Angels,
Queen of Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queen of Martyrs,
Queen Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queen of all Saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,

Queen assumed into heaven,

In yesterday's traditional breviary, there was a beautiful reading from St. Gregory the Great on the importance and magnificence of Mary.  As the great saint, St. Maximilian Kolbe said,
 “Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”
St. Maximilian Kolbe
The Lesson is taken from the Exposition
of the Books of Kings by St. Gregory the Pope
Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim of Mount Ephraim. The Mount, whence this man came forth, mindeth us of the most blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. For she is like unto a mountain, in that she is raised up above the height of any other elect creature by the dignity to which she was preferred. Did not Mary, like as a wondrous mountain of holiness, tower to a height above all the angelic choirs, so as to approach toward the very throne of God, in that she reached so high as to conceive the Eternal Word? Now Isaias hath a prophecy concerning the most excellent dignity of such a mountain : And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains. And verily Mary, in the height of her holiness, sitteth on high, above all the other Saints, like as a lofty mountain piled on top of another range of lofty mountains.
* * * 

St. Faustina
In the words of St. Faustina:
"To give worthy praise to the Lord's mercy, we unite ourselves with Your Immaculate Mother, for then our hymn will be more pleasing to You, because She is chosen from among men and angels. Through Her, as through a pure crystal, Your mercy was passed on to us. Through Her, man became pleasing to God; Through Her, streams of grace flowed down upon us." (Diary Entry 1746)
You will not be able to find any great saint in the Catholic Church who did not have a deep devotion to our Lady.  This is what just a couple of those great saints have told us:
'Mary having co-operated in our redemption with so much glory to God and so much love for us, Our Lord ordained that no one shall obtain salvation except through her intercession.'
--St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori 
“The greatest saints, those richest in grace and virtue will be the most assiduous in praying to the most Blessed Virgin, looking up to her as the perfect model to imitate and as a powerful helper to assist them.”
--Saint Louis Marie de Montfort
St. Louis Marie de Montfort
In just a few days we will be celebrating the feast of our Lady's Assumption into heaven.  She alone of all human beings has been assumed body and soul into heaven because other than her Son, she has been the only sinless human being in the history of mankind.  There is no praise too high for this most magnificent of all God's creatures.  We cannot please Jesus more than when we give praise and glory to His Mother:
”The honor of Mary is so intimately connected with the honor and glory of Jesus that to deny the one is at the same time a denial of the other.”
--Blessed William Joseph Chaminade

”Jesus honored her before all ages, and will honor her for all ages. No one comes to Him, nor even near Him, no one is saved or sanctified, if he too will not honor her. This is the lot of Angels and of men.”
--Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, Martyr
In these evil times we live in, we have no safer and more sure refuge than with our Blessed Mother. 
“In trial or difficulty I have recourse to Mother Mary, whose glance alone is enough to dissipate every fear.”
--Saint Therese of Lisieux
“No matter how sinful one may have been, if he has devotion to Mary, it is impossible that he be lost."
--Saint Hilary of Poitiers -Bishop, Father, and Doctor of the Church
"Seek refuge in Mary because she is the city of refuge. We know that Moses set up three cities of refuge for anyone who inadvertently killed his neighbor. Now the Lord has established a refuge of mercy, Mary, even for those who deliberately commit evil. Mary provides shelter and strength for the sinner."
--Saint Anthony of Padua, Doctor of the Church
How can we not love this most beautiful Creation of our Lord!  As St. Augustine has told us, we cannot praise her too much or hold her in too much esteem.   And her love for us is more than we will ever be able to fathom in this life. 
“Think of what the Saints have done for their neighbor because they loved God. But what Saint's love for God can match Mary's? She loved Him more in the first moment of her existence than all the Saints and angels ever loved Him or will love Him. Our Lady herself revealed to Sister Mary Crucified that the fire of her love was most extreme. If Heaven and earth were placed in it, they would be instantly consumed. And the ardors of the seraphim, compared with it, are like cool breezes. Just as there is not one among all the Blessed who loves God as Mary does, so there is no one, after God, who loves us as much as this most loving Mother does. Furthermore, if we heaped together all the love that mothers have for their children, all the love of husbands and wives, all the love of all the angels and Saints for their clients, it could never equal Mary's love for even a single soul.”--Saint Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary
Saint Alphonsus Liguori
We hear many dissident and heretical voices in the Church today, calling for active disobedience to the Magesterium and the plain teaching and dogma of the Church, e.g., the acceptance of birth control, married priests, women priests, acceptance of homosexuality.  Is it coincidence that none of those in conflict with the church have a devotion to Mary?  We never see any heretics or dissidents praying the Rosary or praising our Lady.

There is no more sure or safe road to salvation than through our Blessed Mother, and no surer way to damnation than to reject her.  Give yourself to Mary and you will be assured of finding Her Son.  Let us give praise and honor to the Great Mother of God as we prepare for the great Feast of the Assumption.
The Immaculate alone has from God the promise of victory over Satan. She seeks souls that will consecrate themselves entirely to her, that will become in her hands forceful instruments for the defeat of Satan and the spread of God's kingdom."
--St. Maximilian Kolbe
'After the love which we owe Jesus Christ, we must give the chief place in our heart to the love of His Mother Mary.'
--St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

 "But the power of Mary over all the devils will especially shine forth in the latter times, when Satan will lay his snares against her heel: that is to say, her humble slaves and her poor children, whom she will raise up to make war against him. They shall be little and poor in the world’s esteem, and abased before all like the heel, trodden underfoot and persecuted as the heel is by the other members of the body. But in return for this they shall be rich in the grace of God, which Mary shall distribute to them abundantly. They shall be great and exalted before God in sanctity, superior to all other creatures by their lively zeal, and so well sustained with God’s assistance that, with the humility of their heel, in union with Mary, they shall crush the head of the devil and cause Jesus Christ to triumph."
--Saint Louis de Montfort True Devotion to Mary

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