The last two parishes that I have served were in churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It never ceases to amaze me how Mary has a special place in the hearts of many people. The number of people, non Christian included, that make an effort to attend the novenas weekly and also the Marian feasts, is a manifestation that Mary is considered dear to them as a powerful intercessor. Every year, the months of May and October are dedicated to special devotions to Mary. I know of many communities that meet every day, from home to home, during these months to pray the rosary…such great faith!
Today we are exposed to so many different forms of prayer and we try to find one that suits us best. In the past, many people relied on praying the rosary as the only form of prayer. Even today, in our churches I see elderly men & ladies clinging on to their rosary and praying repeatedly and devoutly in a way that would put many of us to shame. It is possible that this is the only way they know to grow in holiness, and who are we to judge? What moves them is the special relationship they share with Mary…such great faith!
Even though there isn’t much said about Mary in the Bible, we know from Tradition that she played an important role not only in the life of Jesus but also in the life of the early church. While hanging on the cross, Jesus gave Mary a special place in the life of the disciples and since then she has had a place in the early church. Pope Benedict XVI in a recent catechesis has gone on to say that without Mary there would have been no Church. Even though there are people who try to negate this but historical facts cannot be distorted or manipulated to suit different needs. Logic or lateral thinking may lead some to think otherwise but what the world needs is faith and Mary provides us with a great model not by her theological mind but in simple ways that we can emulate in our everyday living.
Mary offers us not only a model of discipleship but also as one who never lost hope in her Son even when everyone else thought he was out of his mind (cf Mark 3:21). But like all mothers, she stood by her Son right to the cross. Her life offers us hope. We live in times where there is much uncertainty about the future. Mary experienced that too at the annunciation. But she trusted Him who had chosen her…Let Thy Will Be Done. In the words of St Louis de Monfort, I understood that I could not exclude the Lord’s Mother from my life without neglecting the will of God-Trinity.