Chapter One: Grace and Devotion to Mary
Chapter Two: Mary, Holy Objects and God
Chapter Three: Primary Teachings - Mary the Virgin
Chapter Four: Mary and Jesus
Chapter Five: Deeper Teachings -
Chapter Six: Teachings Not Yet Declared Dogmas -
Jesus and Mary
A Mediator with our Mediator
Chapter Seven: Final Thoughts and Reflections
of the Holy Spirit
of Jesus Made Present
and Church Unity
Consecration to Mary Individual and
Litany of Mary's Faith Journey
© Copyright, J. Roy MacIntyre 2009
In the foregoing I have presented some of the teachings of Mary with the goal of showing how these teachings and Mary herself bring us to know, love and serve God more perfectly. Mary shows us the awesome reverence that is due to Almighty God. She also shows us that we can approach Him, in His gentleness, humility and mercy. In the process of coming to know, love and understand Mary's place in God's plan of redemption for the human race, she acts like a magnifying glass that helps us to know, love and understand God Himself more perfectly. As such, Mary is essential in God's plan of redemption for all of mankind. She truly magnifies the Lord for us.
The devotions associated with Mary also lead us to know, love and serve God better. I should not conclude this work without a brief description of some of the most common of these devotions.
The foremost Marian devotion is the Rosary. In saying the Rosary we confess our Faith in the "I believe", we recite 150 Hail Marys which remind us of the 150 psalms. We also meditate or think about 20 different Gospel passages and Gospel promises in the mysteries of the Rosary. There are 17 vignettes in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, one on the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, plus two about Mary alone. These two mysteries about Mary are her assumption and her being crowned with glory in heaven. These two mediations also remind us of our own promise of resurrection from the dead and the heavenly reward we will receive for our response to the graces God has given us in our life.
There is a mystery about the Rosary that goes beyond our understanding. Why, for instance, should such a simple prayer of reciting Hail Marys while meditating on scenes from the life of Jesus and Mary be so powerful in bringing people back to or closer to God? And why is the Rosary such a strong force against Satan? Well, mysteries, such as the mystery of the Trinity, by nature defy complete explanation. Nevertheless, these mysteries help us to grow in appreciation of Gospel messages and the mysteries of God simply by our pondering over those meditations. If you earnestly try to prayer the rosary you will become a believer in its spiritual helpfulness.
We also have considerable historical and personal witness to the power of the Rosary to effect change in our world. The defeat of the Ottoman Turks' sea power at Lepanto (AD 1571) by a much smaller Christian force was attributed to the Christian faithful praying the Rosary and Mary's intercession. There were in fact a number of victories around this time the success of which was attributed to Mary’s intercession. A more recent case was in the 20th century when the invading Soviet forces that were already ensconced in Austria for three years left their occupation after the people prayed the Rosary asking Our Lady to free the country of the communist army.
God, in many ways over many years, has told the Church to pray the Rosary for peace in our hearts, homes, nations and the world. However, the call is not heeded very well by the people of God. It seems like the same problem of Adam and Eve continuing in the world today. God asked Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They disobeyed. Today God asks us a simple thing; pray the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Do we obey?
We may not know why God has asked us to practice praying the Rosary any more than Adam and Eve understood why they should not eat of the fruit. Yet should we, the pots, question our Maker, the Potter? Rather let us make the effort to follow God's peace plan for the world and pray the Rosary daily.
The Angelus is another simple Marian devotion that invites us to meditate on the incarnation of the Word of God and on our salvation. It is prayed morning, noon and evening and gives the faithful an opportunity to bring the mystery of the Word-made-flesh into the activities of their daily lives. The Angelus is also known as a peace prayer.
A third Marian devotion I would like to mention is the enrolment in the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This is another mysterious devotion. What we believe is that those who are enrolled in the brown scapular devotion and wear it at all times will not suffer damnation, among other benefits. However, we can be certain that this devotion also draws us ever closer to God as do all the approved Marian practices. Pope Pius XII said that the brown scapular is meant to be a sigh of one's consecration to Mary (see below for information on consecration.).
Our Lady has prophesied to St. Dominic that she would eventually save the world, that is, bring the world to Jesus, through the Rosary and the brown scapular. This is a further incentive for us to be co-redeemers with her through these two devotions.
Two other devotions which are more than devotions are the requirements for completing the nine first Fridays of the month in reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the five first Saturdays of the month in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These are more than devotions because of the significance of their connectedness to the mercy of God and also because the reparation made to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts as noted above will save souls from hell. What a profound mercy!
All the tragedy and suffering ever experienced in this world from its beginning to its end is not as tragic as one soul condemned to eternity in hell. In these simple practices cited above, grace is obtained to save souls from hell – to snatch some from the fire (Jude 22). A lifelong dedication to these practices seems a fully worthwhile use of one’s life. It is so simple yet so profoundly far reaching.
To complete the practice of the nine first Fridays one must go to Mass and communion on nine consecutive first Fridays in reparation for the sins committed against God in atonement to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. One must also receive the sacrament of confession within eight days of the first Friday.
To complete the five first Saturdays one must attend Mass, receive communion, say five decades of the Rosary, spend an additional fifteen minutes meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary on the first Saturday and receive the sacrament of confession within eight days of the first Saturday. This must be completed on the first Saturday of five consecutive months.
Finally, I mention again the simple habit of being in union with Mary at all times as an aid in our continual practice of the presence of God in our lives.
Since it is impossible to do an adequate job of explaining the many Marian devotions in this short treatise, I recommend that the reader explore some of the many books available on devotion to Mary. However, I would like to share a personal experience that has added a dimension to my prayer life.
In a few places above I mentioned the significant role of Mary's faith in God's plan of redemption for the human race. This has had a profound affect on my understanding of Mary and God Himself. The key phrase that kept coming back to me in thinking about Mary's faith and in saying my Hail Marys was, "blessed is she who believed" (Lk 1:45). Once, while I was praying my Rosary I just slipped the words into the Hail Mary as follows: Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women, blessed art thou who believed and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
As I thought about this phrase inserted into my Hail Mary I began to realize that Mary was thrice blessed. The Father who chose her to be the mother of His Son blessed her. The Son of
whom she was called to be mother blessed her. And the Holy Spirit whose gift of faith made it possible for Mary to conceive the Son blessed her. "Blessed art thou among women (chosen by the Father), blessed art thou who believed (by the power of the Holy Spirit) and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus (mother of the Son)." Even though this third blessed refers to Jesus it indirectly refers to Mary, as well, who is the Blessed Mother of Jesus.
I use this variant of the Hail Mary especially in the first and second joyful mysteries. Also since this phrase is used in the Liturgy of Hours for the memorial of the crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 22nd) I like to use it in the fifth glorious mystery. Indeed, I have found that it can enhance the depth of meditation in any of the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary. I'm not advocating that the Hail Mary be changed. I’m only saying this third "blessed" adds to my prayer and faith experience and I invite others to try it and see for themselves. Mind you I do not use this when saying the Rosary publicly only in my private prayer.
I believe that although Mary's believing faith is extremely significant in God's plan of redemption it is not nearly appreciated as it should be. Therefore, I felt inspired to compose a litany to Mary's believing faith which is included at the end of this work. I invite those wishing to honour Mary by means of this prayer to do so to the glory of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.