What is Devotion to Mary?

~…coming to know and love Christ more deeply and more truly.~

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‘Through the centuries, the vast majority of Catholics have…loved her as they love their own mother, striving to follow her example in faith, love, and obedience. They have, as Jesus commissioned the apostle John, taken her into their homes.

And in return, they found a woman who understands suffering, who knows what it’s like to follow God at the risk of losing it all, even what she loves most of all in the world. They found a heart that has grieved, yet never ceased to believe. They found a mother. Even more important, they found Christ. And that is the true heart of all Marian devotion: coming to know and love Christ more deeply and more truly.’ (Miravalle, Meet Mary, pg. xiv)

'....Marian devotion doesn't thwart a relationship with Christ; on the contrary, it facilitates it......She doesn't want a drop of Christ's sacrifice to be in vain.' ('The Marian Option', Gress, pg.109).

Many people have personal devotions to Our Lady through her apparition appearances. Of all of the possible devotions to our Blessed Virgin, there are some which have been especially recommended by the Church. Devotions which involve the use of physical objects are not superstitious, because they are not thought to have power within themselves. Rather, they are external aides to interior devotion to the Mother of God.

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The Rosary

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The rosary, one of the most cherished prayers of the Catholic Church, is a meditation on the saving mysteries of Jesus’ life and the faithful witness of our Blessed Mother. She is intimately involved in all the most important events of Christ’s life.

 

The rosary consists of a crucifix, a set of five beads, a center medal, and a series of five decades of ten beads each separated by a single bead. On the crucifix is prayed the Apostles Creed. On the next single bead is prayed the Our Father. On each of the following three beads are prayed a Hail Mary. On the next single bead is prayed a Doxology (the ‘Glory Be’…), the first mystery of the five mysteries for the day, and an Our Father. On the next ten beads are prayed the Hail Mary, then on the next single bead say the Doxology, the second mystery and the Our Father. These prayers and mysteries continue through the rest of the rosary beads until all five mysteries are prayed.

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The Brown Scapular

‘Whosoever dies clothed in this garment shall not suffer eternal fire.’

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History

In the year 1251, in the town of Aylesford in England, Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite. She handed him a brown woolen scapular and said, “This shall be a privilege for you and all Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall not suffer eternal fire.” In time, the Church extended this magnificent privilege to all the laity who are willing to be invested in the Brown Scapular of the Carmelites and who perpetually wear it. By simply wearing the Scapular, we can tell our Blessed Mother every moment of the day that we venerate her, love her and trust in her protection.

The Scapular Is a Silent Prayer

As Our Lord taught us to say the Our Father, Our Blessed Mother taught us the value of the scapular. When we use it as a prayer, Our Lady draws us to the Sacred Heart of Her Divine Son. It is good, therefore, to hold the scapular in the hand. A prayer offered while holding the Scapular is as perfect as a prayer can be. It is especially in time of temptation that we need the powerful intercession of God’s Mother. The evil spirit is utterly powerless when the wearer of a scapular faces temptation, calling upon the Holy Virgin in this silent devotion. “If you had recommended yourself to me, you would not have run into such danger,” was Our Lady’s gentle reproach to Blessed Alan de la Roche, one of her devoted servants.

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The Three Hail Mary's

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This practice was revealed to St. Melchtilde (13th century) while she was beseeching our Blessed Mother to assist her in her hour of death. Ur Lady appeared to her and said: ‘I will certainly. But I also want you to say three special Hail Marys to me every day.’

 

‘The first will be in honor of God the Father, Whose omnipotence raised my soul so high above every other creature that after God I have the greatest power in heaven and on earth. In the hour of your death I will use that power of God the Father to keep any hostile power far from you.

 

‘The second Hail Mary will be said in honor of the Son of God Who communicated His inscrutable wisdom to me. In the hour of your death I will fill your soul with the light of that wisdom so that all the darkness of ignorance and error will be dispelled.

 

‘The third Hail Mary will be in honor of God the Holy Ghost Who filled my soul with the sweetness of His Love and tenderness and mercy. In your last hour I will then change the bitterness of death into divine sweetness and delight.

 

Practice: Recite, morning and evening, three Hail Mary’s in honor of the three great privileges bestowed upon Our Blessed Mother by the most Blessed Trinity with this invocation at the end: for the morning: ‘O my Mother, preserve me from mortal sin during this day.’ For the evening: ‘O my Mother, preserve me from mortal sin during this night.’

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The Seven Dolors (Sorrows) of Mary

These seven prayers presented in this format were approved by Pope Pius VII in 1815. They start with the following introduction: 

V. O God, come to my assistance

R. O Lord, make haste to help me

V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen 

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Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death, Amen

The First Sorrow - The Prophecy of Simeon

I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the affliction of thy tender heart at the prophecy of the holy and aged Simeon. Dear Mother, by thy heart so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of humility and the gift of the holy fear of God.

Hail Mary, etc.

The Second Sorrow – The Flight Into Egypt

I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the anguish of thy most affectionate heart during the flight into Egypt and thy sojourn there. Dear Mother, by thy heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of generosity, especially toward the poor, and the gift of piety.

Hail Mary, etc.

The Third Sorrow – The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple

I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in those anxieties which tried thy troubled heart at the loss of thy dear Jesus. Dear Mother, by thy heart so full of anguish, obtain for me the virtue of chastity and the gift of knowledge.

Hail Mary, etc.

The Fourth Sorrow- Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary

I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful in the consternation of thy heart at meeting Jesus as he carried His Cross. Dear Mother, by thy heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of patience and the gift of fortitude.

Hail Mary, etc.

The Fifth Sorrow- Jesus Dies on the Cross

I grieve for thee O Mary, most sorrowful, in the martyrdom which thy generous heart endured in standing near Jesus in His agony. Dear Mother, by thy afflicted heart, obtain for me the virtue of temperance and the gift of counsel.

Hail Mary, etc.

The Sixth Sorrow- Mary Receives Jesus

I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the wounding of thy compassionate heart, when the side of Jesus was struck by the lance and His Heart was pierced before His body was removed from the Cross. Dear Mother, by thy heart thus transfixed, obtain for me the virtue of fraternal charity and the gift of understanding.

Hail Mary, etc.

The Seventh Sorrow- Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, for the pangs that wrenched thy most loving heart at the burial of Jesus. Dear Mother, by thy heart sunk in the bitterness of desolation, obtain for me virtue of diligence and the gift of wisdom.

Hail Mary, etc.

V. Pray for us, O Virgin most sorrowful.

R. That we made be worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray

Let intercession be made for us, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, now and at the hour of our death, before the throne of Thy mercy, by the Blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, whose most holy soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow in the hour of Thy bitter Passion. Through Thee, Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost lives and reigns, world without end. Amen.