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Devotion to The Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Catholic Church has always rightly encouraged strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is important that this is emphasized and understood.

It is vitally important to have a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This for who She is; the Mother of God. And our Lord gave Her to be our Mother during His most painful moments of Sacrifice on the Cross; saying to St John the Apostle; "Woman, behold, thy son..........Behold, thy mother."[Jn19:26-27]

And so the Lord's own Mother is also our Mother. And Her unique participatory role was, on earth, in the context of our salvation. And it still is in this context; Her powerful Spiritual Maternity protects us, guides us, and always seeks for us, Her children, to be bonded with Her Son, our Saviour. The Blessed Virgin is our powerful Advocate on our behalf with Her Son. She is the Queen of Heaven. One of Her most beautiful titles is as our guide; Stella Maris (Star of the Sea.) Stay close to Her!

By the power of God the Holy Spirit, Our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ became incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary[Lk:1:26-38.] For this She had to worthy!

Now, in a real sense, the work of the Early Fathers of the Church; East and West, in recognizing the Blessed Virgin Mary as Immaculate; always without sin, was made easy for them, since, in conceiving Our Lord God and Saviour, by the power of God The Holy Spirit, the Blessed Virgin, from whose Immaculate Heart the Sacred Heart of the Baby Jesus grows, must be and must have always been entirely free from sin (Her Immaculate Conception.)

There is also the great significance of this in the context of the Blessed Virgin always being able to reject the temptations of the devil, and this is entirely to do with Her role. It would be a contradiction of Her role if She was subject to, and vulnerable to sin, as Eve was. Mary was at all times (always) being prepared for Her unique role, and for it to be carried out according to God's plan of salvation for mankind.

Whereas the fallen angel, Lucifer, had extracted the dreaded response from Eve; with disastrous consequences for mankind, now we find Mary "full of grace," full of Eternal Wisdom. She was, as it were, just as She should be, and, when the good angel; the Archangel Gabriel, appears to Her, She responds in exactly the right way. The Blessed Virgin's glorious parents, St Anne and St Joachim are, of course, part of this whole preparation.

And it is right to focus on just how important this is, because in Mary's fiat; Her "Yes" to become the Mother of God, Her "Yes" is for Her to be this great part in God's great plan of salvation.

Indeed, the Blessed Virgin Mary's unique participatory role is often shown in the context of how She is presented as “the new Eve.” All the roles of the Blessed Virgin are linked to the great Battle of Genesis III:XV, this because of Her vital role in the context of the Redeemer. She gave birth to the Saviour. The battle was set by God immediately after the fall of mankind:
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"I will put enmity between you and the
woman, between your seed and her
seed; He shall crush your head, and
you shall lie in wait for his heel "[Gen 3:15.]
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The Blessed Virgin, prepared by God for Her unique and special role, which, in its fulfillment, carried out by the Blessed Virgin "full of grace" as given to Her, by God, as destined by Him, comes with unfathomable glory. And the Blessed Virgin is alive in heaven with Her unique, powerful, loving roles, and we need Her help!

The Church, and especially as found in the writings of Pope Leo XIII, sometimes refers to the Blessed Virgin under Her title of Co-redemptrix. This does not mean that She is a redeemer but means that Her unique participatory role, given to Her by God, and which She entirely fulfilled, is inextricably linked to the redeeming work of Her Son. St Louis Marie de Montfort also writes of it in this way:
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"What Lucifer lost by pride Mary won by humility. What Eve ruined and lost by disobedience Mary saved by obedience. By obeying the serpent, Eve ruined her children as well as herself and delivered them up to him. Mary, by Her perfect fidelity to God saved Her children with Herself and consecrated them to His divine majesty." [TD 53]

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Honouring the Blessed Virgin in this context gives great glory to God for the plan of salvation He set in place for us; Our Lord God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, was born the Son of Mary, by the power of God the Holy Spirit, through God's merciful love for us.

All that is about the Blessed Virgin is about giving great glory to God. All about being faithful to God. The words of Her Magnificat reflect this:
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And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; because he has regarded the lowliness of his handmaid; for, behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed; because he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name; and his mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and has exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of his mercy — even as he spoke to our fathers — to Abraham and to his sons to posterity.” [Lk 1:46.55]
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It reflects how important humility is before God, as also we are reminded in the words of the Book of Ecclesiasticus, which says to us:
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Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God. For great is the power of God; by the humble he is glorified. [Ecclesiasticus 3:18-19.]
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The Blessed Virgin, full of grace; always focuses on giving glory to God. And always focuses on bonding us with Her Son; our Lord God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

And there is something within devotion to the Blessed Virgin that Catholics know or sense and which should always be kept in mind. An ancient teaching of the Church, maintained in tradition and teaching, is that devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is a means (a weapon) of salvation. In his writing on the Blessed Virgin, St Louis Marie de Montfort quotes St John Damascene[c.675-749] a Father of the Church, on this point. St John wrote of it in this way:
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"If I confide in you, Mother of God, I shall be saved. Under your protection I shall fear nothing. With your help I shall rout all my enemies. For devotion to you is a weapon of salvation which God gives to those he wishes to save."*
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This is understood to mean that those who have a devotion to the Blessed Virgin benefit fully from Her powerful Spiritual Maternity; She who is our Mother. The Blessed Virgin always helps, and intercedes for Her children in the most powerful way before God. Quite obviously to be most beneficial this should to be accompanied by a devotion to Her.

And so, for example, the Church interprets what are termed the "gifts of the Blessed Virgin" (gifts obtained for us from Her Son) for example; the wearing of the Brown Scapula, as meaning that those who wear it whilst showing due devotion to the Blessed Virgin are guaranteed final perseverance in the Faith, or final repentance. The Blessed Virgin always leads Her children to our Saviour; He who is Her Son. And another well known ancient teaching of the Church is that the redeemed must have the same Mother as the Redeemer.

Fr/St Louis Marie de Montfort (the late seventeenth, early eighteenth century priest) had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and his writings include his great treatise: True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary (written c.1710.) And which includes these profound and loving words:
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"It is difficult to persevere in holiness because of the excessively corrupting influence of the world. The world is so corrupt that it seems almost inevitable that religious hearts will be soiled, if not by its mud, at least by its dust. It is something of a miracle for anyone to stand firm in the midst of this raging torrent and not be swept away; to weather this stormy sea and not be drowned, or robbed by pirates; to breathe this pestilential air and not be contaminated by it. It is Mary, the singularly faithful Virgin over whom Satan had never any power, who works this miracle for those who truly love Her."[TD.89:3]
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Yes, the Catholic Church has rightly always ensured a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin. And so very much needed in these very last perilous days of the world as we know it.

Angela Anne Mary St John.

*
St John Damascene is qouted by St Louis Marie de Montfort in his famous work: True devotion to the Blessed Virgin at para 182.

"Beautiful Lady, Star of the Sea."
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