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Too much or too little devotion to Our Lady?

By Shannon Woodroffe

We all know Mother Mary to be, in the least, part of our Catholic devotion. She is a refuge for those in need, one who is admired and devoted to, a model and mother.  However, the question of how much devotion to Our Lady appears among Catholics and sadly, is completely abysmal among Protestants.

Among many titles, the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Queen of Heaven and Earth.  Surely, the title of ‘queen’, given by God Himself, suggests that one is to be honoured.  But what really does this title mean?  How literal is it?

If we are to actually think about it, it is puzzling for the Mother rather than the wife of the king to be queen. And it is not because Jesus wasn’t married. In fact, His Bride is the Church — us.

But in the Davidic kingdom, the mother of the king was the queen. David’s kingdom is not merely historical and irrelevant. Jesus’ Kingdom is the fulfilment of David’s and David’s kingdom foreshadowed Jesus’ (Mt 1, Mk 10:47, Acts 13:16–43).

Jesus is the Davidic King expected by the Jews to bring back that era of peace and reconciliation with God that existed during David’s kingship. And Israel’s kingdom was a type of God’s Kingdom in Heaven.

In 1 Kings 1:16, Bathsheba bows in homage to King David, her husband, but shortly after, in 1 Kings 2:19, King Solomon, her son, pays her homage. She sits at his right hand — the seat of ultimate honour in the Bible — on a throne.  Interestingly, the same Hebrew word is used for Solomon’s and Bathsheba’s thrones, implying their equality in size. The Queen Mother was the second most important position in the kingdom and shared in the king’s royal authority.

The same applies to Mary, Our Mother. As kingship and sovereignty were conferred on Jesus, queenship was conferred on Mary. As in the Davidic kingdom, her authority is real and to be acknowledged and respected entirely.

Furthermore, a part of this dynamic was that the queen would bring the people’s petitions to the king. When Bathsheba went to visit King Solomon in the above-mentioned passage, she was bringing a petition from not any poor peasant but his older brother.

Moreover, when God sent salvation in the person of Jesus, He did this through the Blessed Mother and through her ‘yes’. In John 2, we see this in its most explicit way: Jesus says that His hour has not yet come but nevertheless carries out His first miracle at the intercession of His Holy Mother.

Surely, this relationship has not changed. Surely, if Jesus honours His Mother as queen, it is right for us to do so as well. Surely, if the King obeys His mother, we ought to obey her as well. And surely, we are not to be afraid of doing this because firstly, she only leads us to Jesus, to “do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5), and secondly, because this is the way He has organised His Kingdom.

She is not to be worshipped as St Louis de Montfort reminds us that devotion to her is for the purpose of “being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus Christ”.

As St Margaret Mary, to whom the devotion to the Sacred Heart was revealed, said, “The most efficacious way to have devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

Which creature could possibly know God better than His sinless Mother, who united herself to Him in all His greatest joys and sorrows in this life?

“Let us not imagine, then, as some misguided teachers do, that Mary being simply a creature would be a hindrance to union with the Creator. Far from it, for it is no longer Mary who lives but Jesus Christ Himself, God alone, who lives in her….Mary is the sanctuary and the repose of the Holy Trinity, where God dwells more magnificently and more divinely than in any other place in the universe…the terrestrial paradise of the New Adam…Holy City of God” (St Louis de Montfort).

But let’s not look at this role as the easiest way to have our prayers answered, but rather the best way to honour, love and please God and to come to know and love Him more.

With St Pope John Paul II, let us come to this realisation: “I was already convinced that Mary leads us to Christ, but at that time I began to realise also that Christ leads us to His Mother….I then realised that I could not exclude the Mother of the Lord from my life without disregarding the will of God-the-Trinity, who wanted to ‘begin and complete’ the great mysteries of salvation history with the responsible and faithful collaboration of the humble Handmaid of Nazareth.”

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