Saints and spiritual masters have consistently pointed to the invaluable assistance of the Mother of God in helping us to know and love Christ. Nowhere is this profound reality best captured than by this beautiful hymn:
Mary the Dawn, Christ the Perfect Day;
Mary the Gate, Christ the Heav’nly Way!
Mary the Root, Christ the Mystic Vine;
Mary the Grape, Christ the Sacred Wine!
Mary the Wheat-sheaf, Christ the Living Bread;
Mary the Rose-Tree, Christ the Rose Blood-red!
Mary the Font, Christ the Cleansing Flood;
Mary the Chalice, Christ the Saving Blood!
Mary the Temple, Christ the Temple’s Lord;
Mary the Shrine, Christ the God adored!
Mary the Beacon, Christ the Haven’s Rest;
Mary the Mirror, Christ the Vision Blest!
Mary the Mother, Christ the Mother’s Son.
Both ever blest while endless ages run.
Father Justin Mulcahy, C.P., (1894-1981)
In Romans 13 St. Paul instructs us to “give honour to whom honour is due”. So if we are called to give honour to whom honour is due, the Archangel Gabriel under God’s command gives honour to Mary, then we are honouring God if we reflect that same disposition. A corresponding conclusion is that if we are honouring God by honouring Mary, then we are not in any way robbing God of devotion due to Him; we are in fact giving Him our worship by doing so!
Father Garrigou Lagrange, in his book the ‘Three Ages of the Interior Life’, sums her role up effectively: “When the bases of the interior life are considered, we cannot discuss the action of Christ, the universal Mediator, on His mystical body without also speaking of the influence of Mary… many persons delude themselves maintaining that they reach union with God without having continuous recourse to Our Lord who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Another error would consist in wishing to go to Our Lord without going first to Mary… Protestants have fallen into this last error. Without going as far as this deviation, there are Catholics who do not see clearly enough the necessity of having recourse to Mary that they may attain to intimacy with the Saviour. St. Louis de Montfort speaks even of ‘doctors who know the Mother of God only in a speculative, dry, sterile, and indifferent manner; who fear that devotion to the Blessed Virgin is abused, and that injury is done to our Lord by honouring too greatly His Holy Mother…’ They seem to believe that Mary is a hindrance to reaching divine union. According to St. Louis de Montfort, we lack humility if we neglect the mediators whom God has given us because of our frailty. Intimacy with Our Lord in prayer will be greatly facilitated by true and profound devotion to Mary.
“[Another] good which Our Lady does for her servants is that she conducts and directs them according to the will of her Divine Son… Mary, who is the Star of the Sea, leads all her faithful servants into a safe harbour. She shows them the paths of eternal life. She makes them avoid the dangerous places. She conducts them by her hand along the paths of justice. She steadies them when they are about to fall; she lifts them up when they have fallen. She reproves them like a charitable mother when they fail; and sometimes she even lovingly chastises them. Can a child obedient to Mary, his foster-Mother and his enlightened guide, go astray in the paths of eternity? ‘If you follow her,’ says St. Bernard, ‘you cannot wander from the road.’”