Our Life, Our Sweetness and Our Hope
The month of May is the “month which the piety of the faithful has especially dedicated to Our Blessed Lady,” and it is the occasion for a “moving tribute of faith and love which Catholics in every part of the world pay to the Queen of Heaven. During this month Christians, both in church and in the privacy of the home, offer up to Mary from their hearts an especially fervent and loving homage of prayer and veneration. In this month, too, the benefits of God’s mercy come down to us from her throne in greater abundance” (Paul VI: Encyclical on the Month of May, no. 1).
This Christian custom of dedicating the month of May to the Blessed Virgin arose at the end of the 13th century. In this way, the Church was able to Christianize the secular feasts which were wont to take place at that time. In the 16th century, books appeared and fostered this devotion.
The practice became especially popular among the members of the Jesuit Order — by 1700 it took hold among their students at the Roman College and a bit later it was publicly practiced in the Gesu Church in Rome. From there it spread to the whole Church.
The practice was granted a partial indulgence by Pius VII in 1815 and a plenary indulgence by Pius IX in 1859. With the complete revision of indulgences in 1966 and the decreased emphasis on specific indulgences, it no longer carries an indulgence; however it certainly falls within the category of the First General Grant of Indulgences. (A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, in the performance of their duties and in bearing the trials of life, raise their mind with humble confidence to God, adding — even if only mentally — some pious invocation.
Excerpted from Enchiridion of Indulgences.
The Month of Mary and the Popes
The pious practice of honoring Mary during the month of May has been especially recommended by the Popes. Pius XII made frequent reference to it and in his great Encyclical on the Sacred Liturgy (Mediator Dei) characterized it as one of “other exercises of piety which although not strictly belonging to the Sacred Liturgy, are nevertheless of special import and dignity, and may be considered in a certain way to be an addition to the liturgical cult: they have been approved and praised over and over again by the Apostolic See and by the Bishops” (no. 182).
Paul VI wrote a short encyclical in 1965 using the Month of Mary devotion as a means of obtaining prayers for peace. He urged the faithful to make use of this practice which is “gladdening and consoling” and by which the Blessed Virgin Mary is honored and the Christian people are enriched with spiritual gifts” (no. 2).
In May of 2002 Pope John Paul II said, “Today we begin the month dedicated to Our Lady a favourite of popular devotion. In accord with a long-standing tradition of devotion, parishes and families continue to make the month of May a ‘Marian’ month, celebrating it with many devout liturgical, catechetical and pastoral initiatives!”
Devotion to Mary
The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of the Church and therefore the example, as well as the guide and inspiration, of everyone who, in and through the Church, seeks to be the servant of God and man and the obedient agent of the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, as Pope Leo XIII reminded us, is the soul of the Church: All the activity and service of the members of the Church, beginning with the supreme participation of the Blessed Mother in the work of the Church, is vivified by the Holy Spirit as the body, in all its activities, is vivified by its soul. The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete, Advocate, and Comforter which Christ Himself sent to be our consolation in the sorrowful mysteries of life, our source of moderation in the joyful mysteries of life, our added principle of exaltation in the glorious mysteries of life.
So He was for the Blessed Mother; so also He is for the least of us; so also He is for the rest of the Church, even for those who are its unconscious but conscientious members.
Wherever there is faith there is the example of Mary, because she lived by faith as the Scriptures remind us….
If, then, piety is the virtue which binds us to the sources of all life, to God, to our parents, to the Church, to Christ, certainly Christian piety binds us, in grateful love, to Mary — or our acceptance of Christ and of the mystery of our kinship with Him is imperfect, partial, and unfulfilled.
— Cardinal John Wright
Ways to honor Mary during the month of May
~Daily Mass. The absolute best way to honor the Blessed Mother is to honor, love and worship her Son. If you can, try to make an extra effort to get to daily mass. If you can’t make it everyday, try to go a couple of times during the week.
~Pray the Rosary. The rosary is one of the most powerful prayer on earth. Make every possible effort to pray the rosary every day.Mary’s primary message at Fatima was “pray my rosary”.She said it over and over again and what better way to honor her than by doing as she requested especially during the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Fatima!5 decades only takes 15 minutes a day but 15 minutes is even better. Pray as a family as often as you can.Scriptural Meditations for praying the rosary
~May crowning. May crownings are a beautiful tradition in May.Usually parishes with a school have these and they process a statue into the church singing hymns and crown her with a wreath of flowers.It is a very beautiful way to honor Mary during her month.
~Pray a novena to Mary.My favorite novena is the 54 day rosary novena,its is very powerful!On March 3, 1884, Our Lady of Pompeii appeared before the gravely ill daughter of an Italian military officer and, through her, gave the world a new devotion of tremendous power. For over a year, Fortuna Agrelli had been in great distress and even neardeath. Indeed, her case had been given up as hopeless by the most celebrated physicians. In desperation, on February 16, the afflicted girl and her family began a novena of Rosaries. Two weeks later, the Queen of the Holy Rosary appeared before Fortuna one evening. Sitting upon a high throne, surrounded by luminous figures, Our Lady was holding the Divine Child on Her lap and a Rosary in Her hand. Both were arrayed in golden garments and were accompanied by Sts. Dominic and Catherine of Siena. “Child, your faith has pleased Me.” Our Lady said to Fortuna, “Whoever desires to obtain favors from Me should make three novenas of the Rosary in petition, and three novenas in thanksgiving.” Obedient to Our Lady’s command, Fortuna and her family completed the six novenas whereupon the young girl was restored to perfect health and her family showered with many blessings.54 day rosary novena
~Take a pilgrimage. If there is a Marian shrine not too far from you, going for a visit or day of recollection would be a wonderful way to honor the Blessed Mother. Some shrines offer different Marian devotions during May that you could participate in if it fits your schedule
~Short aspirations. As you go about your busy day, try to lift your heart up to the Lord and Our Lady and whisper a little prayer. Any of the invocations of the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary would make excellent aspirations.One thing I do to help me remember to do this is to put small “sticky” notes discretely around the house. When I see them it reminds me to say a short prayer.
~May flowers. If you have a statue of the Blessed Mother, why not put some flowers at her feet? It’s a sweet way to honor Our Lady and let her know you are thinking of her.
~Five First Saturdays Devotion Start the Five First Saturday’s and if you already have done this beautiful devotion renew it.Five First Saturdays Devotion
~Total Consecration to Mary Consecrate yourself to Mary according to the method of St.Louis de Montfort.Total Consecration to Mary
~Brown Scapular Wear the Brown Scapular and promote it by telling others about it and encouraging others to wear “Our Lady’s garment”.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.The Brown Scapular
~Miraculous Medal Wear the Miraculous medal and watch miracles happen.The Miraculous Medal was created in response to a request from the Blessed Virgin Mary, who entrusted us with our mission. It was given by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself! No wonder, then, that it gives such extraordinary graces to those who wear it and pray for Mary’s intercession and help. Our Lady manifested the Medal to St. Catherine Labouré on November 27, 1830, in the motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac, in Paris.Catherine saw Our Lady standing on a globe, with dazzling rays of light streaming from her outstretched hands. Framing the figure was an inscription: “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” Then Mary spoke to Catherine: “Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck.”The vision then seemed to turn to show the reverse of the Medal: the letter M surmounted by a cross with a bar at its base; below this monogram, the Sacred Heart of Jesus crowned with thorns, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced with a sword.With approval of the Catholic Church, the first medals were made in 1832 and were distributed in Paris. Almost immediately the blessings that Mary had promised began to shower down on those who wore her medal, and soon all of France was clamoring for what the people referred to as the “Miraculous Medal.” Use of the Medal spread from country to country and now blankets the world. Everywhere, the Medal is still drawing down from God blessings for body and soul.The Miraculous Medal
~Our Lady of Sorrows Learn about and practice the devotion to Our Lady’s Sorrows.The promises associated with this devotion are extraordinary!
The Blessed Virgin Mary grants seven graces to the souls who honor her daily by
saying seven Hail Mary’s and meditating on her tears and dolors (sorrows).
The devotion was passed on by St. Bridget.
- I will grant peace to their families.
- They will be enlightened about the divine mysteries.
- I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work.
- I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.
- I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.
- I will visibly help them at the moment of their death, they will see the face of their Mother.
- I have obtained from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors, will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son and I will be their eternal consolation and joy.Seven Sorrows Devotion
~Statue or picture of Mary Show Our Lady how important she is to you and your home by enshrining a statue or picture of Mary in a place of prominence in your home.
~Light a candle Light a candle in Our Lady’s honor every Saturday and teach your children to do this praying or singing hymns to Our Lady.This will foster devotion to Mary and it will be engraved on their hearts.
~The Three Hail Mary’s Devotion Practice the three Hail Mary’s devotion.One of the first to say the three Hail Mary’s and to recommend them to others was the illustrious St. Anthony of Padua. His special aim in this practice was to honor the spotless Virginity of Mary and to preserve a perfect purity of mind, heart and body in the midst of the dangers of the world. Many, like him, have felt its salutary effects.
Later on, St. Leonard of Port-Maurice, the celebrated missionary, had the three Hail Mary’s recited morning and evening in honor of Mary Immaculate, to obtain the grace of avoiding all mortal sins during the day or night; moreover, he promised in a special manner eternal salvation to all those who proved constantly faithful to this practice.
After the example of those two great Franciscan Saints, St. Alphonsus of Liguori adopted this pious practice and gave it his most ardent and powerful support. He counseled its use and even imposed it as a penance on those who had not adopted this good habit.
The holy Doctor exhorts, in particular, parents and confessors to watch carefully that children be faithful in reciting each day their three Hail Mary’s, morning and evening. Or rather, like St. Leonard of Port-Maurice, he earnestly recommends it to all, “to the devout and to sinners, to the young and old.”
Even persons consecrated to God will derive from this practice much precious and salutary fruit. Numerous examples may show how agreeable the three Hail Mary’s are to the Divine Mother and what special graces they draw, during life and at the hour of death, on those who never omit them for a single day.
This practice has been revealed to St. Melchtilde (13th Century) with the promise of a good death, if she was faithful to it, every day.
It is written, also, in St. Gertrude’s revelations: “While this Saint sang the Hail Mary, at the matins of the Annunciation, she suddenly saw spring out from the Heart of the Father and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, three bright flames which penetrated the Heart of the Holy Virgin.” Then she heard the following words: “After the Power of the Father, the Wisdom of the Son and the merciful Tenderness of the Holy Spirit, nothing approaches the Power, the Wisdom and the merciful Tenderness of Mary.”
His Holiness Benedict XV has raised the Confraternity of the Three Hail Mary’s to an Archconfraternity by according it precious indulgences with the power to aggregate to itself all Confraternities of the same kind, and to communicate them its own indulgences.
Practice: Recite, morning and evening, three Hail Mary’s in honor of the three great privileges, 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.”
(Indulgences of 200 days granted by Leo XIII, 300 days for the members of the Archconfraternity of the Three Hail Mary’s by Benedict XV, and Apostolic Benediction by Pius X.)The Three Hail Marys Devotion
~The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary Recite the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary
~The Angelus Recite the Angelus every day.There is a great little app that you can dowlaod on your phone that will remind you to pray the angelus at the approprite hours of the day.The Angelus Prayer
~Hail Mary on the hour Begin every hour while awake with a Hail Mary
~Union with Mary Begin all actions no matter how trivial with a Hail Mary
~Offer it up for Mary Make sacrifices and acts of charity in Mary’s honor and for her intentions.
~Holy Communions for Mary Offer up all your communions in Mary’s honor and for her intentions
Quotes on Mary to inspire you during the month of May
To be devout to you, O holy Virgin, is an arm of salvation which God gives to those whom He wishes to save” ~St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church
“If you persevere until death in true devotion to Mary, your salvation is certain.” ~St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church
“While Peter has the keys of heaven, Mary has the key to God’s heart; while Peter binds and looses, Mary also binds with the chains of love and looses with the gift of pardon. While Peter is the guardian and the minister of indulgences, Mary is the generous and wise treasurer of God’s favors. ‘He who desires grace and does not have recourse to Mary, desires to fly without wings.’ (Dante)” ~Pope Pius XII
“Honor your father and your mother” (Ex. 20:12)
“Trust Mary, implore her aid.” (Pope Leo XIII)
“Mary is our sure way to Christ.” (Pope St. Pius X)
“Mary…is the surest means of leading souls to Jesus.” (Pope Pius XII)
“He who is devout to the Virgin Mother will certainly never be lost.” (St. Ignatius of Antioch)
“Happy is he who lives and dies under the protection of the Blessed Virgin.” (St. John Vianney)
“We ought to love the Blessed Virgin very much.” (St. John Vianney)
“Pray to her that she may give you the strength to follow him to the end with faith.” (Pope Pius XII)
“All the saints have a great devotion to Our Lady” (St. John Vianney)
“…all know how much more sure is our salvation if we serve the Mother of God” (Muller)
“With what ardor ought we to honor Mary, in whom was set all the fullness of good!” (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church)
“Love Our Lady and make her loved. Recite the Rosary and recite it always and as much as you can.” [St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio), two days before his death]
“To be devout to you, O holy Virgin, is an arm of salvation which God gives to those whom He wishes to save” (St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church)
“Those who lack the faith are to recommended particularly to Mary as a means to finding Christ, the Son of God.” (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)
“I have never read of any saint who did not have a special devotion to the glorious Virgin” (St. Bonaventure, Doctor of the Church, 13th century A.D.)
“If you persevere until death in true devotion to Mary, your salvation is certain.” (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)
“The faithful also cherish the firm belief, supported by long experience, that all those who seek Mary’s protection will be saved for all eternity.” (Pope Benedict XV)
“If you invoke the Blessed Virgin when you are tempted, she will come at once to your help, and Satan will leave you.” (St. John Vianney)
“There is no sinner in the world, however much at enmity with God, who cannot recover God’s grace by recourse to Mary, and asking her assistance.” (St. Bridget of Sweden)
“When you want to offer anything to God, take care to offer it by the most agreeable and worthy hands of Mary, unless you wish to have it rejected.” (St. Bernard, Doctor of the Church)
“The mightiest helper of the Christian people, and the most merciful, is the Virgin Mother of God. How fitting it is to accord her honor ever increasing in splendor.” (Pope Leo XIII)
“Let all, with humble prayer and entreaty, implore of God, through the intercession of Mary… We know, indeed, from experience that such prayer, born of charity and trust in the Virgin, has never been in vain.” (Pope St. Pius X)
“When our hands have touched spices, they give fragrance to all they handle. Let us make our prayers pass through the hands of the Blessed Virgin. She will make them fragrant.” (St. John Vianney)
“What honor, what loves does not our Lord oblige us to render her, since He has filled her with the plentitude of all good in such a way that, if we have some chance of salvation, we have it all from Mary.” (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church)
“To serve Mary and to be her courtier is the greatest honor one can possibly possess, for to serve the Queen of Heaven is already to reign there, and to live under her commands is more than to govern.” (St. John of Damascus, Doctor of the Church)
“Mary will assist us if we but call upon her. There is not a single unhappy soul or sinner in the world who calls upon Mary who is left without mercy. Anyone who invokes her will have the wounds of his soul healed.” (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)
“Devotion to Mary will make possible in you a better understanding of Christ and a more intense union with his mysteries. You will receive Christ from his mother’s arms and she will allow you to love him and imitate him.” (Pope Pius XII)
“Fly with greater confidence to the Mother of God. There the Christian people have always sought chief refuge at the hour of danger, because ‘she has been constituted the cause of salvation for the whole human race.’ (St. Irenaeus)”
“Poor abandoned sinners, do not despair! Raise your eyes to Mary and be comforted, trusting in the clemency of this good Mother. For she will rescue you from the shipwreck you have suffered and conduct you to the haven of salvation.” (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)
“Let us take as our mediatrix with God the most glorious Virgin Mary, the invincible Queen of the Rosary, Who has such great power over the forces of hell, and has so many times made Italy feel the effects of Her maternal love.” (Pope Leo XIII, “Dall’alto Dell’apostolico Seggio”, 1890)
“Can. 1276 It is good and useful suppliantly to invoke the Servants of God reigning together with Christ and to venerate their relics and images; but before the others, all the faithful shall follow the Blessed Virgin Mary with filial devotion.” (1917 Code of Canon Law)
“It is well known that we have taken advantage of every opportunity – through personal audiences and radio broadcasts – to exhort Our children in Christ to a strong and tender love, as becomes children, for Our most gracious and exalted Mother.” (Pope Pius XII, “Ad Caeli Reginam”, 1954)
“Take shelter under our Lady’s mantle, and do not fear. She will give you all you need. She is very rich, and besides is so very generous with her children. So take advantage without fear and with complete confidence, whenever you need anything. She loves giving.” (St. Raphaela Mary)
“I believe that anyone who wishes to be devout and live piously in Jesus will suffer persecution and will have a daily cross to carry. But he will never manage to carry a heavy cross, or carry it joyfully and perseveringly, with out a trusting devotion to our Lady, who is the very sweetness of the cross.” (St. Louis de Montfort)
“It seems unbelievable that a man should perish in whose favor Christ said to His Mother: ‘Behold thy son’ – provided that he has not turned a deaf ear to the words which Christ addressed to him: ‘Behold thy Mother.'” (St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church)
“Nothing seems more appropriate and valuable to us than to have the prayers of the whole Christian family rise to the Mother of God, who is invoked as the Queen of Peace, begging her to pour forth abundant gifts of her maternal goodness in the midst of so many great trials and hardships.” (Pope Paul VI)
“Thus the Faithful of every age, both in public misfortune and in private need, turn in supplication to Mary…so that she may come to their aid and grant help and remedy against sorrows of body and soul. And never was her most powerful aid hoped for in vain by those who besought it with pious and trustful prayer.” (Pope Pius XI, “Ingravescentibus Malis”, 1937)
“Thou wouldst have pardon? Fly to the Mother for protection, for she holds on her lap the Infinite Fountain of Mercy. Often bend thy knee before her, and with hopeful love salute her thus: Hail! Full of Grace! As thou of old didst feed thy Jesus and stay his infant tears; so now, dear mother, appease him angered by our sins.” [From ancient Roman-French Missal (Liturgical Year)]
“If thou fearest that on account of thy faults God in His anger will be avenged, what hast thou to do? Go, have recourse to Mary, who is the hope of sinners; and, if thou fearest that she may refuse to take thy part, know that she cannot do so, for God Himself has imposed on her the duty of succoring the miserable.” (St. Bonaventure, Doctor of the Church)
“Let all, therefore, try to approach with greater trust the throne of grace and mercy of our Queen and Mother, and beg for strength in adversity, light in darkness, consolation in sorrow; above all let them strive to free themselves from the slavery of sin and offer an unceasing homage, filled with filial loyalty, to their Queenly Mother.” (Pope Pius XII, “Ad Caeli Reginam”, 1954)
“God could have given us the Redeemer of the human race and the founder of the Faith in another way than through the Virgin, but since divine Providence has been pleased that we should have the man-God through Mary, who conceived him by the Holy Ghost and bore him in her womb, it only remains for us to receive Christ through the hands of Mary.” (Pope St. Pius X)
“Love for Mary, [St.] Maximilian states, is the simplest and easiest way to sanctify ourselves, fulfilling our Christian vocation. The love of which he speaks is certainly not a superficial sentimentalism, but it is a generous commitment, it is a giving of the whole person, as he himself showed us with his life of evangelical fidelity right up to his heroic death.” (Pope John Paul II)
“While Peter has the keys of heaven, Mary has the key to God’s heart; while Peter binds and looses, Mary also binds with the chains of love and looses with the gift of pardon. While Peter is the guardian and the minister of indulgences, Mary is the generous and wise treasurer of God’s favors. ‘He who desires grace and does not have recourse to Mary, desires to fly without wings.’ (Dante)” (Pope Pius XII)
“Can. 1186 To foster the sanctification of the people of God, the Church commends to the special and filial veneration of Christ’s faithful the Blessed Mary ever-Virgin, the Mother of God, whom Christ constituted the Mother of all. The Church also promotes the true and authentic cult of the other Saints, by whose example the faithful are edified and by whose intercession they are supported.” (1983 Code of Canon Law)
“If devotion to the most holy Virgin Mary is necessary to all men simply for working out their salvation, it is still more so for those who are called to any special perfection; and I do not think anyone can actually acquire an intimate union with Our Lord and a perfect fidelity to the Holy Ghost without a very great union with the most holy Virgin, and a great dependence on her assistance.” (St. Louis Marie de Montfort)
“God gave her all the immense graces necessary to make her the perfect Mother of God, but He also gave her all the graces, the tenderness, the love necessary to be our most perfect and loving Mother. No mother on earth ever loved a child as Our Blessed Lady loves us. Therefore, in all our troubles and sorrows, let us go to Our Blessed Lady with unbounded confidence.” (Fr. O’Sullivan)
“The Catholic Church, schooled by the Holy Ghost, has always most diligently professed, not only to venerate Mary most devoutly as the Mother of the Lord and Redeemer, the Queen of heaven and earth, but also to honor her with filial affection as the most loving Mother who was left to her with the last words of her dying Spouse.” (Pope Benedict XIV)
“Rest assured that the more you turn to Mary in your prayers, meditations, actions and sufferings, seeing her if not perhaps clearly and distinctly, at least in a general and indistinct way, the more surely you will discover Jesus. For he is far greater, more powerful, more active, and more mysterious when acting through Mary than he is in any other creature in the universe, or even in heaven.” (St. Louis de Montfort)
“The Lord, the apostles, and the prophets have taught us that we must venerate in the first place the Holy Mother of God, who is above all the heavenly powers. If anyone does not confess that the holy, ever virgin Mary, really and truly the Mother of God, is higher than all creatures visible and invisible, and does not implore with a sincere faith her intercession, given her powerful access to our God born of her, let him be anathema.” (Second Council of Nicaea)
“This storm of evils, in the midst of which the Church struggles so strenuously, reveals to all her pious children the holy duty whereto they are bound to pray to God with instance, and the manner in which they may give to their prayers the greater power. Faithful to the religious example of our fathers, let us have recourse to Mary, our holy Sovereign. Let us entreat, let us beseech, with one heart, Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, our Mother.” (Pope Leo XIII, “Octobri Mense”, 1891)
“All our perfection consists in being conformed, united, and consecrated to Jesus Christ; and therefore the most perfect of all devotions is, without any doubt, that which most perfectly conforms, unites, and consecrates us to Jesus Christ. Now, Mary being the most conformed of all creatures to Jesus Christ, it follows that of all devotions, that which most consecrates and conforms the soul to our Lord is devotion to His holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to Mary, the more it is consecrated to Jesus.” (St. Louis de Montfort)
“What can I say of her whom earth and heaven cease not to praise, though never as her merits deserve? May you believe beyond all doubt that, as she is higher and better and more holy than all human mothers, so she is more gracious and tender toward every sinner who turns to her. Cease, therefore, every sinful desire and, prostrate before her, pour out your tears from a humble and contrite heart. You will find her, I surely promise you, more ready than any earthly mother and more lenient in her love for you.” (Pope St. Gregory VII, 1074 A.D.)
“During periods of stress and trial – chiefly when every lawlessness of act seems permitted to the powers of darkness – it has been the custom in the Church to plead with special fervor and perseverance to God, her author and protector, by recourse to the intercession of the saints – and chiefly of the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God – whose patronage has ever been the most efficacious. The fruit of these pious prayers and of the confidence reposed in the Divine goodness, has always, sooner or later, been made apparent.” (Pope Leo XIII, “Quamquam Pluries”, 1889)
“When Mary interposes her powerful protection, the gates of hell cannot prevail. She, in fact, is the most loving and most powerful Mother of God, and of us all, and never was it heard that anyone has had suppliant recourse to her and has not experienced her most efficacious protection. Continue, therefore, as you have been doing, to venerate her with fervent piety, and to love her ardently and to invoke her with these words which you have been accustomed to address to her: ‘To you alone has it been given O most holy and most pure Mother of God, unfailingly to have your petitions ever answered.'” (Pope Pius XII)
“I consider it impossible then for those who believe the Church to be one vast body in heaven and earth, in which every holy creature of God has his place, and of which prayer is the life, when once they recognize the sanctity and dignity of the blessed Virgin, not to perceive immediately, that her office above is one of perpetual intercession for the faithful militant, and that our very relation to her must be that of clients to a patron, and that, in the eternal enmity which exists between the woman and the serpent [that is, Satan], while the serpent’s strength lies in being the tempter, the weapon of the second Eve and Mother of God is prayer.” (Cardinal Newman)
“I answer that, Since latria is due to God alone, it is not due to a creature so far as we venerate a creature for its own sake. For though insensible creatures are not capable of being venerated for their own sake, yet the rational creature is capable of being venerated for its own sake. Consequently the worship of latria is not due to any mere rational creature for its own sake. Since, therefore, the Blessed Virgin is a mere rational creature, the worship of latria is not due to her, but only that of dulia: but in a higher degree than to other creatures, inasmuch as she is the Mother of God. For this reason we say that not any kind of dulia is due to her, but hyperdulia.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and “greatest theologian in the history of the Church”)
“… many others have proved invincibly, from the sentiments of the Fathers (among others, St. Augustine, St. Ephrem, deacon of Edessa, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Germanus of Constantinople, St. John Damascene, St. Anselm, St. Bernard, St. Bernardine, St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure), that devotion to our Blessed Lady is necessary to salvation, and that…it is an infallible mark of reprobation to have no esteem and love for the holy Virgin; while on the other hand, it is an infallible mark of predestination to be entirely and truly devoted to her.” (St. Louis Marie de Montfort)
“Before such splendor of virtue, the first duty of all those who recognize in the Mother of Christ the model of the Church, is to unite themselves to her in giving thanks to the Most High for working great things in Mary for the benefit of all mankind. But this is not enough. It is also the duty of all the faithful to pay as tribute to the most faithful handmaid of the Lord, a veneration of praise, of gratitude and of love because, by a wise and mild divine provision, her free consent and her generous cooperation in the designs of God had, and still have, a great influence in the attainment of human salvation. Therefore every Christian must make St. Anselm’s prayer his own: ‘Oh, glorious Lady, grant that through you we may deserve to ascend to Jesus, your Son, who through you deigned to descend among us.'” (Pope Paul VI, 1967 A.D.)
“[W]ho will not see that we have with good reason claimed for Mary that – as the constant companion of Jesus from the house at Nazareth to the height of Calvary, as beyond all others initiated to the secrets of his Heart, and as the distributor, by right of her Motherhood, of the treasures of His merits, – she is, for all these reasons, a most sure and efficacious assistance to us for arriving at the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. Those, alas! furnish us by their conduct with a peremptory proof of it, who seduced by the wiles of the demon or deceived by false doctrines think they can do without the help of the Virgin. Hapless are they who neglect Mary under pretext of the honor to be paid to Jesus Christ! As if the Child could be found elsewhere than with the Mother!” (Pope St. Pius X, “Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum”, 1904)
“Just as in natural and bodily generation there is a father and a mother, so in the supernatural and spiritual generation there is a father who is God and a mother who is Mary. All true children of God have God for their father and Mary for their mother; anyone who does not have Mary for his mother, does not have God for his father. This is why the reprobate, such as heretics and schismatics, who hate, despise or ignore the Blessed Virgin, do not have God for their father though they arrogantly claim they have, because they do not have Mary for their mother. Indeed if they had her for their mother they would love and honor her as good and true children naturally love and honor the mother who gave them life. An infallible and unmistakable sign by which we can distinguish a heretic, a man of false doctrine, an enemy of God, from one of God’s true friends is that the heretic and the hardened sinner show nothing but contempt and indifference for our Lady.” (St. Louis Marie de Montfort)
“When we present anything to Jesus by ourselves, and relying on our own efforts and dispositions, Jesus examines the offering, and often rejects it because of the stains it has contracted through self-love, just as of old He rejected the sacrifices of the Jews when they were full of their own will. But when we present Him anything by the pure and virginal hands of His well-beloved, we take Him by His weak side, if it is allowable to use such a term. He does not consider so much the thing that is given Him as the Mother who presents it. He does not consider so much whence the offering comes, as by whom it comes. Thus Mary, who is never repelled but always well received by her Son, makes everything she presents to Him, great or small, acceptable to His Majesty. Mary has but to present it for Jesus to accept it and be pleased with it.” (St. Louis Marie de Montfort)
“Let all the children of the Catholic Church, who are so very dear to us, hear these words of ours. With a still more ardent zeal for piety, religion and love, let them continue to venerate, invoke and pray to the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, conceived without original sin. Let them fly with utter confidence to this most sweet Mother of mercy and grace in all dangers, difficulties, needs, doubts and fears. Under her guidance, under her patronage, under her kindness and protection, nothing is to be feared; nothing is hopeless. Because, while bearing toward us a truly motherly affection and having in her care the work of our salvation, she is solicitous about the whole human race. And since she has been appointed by God to be the Queen of heaven and earth, and is exalted above all the choirs of angels and saints, and even stands at the right hand of her only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she presents our petitions in a most efficacious manner. What she asks, she obtains. Her pleas can never be unheard.” (Pope Pius IX, “Ineffabilis Deus”, 1854)
“Among the saints in heaven the Virgin Mary Mother of God is venerated in a special way. Because of the mission she received from God, her life is most closely linked with the mysteries of Jesus Christ, and there is no one who has followed in the footsteps of the Incarnate Word more closely and with more merit than she: and no one has more grace and power over the most Sacred Heart of the Son of God and through Him with the Heavenly Father. Holier than the Cherubim and Seraphim, she enjoys unquestionably greater glory than all the other saints, for she is ‘full of grace,’ she is the Mother of God, who happily gave birth to the Redeemer for us. Since she is therefore, ‘Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope,’ let us all cry to her ‘mourning and weeping in this vale of tears,’ and confidently place ourselves and all we have under her patronage. She became our Mother also when the divine Redeemer offered the sacrifice of Himself; and hence by this title also, we are her children. She teaches us all the virtues; she gives us her Son and with Him all the help we need, for God ‘wished us to have everything through Mary.'” (Pope Pius XII, “Mediator Dei”, 1947)
“In Mary we see how a truly good and provident God has established for us a most suitable example of every virtue. As we look upon her and think about her we are not cast down as though stricken by the overpowering splendor of God’s power; but, on the contrary, attracted by the closeness of the common nature we share with her, we strive with greater confidence to imitate her. If we, with her powerful help, should dedicate ourselves wholly and entirely to this undertaking, we can portray at least an outline of such great virtue and sanctity, and reproducing that perfect conformity of our lives to all God’s designs which she possessed in so marvelous a degree, we shall follow her into heaven. Undaunted and full of courage, let us go on with the pilgrimage we have undertaken even though the way be rough and full of obstacles. Amid the vexation and toil let us not cease to hold out suppliant hands to Mary with the words of the Church: ‘To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears; turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us…Keep our lives all spotless, make our ways secure, till we find in Jesus joys that will endure.'” (Pope Leo XIII, “Magnae Dei Matris”, 1892)
“And you, Venerable Brethren, – the more you have at heart the honor of Mary, and the welfare of human society, the more diligently apply yourselves to nourish the piety of the people towards the great Virgin, and to increase their confidence in her. We believe it to be part of the designs of Providence that, in these times of trial for the Church, the ancient devotion to the august Virgin should live and flourish amid the greatest part of the Christian world. May now the Christian nations, excited by Our exhortations, and inflamed by your appeals, seek the protection of Mary with an ardor growing greater day by day; let them cling more and more to the practice of the Rosary, to that devotion which our ancestors were in the habit of practicing, not only as an ever-ready remedy for their misfortunes, but as a whole badge of Christian piety. The heavenly Patroness of the human race will receive with joy these prayers and supplications, and will easily obtain that the good shall grow in virtue, and that the erring should return to salvation and repent; and that God who is the avenger of crime, moved to mercy and pity may deliver Christendom and civil society from all dangers, and restore to them peace so much desired.” (Pope Leo XIII, “Supremi Apostolatus Officio”, 1883 A.D.)
“In her Revelations, St. Bridget of Sweden quotes the Blessed Mother as saying: ‘The people of earth have need of a triple mercy: sorrow for their sins, penance to atone for them, and strength to do good.’ And Mary promised these mercies to all who would call upon her. As the Son shows the Father the wounds He received in saving man in the Battle of Calvary, so Mary shows the body pierced with seven swords in the same Siege against Sin. No sinner in the world is beyond the hope of redemption; no one is so cursed that he cannot obtain pardon if he but calls on Mary. It is necessary to be in the state of sanctifying grace to be saved, but it is not necessary to be in the state of grace to call on Mary. As she was the representative of sinful humanity who gave consent to the Redemption, so she is still the representative of those who are not yet in the sate of friendship with God. It is easy for the brothers of Christ to call on the Father, but it is not easy for the strangers and the enemies. This role Mary plays. She is not only the Mother of those who are not in the state of grace but also the Queen of those who are not. The true name of Satan is ‘Without Mercy’ (Hos. 1:6,8), one whose nature cannot ask for pardon. He first tries to convince a soul that evil is not evil; then, when evil is done, he tries to convince it that there is no hope. Thus does presumption beget despair. Satan refuses the humiliation of pardon both for himself and for others, but Mary asks pardon even for those who, as agents of Satan, would recrucify her Son. Her name is the antithesis of Satan: ‘One who has received Mercy’ (Hos. 2:1), and therefore one who dispenses it.” (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)
“Mary…is interpreted to mean ‘Star of the Sea.’ This admirably befits the Virgin Mother. There is indeed a wonderful appropriateness in this comparison of her with a star, because as a star sends out its rays without harm to itself, so did the Virgin bring forth her Child without injury to her integrity. And as the ray does not diminish the rightness of the star, so neither did the Child born of her tarnish the beauty of Mary’s virginity. She is therefore that glorious star, which, as the prophet said, arose out of Jacob, whose ray enlightens the whole earth, whose splendor shines out for all to see in heaven and reaches even unto hell… She, I say, is that shining and brilliant star, so much needed, set in place above life’s great and spacious sea, glittering with merits, all aglow with examples for our imitation. Oh, whosoever thou art that perceiveth thyself during this mortal existence to be rather drifting in treacherous waters, at the mercy of the winds and the waves, than walking on firm ground, turn not away thine eyes from the splendor of this guiding star, unless thou wish to be submerged by the storm! When the storms to temptation burst upon thee, when thou seest thyself driven upon the rocks of tribulation, look at the star, call upon Mary. When buffeted by the billows of pride, or ambition, or hatred, or jealousy, look at the star, call upon Mary. Should anger, or avarice, or fleshly desire violently assail the frail vessel of thy soul, look at the star, call upon Mary. If troubled on account of the heinousness of thy sins, distressed at the filthy state of thy conscience, and terrified at the thought of the awful judgment to come, thou art beginning to sink into the bottomless gulf of sadness and to be swallowed in the abyss of despair, then think of Mary. In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name leave thy lips, never suffer it to leave thy heart. And that thou mayest more surely obtain the assistance of her prayer, see that thou dost walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, thou shalt never go astray; whilst invoking her, thou shalt never lose heart; so long as she is in thy mind, thou shalt not be deceived; whilst she holds thy hand, thou canst not fall; under her protection, thou hast nothing to fear; if she walks before thee, thou shalt not grow weary; if she shows thee favor, thou shalt reach the goal” (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church)