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The Blessed Virgin Mary is dear to the Father, Who admires her loving heart, which caused her to say 'yes' to His plan of salvation. He is glad to see her honoured by the Church.
Christ loves and honours His beloved Mother Mary. He wants us to love and honour her, and to give her special honour in and through the Church. He delights in seeing Popes and Bishops set an example in this, by their sincere prayers and other acts of devotion at Marian shrines, and before images of Our Blessed Lady.
In the Father's sight, it is tragic that many Christians refuse to honour the Virgin Mother of their Saviour. How can they imagine that the perfect son of a perfect mother does not love her, does not honour her, and does not want all His friends to honour her, too? These Christians find out the truth when they die, and lament their previous blindness.
The Blessed Virgin Mary is dear to God the Father. Christ, Son of God and of Mary, loves His Mother and wants her to be loved and honoured. It is tragic, in His sight, that some Christians refuse to honour her. They discover, in Purgatory, the truth about their neglect of her, and they bewail the blindness of their earthly lives.
The prayers of St. Joseph are badly-needed today: the one whom Christ looks on with love, grateful for that care by 'the chaste spouse of Our Lady' for both the Christ-child and His Virgin Mother. This is a time of moral decay, when even many Catholics are ignorant of the Church's moral teachings, or dispute them, or disobey them for a life-time whilst telling themselves that God 'doesn't mind'!
Although the images we see of her are so often peaceful, Mary, the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, was sometimes exhausted, excluded, overlooked and mocked. We must be confident that she understands our difficulties, as we try to do God's work, in our fallen natures, in a fallen world.
It is not the Bishop's primary task to encourage people to 'save the planet' or merely to leave the world a better place - though we are trying to build God's Kingdom. The Bishop is a man who stands in front of the Abyss, his arms upraised, preaching, as he strives to lead his flock to repent of their sins while they can, to confess them, and to lead holy lives in preparation for Heaven.
Our Blessed Lady, who is not Divine, was chosen for a special role. In consenting to conceive within her womb the very Son of God, she allowed Him to show out more clearly than ever His Divine nature: His love, compassion, willingness to share our lives from beginning to end, and His mercy and tenderness. Christ showed out, on earth, as man, what the Triune God is like: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one all-holy Creator and Redeemer.
Our Blessed Lady, standing in a snowy landscape, represents a perfect, sinless woman in a world populated by selfish, hard-hearted sinners. She was the perfect receptacle for the Son of God, descended from Heaven to save us. She never ceases to hold in her Immaculate heart the needs of all 'children of God', hence her numerous visits to this world throughout the centuries.
We act like wise 'children of God', if we go to Mary, our Blessed Mother, seeking her help in approaching the Father through Christ, in prayer. She can help us to purify our intention, to clarify our thoughts, and to prepare a Gift for the Lord, the gift being the thoughts, words, offerings we offer each day, perhaps with a special degree of hope, patience, or long-suffering.
People walk toward Christ and Our Lady when they approach the Grotto at Lourdes; and whenever people approach Christ and His Mother - through the Blessed Sacrament, or at Mass, or at a shrine, or in private prayer - they are 'walking in the right direction'.
She is only human; however, Our Lady can bring down Divine grace upon us. When the Blessed Virgin Mary reaches up in prayer to her son, to ask Him to help us, He hears her; and when her son turns to His Heavenly Father, in Heaven, the Father hears Him; so we can be confident that it is worthwhile, in every situation, to seek the help of our dear mother, the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God.
As Jesus was close to Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus died, so, He is close to all who mourn and weep today, sharing their sorrow.
The Church recommends to her children many devotions, three special ones having been practiced by Saints through the ages; we honour Jesus in His Sacred Passion; we adore Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament; and we honour His Holy Virgin Mother Mary, at whose consent Jesus was made flesh in our world.
The Blessed Virgin Mary surpasses all the other Saints so much, in holiness, that she is as far 'above' them as a viewing platform is far above a deep valley. Truly, she is worthy of our deep veneration, though not to be adored as we adore her Divine Son.
If we treat our fellow-creatures with contempt or hard-heartedness, we cannot draw down graces from Heaven by our special devotions to Our Blessed Lady, no matter what efforts we put into our devotions. We cannot please Our Mother whilst blithely disobeying the advice, and the Commandments, of her beloved Son.
These are difficult times for Catholics; yet in our day, in Europe, we have not yet had to remain hidden away, fleeing to underground passages, like the first Christians in the catacombs. But we can learn from their example. What devotion to Christ - and to Mary, when, at the end of persecutions, they built a great basilica to celebrate the Faith, for the glory of God!
Christ wants us all to know how deeply He rejoices in our devotion to 'Our Lady of Sorrows'. It was the Father Who made Mary worthy to be mother of Jesus, gave her the courage to persevere even through her Son's Passion - and so to enjoy His Resurrection.
It's as if Mary waits at the edge of Heaven, looking out for us. Our Blessed Mother can help us all, by her intercession; but what she is pleased to hear us say is: "I'm sorry I've done wrong, but I'm going to put things right". Through her prayers, we can find the courage to approach her Son, in real trust and repentance.
Many Christians make a dreadful error in refusing to know Our Lady or to seek her prayers. They draw a curtain over centuries of Christian devotions to her, devotions she deserves because of her central place in God's plan of salvation. How shocking, to ignore the mother of God!
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