Saturday, September 30, 2006

Opus Angelorum: Why Pray to Our Lady?

I have had much benefit from the spiritual material on the Opus Angelorum website and I'm not sure how many Grotto-goers, and others know of this rich resource. I'm going to begin leading you to some of these wonderful "circulars" they have on their website.

There are circulars for lay people, circulars for youth, and circulars for priests. What has surprised me is the richness of the youth circulars, which are truly applicable to adults, as well.

In the last 40 years, as traditional devotions were downplayed or ignored in many corners of the Church, the notion of praying to the Blessed Mother has become as foreign to many Catholics, as it is for many Protestants. Hopefully, this article can give us all reason to let her be our mother, as Christ intended on the Cross (John 19:17).

Why Pray to Our Lady?

God's Family

The most basic group or society of all is the family. The family is made up of father, mother and children. Family life, at its best, includes the presence of both parents. Something is lacking if either Mom or Dad is not present in a truly loving manner.

Now the Church can be described as a family. St. Paul never tires of calling the early Christians "brothers". The frequency with which he uses this term expresses the family spirit that ought to penetrate the life of the Church. Here we will quote but a few instances: "I do appeal to you, brothers, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, to make up the differences between you, and instead of disagreeing among yourselves, to be united again in your belief and practice" (I Cor 1,10). In another place this Apostle speaks of "our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the Church at Cenchreae" (Rom 16,1), and later sends "greetings to Asyncritus, Phlegon,... and all the brothers who are with them" (Rm 16,14). It is very clear that the life of the Church is a family life and that God is the Father of this family. St. Paul starts all thirteen of his letters by mentioning God the Father and nearly always refers to Him as "God our Father". Here it will suffice to show how he greets the Christians of Rome: "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom 1,7).

God is our Father, we are the members of His family. It is for this reason that Our Lord taught us to pray "Our Father, who art in heaven". It is precisely because we have one Father that we are one family of brothers and sisters. We should now ask ourselves: is it possible that God has left this family without Mother? St. Paul tells us that we are "members of the household of God" (Eph 2,19). Is it reasonable to think of a household without a mother? Did Jesus leave us without a mother and still desire that we live as a family?

As He was dying on the Cross He bequeathed to us a gift beyond all proportions. He looked at His beloved disciple and said: "Behold, your mother" (Jn 19,17). To whom was Jesus speaking? Clearly, He first meant to address St. John. But what about yourself and myself, are we not disciples of Jesus, are we not also His beloved disciples? Without any doubt these words were meant for all followers of Christ. Mary is therefore the Mother of Christians.

This is also evident from the Book of Revelation when it speaks of the dragon being enraged with the woman and going off to "make war on the rest of her children, that is, all who obey God's commandments and bear witness for Jesus" (Rev 12,17). All those who bear witness to Christ are children of the woman, of Our Blessed Lady.

Continue reading Why Pray to Our Lady?