Milk and cookies piety

Once again from the blog of the USCCB Media office, Sr. Mary Ann Walsh has a nice piece.  This isn’t high theology, but it has the advantage of direct simplicity and an image which everyone can resonate with.

I was taken by the image of cookies.  I am not a fan of Oreos, but, as I have said at other times on this blog, my mother makes the finest chocolate chip cookies in the cosmos.

Motherhood and cookiedom… gotta be a connection.

Devotion to Mary: The Milk and Cookies of Catholicism

I got a great gift the other day – a woodcarving of a seated Madonna holding Jesus with one hand and admiring a piece of fruit – looks like an orange – with the other. It reminds me that I love the Blessed Virgin because she is a very human representation of holiness.  [What Sister might not know, is that the orange in some schools of Italian painting is a symbol of the resurrection.  Sometimes it is depicted as being peeled.]

This is a bit of homespun theology, but to me Mary is like the milk and cookies of Catholicism – she comforts and nurtures and is there with emotional support. She has exalted titles, such as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. She is patroness of the United States under that title. That’s good for a nation as powerful as the USA, but Mary also has titles which make her seem more accessible.  [Lately I have been invoking her as Mary, Queen of Priests.]

I like the title “Cause of Our Joy,” partially because it is lesser known. It is depicted as Mary with outstretched arms offering Jesus to the world. It was also the name of the Legion of Mary group I belonged to as a teenager. [Causa nostra laetitiae… from the Litany of Loreto if memory serves.]

Other titles have appeal at different times. When I am not sure what to do, I pray to Our Lady of Good Counsel. In times of crisis I pray the Memorare, which I associate with Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. I go to Mary for human and spiritual assurance.  [After every Mass I pray the Memorare for a short list of bishops I either know, have been in any way involved with, or who are under fire. That list includes, btw, Archbp. Lefevbre, who surely needs our prayers in charity.]

I once made up a title. I prayed to Our Lady of the Press Conference before Pope Benedict’s election because I was in Rome, had to host a post-election media conference but didn’t know when it would be or which cardinals would be present or whose election we would herald. I like things more controlled, so I turned to Mary in desperation.

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe caught my imagination when I was 10. I loved the account of the poor Indian Juan Diego who had to convince the local bishop that he had seen the Virgin. When Juan Diego told Mary the bishop wouldn’t believe she had appeared to him, she sent Juan Diego back to the doubter to show him an outpouring of roses on a snowy December morn. Clearly Mary would take the extra step for the little guy who needed help.

Being Irish, I have a fondness for Our Lady of Knock, who appeared with St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist [Mary’s literally God-given adopted son!] on a church wall in Knock, Ireland more than a hundred years ago. Washington’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a majestic church filled with numerous oratories named after titles of the Virgin. The Our Lady of Knock oratory is aglow with Waterford crystal, humble Erin’s brilliant gift.

Devotions learned early stick with you. Pope Benedict XVI prayed at the shrine’s image of Our Lady of Altoetting [Where my mentor Card. Mayer was born and the image on his episcopal coat-of-arms.] when he visited the national shrine in 2008. It is a replica of the one that he visited as a child in his native Bavaria and where he left his cardinal’s ring after he became pope.

Marian devotion has led some people to wrongly accuse Catholics of adoring, rather than revering, Mary, though adoration is reserved to the savior. A parish priest once complained that our annual May procession to honor Mary exceeded our celebration of the Risen Christ at Easter.

Perhaps the affection reflects the emotional aura surrounding Mary, her embodiment of the best of all maternal characteristics. She is the consoler of young children with skinned knees [Which brings to mind what was for me the most powerful moment in Mel Gibson’s movie on the Passion of the Lord.  When Mary sees Christ fall under His Cross, she has a flashback of when he fell down as a child and rushes to Him.  Then in real time, the Lord explains to her from under His Cross, “Behold, I make all things new.”] and the wise counselor of older ones to do the right thing in the face of life’s challenges.

Mary is the milk and cookies of our theology and provides the comfort found in an Oreo, chocolate chip, ginger snap or Social Tea. And she’s just as accessible as the supermarket shelf.

And she ought to be just as common and regular in our daily lives.

If you are Catholic and you don’t have a Marian devotion, might I suggest that you give Our Lady some thought?

In the meantime, allow me to be manipulative!

Repeat after me…

Cookies… cookies…. cookies…

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38 Responses to Milk and cookies piety

  1. Ralph says:

    As a convert from evangelical protestentism, a Marian Devotion has been difficult for me to develop. Although I do take great comfort from the rosary.

    My children, however, who have been raised in the Church their entire lives take to Mary like a duck to water.

    A concern of mine as a convert has been that I sometimes see confusion amongst poorly catechised catholics as to the divinity of Mary. Some seem to put her in a “trinity” with God the Father and Jesus the Son. Even my own children seem prone to this confusion from time to time. The author of the article aluded to this, I think, when she mentioned that more people show up for a May Marian procession than Easter.

  2. TNCath says:

    I must admit that I have been quite impressed with a lot of the things Sister Mary Ann has said on her blog, despite the fact that she does not wear a religious habit and is a member of a religious community, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, not exactly known for upholding traditional Marian devotions the past 40 years. After all those years working for the USCCB, one cannot help but wonder if Sister Mary Ann is having a “conversion experience.”

  3. MJ says:

    Perhaps it’s just me, but I don’t care too much for the Mary to milk and cookies comparison. Maybe it’s just me. “And she’s just as accessible as the supermarket shelf.” This just seems…weird to me. [I think we have to resist the temptation to over-analyze her analogy. She clearly isn’t trying to write a theological tract, but rather to get people to include devotion to Mary in their own daily… daily… lives. But if you don’t agree, how ’bout you write something along the lines you think would be more appropriate?]

  4. I want to know where all these Catholics are, who think Mary is divine. The only people I’ve ever met who had that problem were literally pagan (as in Wiccan), and to be honest they just deified everything they took a fancy to (usually without actually worshipping them, because their idea of a god was a sort of universe power socket for spells or a manifestation of their own personality).

    And no, it really doesn’t count if you ask kids who the Holy Trinity is and they just throw up some names at random. That just means they haven’t been taught to connect “Inna Name of the Father” with the name of the theological concept. Anybody will make crazy guesses, especially if you aren’t using words they know. (As countless polls will demonstrate.) It’s sad (and disgraceful for those who should have taught them) that people don’t always know the right names for theological concepts; but it doesn’t make them heretics. If you just hint, “What do we say in the Sign of the Cross?” or “What do we say in the Creed?”, the kids will come up with the right answer and make the connection, too.

  5. APX says:

    @Father Z
    If you are Catholic and you don’t have a Marian devotion, might I suggest that you give Our Lady some thought?

    How and where does one start with this devotion? I barely know how to pray, let alone have a devotion. Even with the rosary, I find myself saying> it rather than praying it. I feel so lost and frustrated that this seems like stuff I should have learned when I was a kid still.

  6. BaedaBenedictus says:

    It’s funny, I was up till 4am last night with my roommate and my landlord. They are Evangelicals and were trying to use Scripture to show that Catholic Marian devotion is idolatry. They insisted she sinned and had other children, etc. etc. Well, I wasn’t about to let down from a challenge to my mother!!! So a long, long discussion ensued.

    Alas they weren’t convinced and seem to have resolved to “cure” me of my “Mariolatry.”

    Why do some Protestants seem to have such an aversion to giving Mary any recognition?

  7. AnAmericanMother says:

    BaedaBenedictus,
    I have some guesses, but I think it’s mostly through misapplication of the “graven images” prohibition (never mind all their pictures on the wall or snapshots of their loved ones in their wallets). I would never, ever say that it was due to latent sexism and contempt for women . . . that would be mean (did I say that out loud? :-D )
    Remember to ask Mary and the Holy Spirit to give you the right words. I’ve had my share of similar ‘discussions’, some more heated than others, and sometimes I have felt that the right words were put in my mouth in answer to quick prayer. When the other person gets this “light bulb” look it’s time to smile and be very conciliatory, because they’re getting it.
    APX,
    I have found the “Bavarian Rosary” (which I prayed long before Pope Benedict was a bright cloud on the horizon, learned it back in the 60s when I was an Episcopalian and living in Bavaria) very helpful. At the name of Jesus in the “Hail Mary”, you pause and interject the Mystery of that decade – e.g. “. . . and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus – who carried the cross for us. Holy Mary, mother of God . . . ” It helps concentrate ones mind on the Mystery and keeps me, at least, from rattling off the “Hail Mary”s without thinking.

  8. Banjo pickin girl says:

    That Mary is often treated as the fourth member of the Trinity comes from the overblown language of the French school, de Montfort, et al. You can’t take what they write literally.

    I am a convert who was brought into the Church by Mary, by her rosary, but even then a Marian devotion is difficult. This is because children are taught that Mary is their mother that they run to when they skin their knee. Adult converts never have incorporated that imagery into their lives. We are approaching Mary as adults and are often put off by the somewhat childish, not childlike, nature of some of it. This is another of those cultural things that converts sometimes can never “get.”

  9. Ellen says:

    I too find the deMonfort school of Marian piety a bit off-putting, and don’t even get me started on the co-redemptrix thing. That is skating too close to idolatry for me.

    But I do love Mary and ask for her prayers. Someone once told me she asked for Mary’s prayers quite often since she was a mother and understood her children.

  10. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Being a convert myself, the Marian devotion that has been the best and most consistent fit for me to date is the Angelus.

  11. GirlCanChant says:

    I’ve been saying that the Rosary is the spiritual equivalent of calling your mom. You can never do it enough; she’s always glad to hear from you!

  12. Mrs. O says:

    One can not live on milk and cookies alone! :D unless you are a teenager. These devotions have the same sweetness and richness – the rosary is my favorite.

  13. benedetta says:

    I really appreciate Sr. Mary Ann Walsh’s witness, experience and writing. I actually really like the milk and cookies idea. It is both, the milk, with the snack together which the Blessed Mother makes so accessible to every believer, in all times, of all ages and stages. We think oreos in our time and place predominantly I suppose, but every culture has some sort of equivalent of a biscuit to go with, and just the few that I can think of off the top of my head from other cultures are made with honey, spices, things such as rosewater or almond or red bean paste for sweetness and flavoring. If you make your own biscotti you know that the type or amount of sugar used can vary greatly and that there are many variations on the theme. And the milk component can’t be underestimated either…

  14. KAS says:

    Oddly enough, I found gaining a marian devotion was easy when I converted. Coming from an evangelical/fundamentalist background with the whole “whore of babylon” stuff going around about the Catholic Church, you might think Mary would be a problem for me, but it really wasn’t. Jesus lived the 10 commandments, so Jesus honored his father and mother perfectly, we are to copy Jesus, so we should honor his father and mother perfectly as we are able. It just made sense to honor the mother of my King.

    I have had a devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe nearly forever. My parents took us to the shrine in Mexico when we were children. The deep prayerfulness and faith of the Catholics there impressed me, and to this day I think Our Lady of Guadalupe looks a LOT like one of my great-grandmothers.

    I have a devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel thanks to some time spent studying the writings of Carmelite Saints. Good stuff there.

    But my favorite is Our Lady Seat of Wisdom. I have a statue of our Lady holding the child Jesus, snuggled against her, his head tucked under her chin, and she is snuggling him; she is crowned and wears a rose colored robe and a blue mantle and the image is simply the most peaceful and heart warming for me. Queen of Heaven loving her child.

    I think of Mary as the one true SuperMom and her example pulls me back into a proper perspective on life when I find myself doing the worldly thing of seeking to be supermom like the world would have supermom– but the REAL SuperMom is humble, obedient to God, peaceful and points to Jesus and reminds us to “do whatever He tells you to do”.

  15. Brooklyn says:

    I have to agree with MJ. Sister Mary Ann is a little too hokey for me. Just like her previous article posted on confession, I find that this sounds like an article from a woman’s magazine, and not very Catholic. Sorry, Father, but that’s just my opinion.

    My given name is Mary, and my mother gave me that name because I was born in May. I don’t know of any little girls named Mary anymore. Now it’s Tiffany or Britney, or some such name. How sad.

    I had a deep devotion to Mary when I was a girl, but lost it along with the entire Catholic Church as an adult. I actually struggled with devotion to Mary when I returned to the Church, but my husband and I started saying the Rosary, and although it didn’t mean much at first, I found my devotion to Mary grow stronger and stronger. The Rosary is my most important spiritual weapon. I have talked to many older people in the Church who have always stayed faithful, and the one thing they all have in common is great devotion to Mary. They were all very faithful in saying the Rosary. If you draw close to her, she will protect you from all the evil in the world (and the evil that has crept into the Church). Devotion to Mary, the mother of our Lord, the spouse of the Holy Spirit, the daughter of the Father, is as sure a guarantee of salvation as you will ever find.

  16. PostCatholic says:

    Just to expand on the orange as iconography for rebirth: this is because an orange has a second, underdeveloped set of carpels at the stem end, as though it carries a second fruit that could grow as large as the fruit’s main segments. The orange has nearly the opposite symbolic Italian meaning in “The Godfather” trilogy.

  17. Liz says:

    APX, I’m a cradle Catholic so I don’t know if I can speak to this, but I know that when I first started going to the EF I was so frustrated at not understanding what was going on. (I had several, small children and little time to learn. I was out of the church more than in! Now most of them are teens and they know way more than I do from serving, choir and younger brains!) Anyway, over time I have picked up more than I think I even realize. Not so much as I would like, but I can at least have the peace of the mass. With the rosary it seems the same way (even just saying the prayers which I think is still praying them if you try. I have heard that studies non-Catholics who say the rosary not as a prayer, but in a rote manner heal more quickly because of the rhythm of the rosary. I’m sure it’s more than that, but it’s interesting. Almost all of our minds wander frequently. I find myself making lists, planning dinner and have to re-direct myself constantly.) Okay, I’ve lost myself in my own bad sentence there and then my ramblings, but my point is that even just saying one Hail Mary is so powerful and beautiful. That to me seems like a start. I actually found that book by St. Louis Marie de Montfort helpful, The Secret of the Rosary p.s. I said a Hail Mary for your intentions.

  18. CatherineC says:

    To understand Mary better and so to enter in to a deeper relationship with her is helped very much by spiritual reading. I would suggest “The Glories of Mary” by St. Alphonse Ligouri and “True Devotion to Mary” by St. Louis De Montfort. An excerpt from “Glories”:
    St. Bonaventure applies to Mary the words addressed to Ruth: May the Lord bless you, my daughter! You have been even more loyal now than before (Ru. 3:10.).

    He says: “If Mary’s compassion for the miserable was great when she was on earth, now it is much greater. By her countless graces for us she proves how much more merciful she has become, being now better acquainted with our miseries.”

    It was revealed to St. Gestured that our Lady cannot resist, when one devoutly calls on her with the words, Turn then, most gracious Advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us. She is forced to listen.

    We read in the life of Sister Catherine of St. Augustine that in the city where she lived there was a woman of the name of Mary who had led a sinful life from her youth. Refusing to mend her ways and at length growing old in sin, she was driven out of the city and had nowhere to live but in a secluded cave.

    There she lingered on, neglected by all and half consumed by disease. At length, she died without the Sacraments and was buried in a field like a beast.

    Sister Catherine always prayed with great fervor for the souls of those who had departed from this world. She heard about the unhappy end of this poor creature, but she never thought of praying for her, since she considered her (as did everyone else) irrevocably lost.

    One day, four years afterwards, a soul appeared to her from Purgatory and exclaimed: “How miserable for me, Sister Catherine! You commend all the departed to God; for me alone you have no pity.”

    ” And who are you?” asked the servant of God.

    “I am that poor Mary who died in the cave,” she replied.

    “But how is it you were not lost?” said Catherine.

    “I was saved through the mercy of the Blessed Virgin. For when I saw myself at the point of death, loaded with sins and rejected by all, I turned to the Mother of God and said to her: ‘O Lady, you are the refuge of all the abandoned; behold me here and now abandoned by all. You are my only hope; you alone can help me; have pity on me!’ ”

    “The Blessed Virgin obtained for me the grace of contrition. I died and so I was saved. ”

    Also, “Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array?” Song of Solomon 6:10 Not exactly cookies and milk:-)

  19. Banjo pickin girl says:

    By the way, last year I did the total consecration to Jesus through Mary, de Montfort style, at my parish. It was tough getting through the readings but I made it. I did it because our (of French ethnicity) pastor told me that “every faithful Catholic should do this” and also I wanted to do everything to ensure that I develop this aspect of my faith. This was after checking and making sure it wasn’t just for people who already had a Marian devotion. My pastor said it was for everybody.

  20. Jack Hughes says:

    I’m not sure if this is ok but I found that I’m much more comfortable in talking with Our Lady as a child would with his mother. Yes she is the Immaculate Conception, Queen of the Universe and Spouse of the Holy Ghost; but for me first and foremost she is my Mother and I would love her to hold me tight and kiss me when the devil is trying to drag me out of the Church.

    As for Mgsr Leferbve I believe that he was not a schismatic at heart, that along with Bishop Castro De Myer he simply could not reconcile the madness of the 60’s,70’s and 80’s with the Church to which in 1988 he had given 59 years as a Priest. That given the way in which the Curia had mishandled him for over 15 years he honestly thought that the Econe Consecrations were the only way to ensure that something resembling the One Holy and Apostolic Faith survived.

  21. I don’t know what you’ll make of this, but as a child I heard a story. There was a man in the village- it could be any village, who was a petty thief. An unrepentent petty thief. Yet every night he would say the rosary. He became too old to be a thief, and retired. He continued to say the rosary every night. But that was the only devotion he had. He died, and went to the pearly gates. Saint Peter met him and said, “No.”

    The petty thief, dejected, started to walk away. Our lady “looking out of her window” sees the thief who would recited beautiful rosaries every night. She calls him and he is lifted up into heaven through her window.

    He is in heaven about a day and Saint Peter sees him walking around and aks him what he is doing their and how did he get in. He tells St. Peter that Our Lady bade him enter.

    Saint Peter goes to speak to his Boss, Our Lord Jesus, and tells him of this most unorthodox entrance. To which Our Lord says, “I know, I know, but she’s my mother and I can’t deny her anything. “

  22. Tom Piatak says:

    A very nice piece. Thanks for highlighting it, Father.

  23. lux_perpetua says:

    @apx:

    i’m a cradle Catholic, but never even knew what a “devotion” was until midway through college. so i think we’re in the same boat.

    i still find the Rosary very difficult, unless i’m at an abortion clinic. i get fidgety and antsy and can barely get myself through it. i’ve found that the Little Crown of the BVM [de Montfort style] has been very good for my cultivation of love and devotion for Mary. I offer the crown in order to learn how to honor and love her more dearly. and, for some reasons, the little exclamations interspersed in between the memorized prayers keep me from “zoning off” into rote land, as it were. plus, the final prayer is crazy achingly beautiful. give it a try!!!

  24. Mr. P says:

    Marian devotion always made sense, go to mom when you want to soften dad up. It always worked :)

  25. Jenice says:

    I also am a convert, and knew that I would have difficulties with Marian doctrines, so I started praying the rosary before I started RCIA. At some point, after I converted, I had a great longing to have more of a relationship with Mary, but I was frustrated with how little there is of her in Scripture. Looking around, I discovered the Total Consecration, so I did that. I have prayed the rosary, although not consistently, and can echo some of the experiences posted here. However, 2 things have helped me. One is praying 3 Hail Marys morning and night for purity; our Blessed Mother strengthened me in this regard from the first time I started this, so I continue to rely on her assistance. The other is that last year for a few months a small group of us chanted Vespers, just on Sundays, with the Mundelein Psalter. I loved this way of praying, and a very interesting fruit from this prayer was that I began to pray the rosary daily without the previous difficulties. I wear the brown scapular, and when I get email requests for prayers I offer Hail Mary’s right then. So, slowly, my prayer life has improved, still with many ups and downs, but I am convinced that much of that is due to the intercession of the BVM. My favorite titles for her are Morning Star and Sedes sapientia. Oh, I continue to be frustrated by her portrayal in art. Those who have seen her have reported that she is beyond beautiful, and I know her to be very powerful, yet in art she is often a sweet young girl.

  26. ReginaMarie says:

    To those who are parents or grandparents, might I suggest praying the beautiful Akathist to the Mother of God, Nurturer of Children — a beloved prayer for Eastern Catholics & Orthodox Christians: http://www.serfes.org/orthodox/nuturerofchildren.htm

  27. Obviously nobody has to pray the Rosary and there are many other good Marian devotions and prayers. But the key is to ponder the Mysteries in the way that suits your personal thought patterns. Some people like to look at pictures; some people imagine not just pictures in their mind, but whole little movie scenes. Some people focus on the words of associated Scripture or Psalms or a specific word in the Hail Mary. And some people concentrate hard on the bodily movements or something of that nature; you often find such people adopting different prayer postures or praying while jogging/walking. You can sing or chant the Rosary and learn the Rosary Mystery hymns. There are as many ways to “get into” the Rosary as there are people. Don’t beat your head against the wall trying to use a style of prayer that doesn’t work for you.

    And the same goes for lectio divina and a lot of other prayer-related devotions. If you’re an active sort of person, you’re not the only one in the Church who has to think while moving. Thinking and praying while working or walking is very ancient, too. Just because you can’t do it at Mass, doesn’t mean you can’t do it during private devotion. :)

  28. MJ says:

    “[…how ’bout you write something along the lines you think would be more appropriate?]”

    I shall attempt to do as you have suggested, Fr Z! :-) I will let you know when I have a post up. Might be sometime next week (I have a lot going on over the next few days).

    Sr. Mary Ann Walsh says Our Lady is the “milk and cookies of our theology”…that she “provides the comfort found in an Oreo, chocolate chip, ginger snap or Social Tea”… I’m sorry I just don’t like the analogy! Considering all of the absolutely beautiful titles Our Lady is given in the Litany – Mother of our Creator, Mystical Rose, Queen of Angels! – I just can’t see how comparing her to milk and cookies is … well, is appropriate.

    Now maybe if she had mentioned Mystic Monk… ;-)

  29. Gulielmus says:

    I dearly love the Litany of Loreto, with its treasury of Marian titles.

    http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/Litanies/Loreto.htm

    Perhaps for those who are unmoved by the cookies-and-milk analogy, it will help to realize that the Litany’s addresses Mary as “Mother most amiable,” a less cosmic epithet than “Gate of Heaven” or “House of Gold,” but one equally valid.

  30. mjd07 says:

    Coming from Ireland I have always been drawn to Our Lady Queen of Ireland and as a student Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, I would like to note that the Lamb of God also appeared that night at Knock.

  31. And one more thing… A lot of people just find it harder to pray in certain modes as they grow older, or even as they advance in their prayer life. An adult doesn’t pray with the same kind of fervor that a little kid or a teenager has, any more than a teenager will pray with the same kind of fervor as a little kid. Often things tend to get more intellectual when you get older; it’s not anything to worry about, you just adjust for it.

  32. So at that point you start to grow in fervor of a different kind, I mean. St. John of the Cross explains this stuff in The Ascent of Mt. Carmel, much better than I do. Read him.

  33. I have always liked St. Louis de Montfort’s motto, “To Jesus through Mary.” After all, every Marian devotion will ultimately bring us to a deeper love for Our Lord. She will always bring us to Her Son.

  34. ReginaMarie says:

    “…I had a great longing to have more of a relationship with Mary, but I was frustrated with how little there is of her in Scripture.”

    Jenice,
    You might be interested in reading “Catholic for a Reason II: Scripture and the Mystery of the Mother of God” (Emmaus Road Publishing).

  35. Maria says:

    Perhaps the affection reflects the emotional aura surrounding Mary, her embodiment of the best of all maternal characteristics. She is the consoler of young children with skinned knees [Which brings to mind what was for me the most powerful moment in Mel Gibson’s movie on the Passion of the Lord. When Mary sees Christ fall under His Cross, she has a flashback of when he fell down as a child and rushes to Him. Then in real time, the Lord explains to her from under His Cross, “Behold, I make all things new.”] and the wise counselor of older ones to do the right thing in the face of life’s challenges.

    Thank you Fr. Z.

    This was at the very moment during The Passion of Christ when I stopped the film – I was on my own, and I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. My first prayer to Mary was “Mary, forgive me, I am so sorry. Not only did I hurt your son, but I broke your heart too; please forgive me. For a moment I knew the pain I had caused our Beloved and Blessed Mother.
    That, and a visit to Ireland where we visited Cork and a statue stood with arms outstretched outside of a Catholic Church, of Mary, in The Miraculous Medal pose; switched on an inner light for me when I knew in my heart that I had to get back to my Catholic roots again, and be Confirmed.
    No stopping after that as I contacted the nearest Catholic Church and my Priest got me to join RCIA.

    As I read your words Father, I felt ablaze with the love I felt within whilst watching that film.
    I felt it to be the most moving thing I have ever seen regarding Mary, The Mother of Our Lord.

  36. Dr. Eric says:

    I think this is perhaps my favorite prayer to the Blessed Virgin. This happens to be the oldest known prayer to her as well.

    SUB tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix. Nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus, sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper, Virgo gloriosa et benedicta. Amen.

    WE fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.

  37. frjohnt says:

    This image says it all for me:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/msabeln/3832088790/

    She gathers all the Church in her mantle.

  38. JonPatrick says:

    For an explanation of Marian devotion, I found Scott Hahn’s “Hail Holy Queen” helpful.