There are MANY beautiful things within the Catholic Church. Eucharistic Adoration, Stain Glass rose windows, Latin Chant Music, The 73 books of the Bible, and all the Mass posture changes, just to name a few. However, devotion to the Mother of God is also quite beautiful. You could spend a life time really contemplating that the Mother of God is OUR MOTHER too. (John 19:26-27)
I know non-Catholics can struggle with Mary devotion. Be scared of it actually. I have been there. Not wanting to have Mary take the place of Jesus. Truly fearing if I was devoted to Mary, I may start down the path of worshiping a false God. Of getting things confused, of being one of those crazy Catholics that Christians whisper about as acting pious but not really. Than early in my studies a few years ago, I ran across a trusted saint quote.
“Never be afraid of loving Mary too much. You can never love her more than Jesus” -Maximilian Kolbe
When I was little I had a bunch of imaginary friends. I was an only child for nine years. I often played people toys airport, house and dolls, and built the house (castle) prepared for me in the kingdom of God in the tire sandbox. All sometimes with the help of Mother Mary as my imaginary playmate. Imagine but not to much. She never had a spot at the actual dinner table with us but she did advise me, care for me, and love me. At least in my head she did. She was the best imaginary comfort when I was ill. For many years, as an adult I had an on again off again relationship with Mother Mary. I did not have a strong devotion to her really cause I could not understand it. I wanted it. I would try and fall short. As a young adult, I wore a blue Immaculate Conception Scapular until I decided she failed me. Not that I failed her. I had a child like relationship that was just pretend. A few years ago, I had revisited my lack of maturity in understanding devotion. I dove into having a deeper relationship with Mary.
Mary asks us to pray the rosary everyday. I wish I could say I faithfully do but I seem to go in streaks. When I am devoted to praying the rosary as Mary requests it really has reordered my life to be much more centered on Christ. Regardless of the speed I pray.
I think one of the most beautiful things that the Church has to offer is the rosary. Anybody can participate in that beauty. Faulton Sheen has said that you can teach just by use of the rosary. The entire story of Jesus is contained in it. It teaches you to take time out of your day to pray. It teaches discipline, right order, devotion to the cross and so much more that we all need. Praying it, it is able to give to others in obtaining intercessory prayer by prayerfully requesting Mary be the Matrix [Madiatrix] of graces.
There are many ways to pray the rosary. Scriptural seems to be the most grounded in Christ’s story. My favorite is to pray with intercessory prayer for a particular person while also praying The Fruits of the mysteries of the Rosary. That is what I think I am called to do often. You may be called to run a marathon with the trinity some other way. No worries. There are many times that I feel and see the presence of answered prayers with the rosary.
For instance, for a number of months I would pray it for a person and each and every time I prayed for moral courage for this person it was excruciating difficult to pray the decade. I had no idea why it was so difficult. If it only happened once maybe I would not have thought as much about it. However, it happened every time. It got to the point that I just prayed the rosary for that person every Tuesday and every Tuesday the crowning of thorns tripped me up, in a deep tearful sadness with no explanation. It was meaning something and doing something but I did not know what.
Well recently/currently I was/am having a crisis of faith. I followed some ill advised curiosity that lead to an embarrassing unguarded heart. Many confusing emotions filled my heart. That rabbit hole could be a number of things. How I expected that this time the path would be so much different was well delusional in not knowing myself. What pulled me out of the hole was confession and truth. God’s truth and my truth that I didn’t even know was there. The thing is no one had to tell me the truth. No one made them do so. It was by the grace of God that they did. It brought light to darkness. It helped form saints and directed in a different direction. It took moral courage of the person I was praying for to do that. Actually, many people working together in the spirit of faith it took to bring me to a better place, a more whole understanding, and answered prayers. Faith that would not be possible unless the truth of God’s very existence is actually, truly the undeniable truth. Thanks be to God for so many caring, holy men and women in my life.