As Catholics we recognize that Jesus is the center of our faith, our Savior—the second person of the Trinity. He is God. Nothing, and no one, is more important.
And yet as Catholics we seem to make an awful lot of fuss about Mary. Does she really matter? Is devotion to Mary essential to our faith as Christians?
Well technically, no. Faith in Jesus is sufficient…but if we’re going to take a strict scriptural view on it, the answer would actually be yes which is kind of ironic. So many who deny, or diminish, the significance of Mary often use a Sola Scriptura argument to bolster their position. But the reality is that from start to finish, from Genesis to Revelation, Scripture attests to her prominence.
In Genesis after the Fall, God tells the serpent of his ultimate defeat—that He would put enmity between the serpent and the Woman and between his offspring and hers. Now of course, we can interpret her offspring, and rightly so, as Jesus, the Son of God. He most certainly will be the one to definitively and eternally crush the serpent.
Fast forward to the New Testament, and from the Cross Jesus gives John to Mary—and Mary to John as his mother—and ours.
In Revelation 12 “woe to the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you with great wrath, because he knows his time is short…The dragon was angry with the Woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus”. Clearly, we are the rest of her children.
And clearly, we are at war. And Mary matters more than many realize.
Tomorrow we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. Like a good mother, Mary has been appearing more and more to warn her children…and, most importantly, to assure us of victory over the devil who seeks to oppress and destroy us. She warned that Russia would spread her errors but that in the end her Immaculate Heart would triumph. On October 13, 1917 she gave a sign with the miracle of the sun, witnessed by over 70,000 people.
As we make our way through this spiritual storm, as evil gets more desperate and tyranny encroaches, take heart. She promised her Immaculate Heart would triumph, and it will. Take it to the bank. But we must do our part and follow her instructions. Pray the Rosary, every day.
For those of you facing tough choices, keep your eyes focused on Mary and pray for the grace of perseverance and the gift of hope. On the way of the cross looking at Mary gave Jesus the strength to persevere. I can only imagine the spontaneous prayer of her heart, “Oh God help him!” At the next stations Simon is pressed into service to help Jesus carry the cross and Veronica, out of compassion, wiped his face with a cloth.
Mary’s intercession was irresistible to God then. It is irresistible now.
Fix your gaze and trust. And please pray for those making heroic choices to preserve their freedom. Their courageous actions preserve freedom for all of us.
May God give you strength and may Mary keep you enfolded in her mantle.
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