Titles of Our Lady from the Litany of Loreto

Virgin Most Venerable

Coronation of Our Lady

We are taught by this invocation a most important element in true devotion to Mary.  What is true devotion to Our Blessed Lady?

Some will answer, imitation of Her virtues; others, to be constant in our attention to Her; others, zeal in venerating Her images, distributing pictures and medals of Her, and so on.

But the foundation of all true devotion to Mary – which if we have, all practices will follow and fall into their right place – is our mental attitude towards Her.  We must understand and give to Mary in our own minds, Her rightful place in the Kingdom of God.  What is that?  She is the Queen of Creation, the Queen of the Universe, holding a position which is Hers alone, unique in creation. She is high above all the creatures of God, excepting only the Sacred Humanity of Her Divine Son, Jesus Christ.  She is the Queen of Angels, the Queen of the Saints, the Queen of the Church Militant, Triumphant, and Suffering, the Queen of Heaven, of Earth, and of Purgatory.  All, all are Her subjects. She is beneath absolutely no one, but God.

Now if this is Her position, what reverence must be due to Her!  How careful should we be that our love for Her should ever keep this element of profound veneration!  We should be penetrated with the deepest reverence for Her and for everything consecrated to Her.

How people are despised if they transgress the rules of good breeding even in ordinary society!  How much more intolerable must unworthy behavior appear in the presence of royalty!

And all this is but a mere outward shadow of the reverence we owe to Mary.  This veneration may seem to us to have in it an element of fear.  But it is not a base or servile fear; it is the filial fear of offending one whom we deeply love and respect, not for a dread of any consequence to ourselves; it is simply a restraining influence which keeps us from any unbecoming act, posture, or word in Her presence, and above all, towards Her.

For instance, if, in reciting your Rosary, either in public or private, you feel tired or bored, veneration for our Blessed Mother will keep you from unrestrained yawning, looking around, or rattling off the Hail Marys, and still more from being a distraction to others.

Can you imagine anyone behaving heedlessly in the presence of a Pope, King, or President, here on earth?  No, every act, word or attitude has to be carefully regulated; nothing unseemly would be dreamt of or tolerated.

Yes, our actions, words and prayers should be respectful and worthy of our Mother and Queen.  But Our Lady is far more concerned that our hearts be right – that we take Her for our own beloved Mother, like St. John did when Jesus gave him to Her as Her son.  She is indispensable to each one of us in our spiritual life, which is the life of Jesus within us.  Each of us has to become another Christ. Mary is as necessary to this supernatural life of ours as She was to Jesus in His Childhood, as our own mother is to us in our natural life.

Fix these two ideas – the greatness of Mary in Herself (Her place in creation) and Her necessity to us (Her place in our spiritual life) – firmly in your mind, and you will begin to have a true devotion to Mary.

Great Queen though She is, Mary is the most tender of mothers.  She is the easiest to imitate of all the Saints.  She was always humble, was always modest, lowly, hidden.  She did not affect showy, spectacular virtues or ecstasies and visions, but the little lowly virtues of everyday life, charity, patience, forbearance, etc., were her practice.  She never put Herself forward, never showed off, never appeared to outshine others.  When it was necessary in giving a history of what happened in the Gospel, to mention Her name, it is put last, after all the Apostles, "they were persevering in prayer in one mind, with Mary, the Mother of Jesus."  She loved and served Jesus with Her whole being, She helped everyone She could, She remained with Our Lord in His sufferings.  She kept His words and deeds in Her Heart, meditating on them. We can all do these things.  We need never be afraid to come to Mary after a fall, for She is the Refuge of Sinners.  She is our Queen as well as our Mother.  How wonderful that She, Who is the greatest of all creatures, should be so loving, so tender, so affable, so entirely at the service of every one of us! Is not this the one impression which every story or account of Her gives?   What a profound lesson in humility for us!

Motto: "He hath regarded the humility of His Handmaid. Behold all generations shall call Me blessed."

Practice: Cultivate great reverence in your prayers and devotions to Mary, with entire confidence in Her help.

Example

At the shrine of the Madonna of Granada, one day in 1796, some officers of the English garrison, weary of inaction, were amusing themselves by firing at a target placed near the chapel.  One of them, a mere youth, aimed at the statue of the Blessed Virgin, and laid a wager that at the first shot he could hit the globe which the Infant Jesus held in His right hand.  He fired, missed the globe, but shot off the arm of the Infant Jesus.  At the same time he felt a violent pain in his own right arm, near the shoulder, at the very place where the shot had struck the statue.  The pain grew more and more intense, the doctor was sent for, but could not relieve him.  After three days, the young man expired in dreadful agony, the arm having mortified up to the shoulder.  This occurrence is well attested.

Certain heretics of the Middle Ages made an impious attack on a Sanctuary of Our Blessed Lady in France, wishing to carry off Her statue,which was greatly venerated there.  They destroyed the sacred vessels of the altar, expelled the monks who dwelt there, and set fire to the place.

One of the profaners mounted the altar to carry away the statue of the Blessed Virgin.  He threw a rope around its neck, and descending from the altar began dragging the statue after him, saying, "Come along with me, little black woman (the face of the statue was black); if you are as powerful as the Catholics say, let us now have a proof of it.  Why do you let yourself be dragged along the ground like this?"  No sooner had he uttered these impious words than the statue became immovable.  He turned his head to see what was stopping him, and his head remained in that direction, so that he could never again replace it in its right position, and his arm and shoulder remained crippled.

He was obliged to leave the statue in the position it had assumed, and he himself all his life bore the punishment in his body, giving a proof of the great power and majesty of the Queen of Heaven.

Our Lady will always help sinners who fly to Her, but She cannot help those who despise and insult Her, as long as they do not repent.

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