The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.

There are many divisions between the Catholic Faith and the Protestant faith.  Transubstantiation,, the Pope as the head of the Christian faith, being borne “again”; purgatory.  But I have always been baffled as to why we as Catholics take such heat over our reverence for the Blessed Mother, Mary.  I’ve listened to many call-in shows on EWTN where numerous non-Catholics tell the host that their biggest reason for not being Catholic or for leaving the Catholic faith was because of our love for Mary.  My mother once told me that she knew of a nun who struggled with the Catholic Church’s devotion to Mary simply because Mary “set the bar too high” for any other woman to achieve that greatness.

I do not share those thoughts.  I have always had a love for the Blessed Mother, but it truly wasn’t until 1999, when my job had me driving from Decatur to Champaign IL (and back) everyday that my devotion to Mary truly developed.  I remember at that time I was looking for something to help me make the most of my commute so I refreshed a tradition from my youth that I had not practiced for years.  Back in my youth, we used to drive with my mother as she went to work (at the Wishing Well Restaurant).  She would take us there and we would sit in the car until my Dad got off work and came and picked us up.  On the way there, we would recite the Rosary.  I do recall not really enjoying having to say that many prayers at one time.  Once mom stopped working there, my practice of reciting the Rosary stopped.

When I first started saying the Rosary again (on my commute), I didn’t even remember what the Mysteries of the Rosary were so I just said an intention at the start of each decade.  About a year later, Sarah and I went on a weekend retreat and during one of the “down” times of the retreat, I took the Bible I had with me and memorized the Stations (which were pictured in the middle of the Bible).  Since that time, I’ve added a few more of my own stations to make my Rosary meditation one that has a different set of Mysteries for each day of the week.  Each of these mysteries (which I’ve talked about in past posts) were inspired by the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Mother.  This wasn’t the only inspiration I’ve had since starting my daily Rosary.  I’ve also written a number of songs now guided by the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Mother.  Cursed Wood, Blessed Wood (a song of the Sorrowful Mysteries), The Window (written for my sister-in-law Ann for her final vows).  I’ve wrote a Mass for the 75th Anniversary of St. Thomas the Apostle (Decatur) and my most recent was an Ave Maria that Sarah and I use on occasions such as today – The Assumption of our Blessed Mother.

I am confident in my devotion to Mary for many reasons.  It was Christ himself who gave us Mary as OUR mother while dying on the Cross..Mary behold your son.  John behold your Mother.  Luke’s Gospel starts this holy devotion to Mary when Mary is visited by the Angel Gabriel…Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you.  Then when she visits here cousin Elizabeth…Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  Do those two lines sound familiar to anyone?  They make up the first two lines of our Hail Mary…tradition has added the rest of the prayer…Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.  Amen.  Read the Book of Revelation and tell me Mary isn’t talked about (with great respect) there.

But my deepest respect for Mary comes from today’s Gospel

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

Mary said “YES” to God.  And from her yes, the Savior of the world was made flesh and dwelt among us.  Thank you God, thank you Jesus, Thank you Mary.  May I forever be thankful for you ultimate YES in God’s plan of salvation.  And as you stated in the prayer above (The Magnificat), I will call you Blessed.  Amen.  Alleluia.

Do something great for our Lord today – get to know His Mother.  Blessed is she among women and Blessed was the fruit of her womb (the new ark of the Covenant) Jesus, the true and everlasting Covenant.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you.  Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

Hail Holy Queen, mother of Mercy, our life; our sweetness; our hope.  To thee do we cry, pour banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, morning and weeping under this vale of tears.  Turn then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of Mercy towards us and after this, our exile, show unto us the Blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  O clement, o loving, o sweet virgin Mary.  Pray for us, o Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of  Christ.  Amen.

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