|Shrine of Mary, Queen of Hearts|
|Fr. Matthew Widder|
Some highlights from Fr. Matthew's talk:
In explaining the benefit of going through Mary to Jesus, Fr. Matthew said:
"Our prayers pass through Mary and she adds a sense of sweetness to them as they make their way to the Lord. It's like hugging someone who is wearing a lot of perfume and the scent lingers on you. Mary adds that sweet scent to our prayers.
In reflecting on the Gospel passage where St. John took Mary into his home (John 19:27), Fr. Matthew shared a story about when he was growing up on a dairy farm. He talked about how his mother always insisted that he take off his smelly work clothes before entering the house when his farm chores were finished. He said that there is something that we need to leave behind as well, when we consecrate ourselves to Jesus through Mary, and that is false devotion.
Those false devotions are:
*A critical devotion where we feel that we are too good for Mary and don't need her. We can go straight to Jesus ourselves.
*A scrupulous devotion where we fear that Jesus would be jealous of our love for the Blessed Mother.
*An exterior devotion where we say our prayers just to get through them but don't put any depth into our prayers. It is better to pray one decade of the rosary well than to rush through an entire rosary.
*A presumptuous devotion where we believe that we are saved because we've attended First Saturday Masses or wear a scapular, but don't allow Mary to lead us deeper into the life of the Church through regular Mass attendance and the sacrament of reconciliation.
*An inconsistent devotion where we are hot and cold, on again/off again. We should think of the quiet years of Jesus and the patience of the Blessed Mother during those years to find encouragement to remain faithful to our prayers and devotion.
*An interested devotion where we go to the Blessed Mother to obtain some particular favor as if she were a vending machine where we put in a prayer hoping to get a desirable favor in return. We should have a disinterested devotion. We should go to her because we love her not because of what she will do for us.
Fr. Matthew reminded us that Mary's life was not all honor and glory. It was suffering and sorrow. We are called to imitate all of her life and to leave behind all false devotions to cling to her in love alone.
Then Fr. Matthew showed us how the Mass can be prayed through the eyes of Mary:
*The Mass begins with singing just as Mary sang her Magnificat.
*When we confess our sins we remember that Mary was pure.
*We listen to the Word of God. Mary was always listening and reflecting on the Word of God.
*When we offer our petitions we remember that Mary passes our petitions on to God.
*During the consecration of the Eucharist we remember that Mary brought Jesus into the world the first time and she brings Him to us again and again. She is known as Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament.
*Before we receive Holy Communion we are called to have the faith of Mary when we pray, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the Word and my soul shall be healed." What is the word? The word is faith. Mary said "Behold the handmaid of the Lord." She spoke a word of faith.
*And when we leave Mass, we are sent to carry the Word to the world. Everyone wants to hold a baby. Mary passes the baby Jesus to us and then we are to share our faith, to pass the baby Jesus to everyone we meet.
It is a great honor and blessing to be consecrated to Jesus through Mary. In the words of St. Louis de Montfort consecration to Jesus through Mary is the easiest and surest path to heaven. To learn more about consecration please read either of the books listed above by St. Louis de Montfort or Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC.