St. Bernard Parish
547 Elm Street
Rockport, IN 47635

The Age of Mary: Marian Devotion, Fatima, and the Life of Conversion

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,

Mary, the Mother of God.  The very title can stir up in hearts a great sense of love and devotion, or can make tempers flare.  Devotion to Mary is something that is very often misunderstood, especially by non-Catholics in this country.  It’s often seen by many (including many Catholics) as something odd, unnecessary, and peculiar to only Catholics.

However, this is simply not true!  In fact, those Christians who do not give special honor to Mary are greatly in the minority amongst the world’s Christian population.  By tradition, more than 75% of the world’s Christians do pray to Mary as a special advocate and example.  So we should never be made to feel odd or less than Christian for holding beliefs and practices that put Mary up on a pedestal!  It is odd not to!

As you have no doubt noticed, during this last year or so, we have done a few things in our parishes to underline the importance of Mary in our spiritual and devotional life.  Chiefly, dozens of parishioners made preparation and completion of a special consecration to Mary this past May, and for months now, the communal recitation of the Rosary has been a meditative preparation for the 5:00, 7:30, and 9:00 Mass times.  I pray that these things are helping Mary to sink more deeply into our minds and hearts!

But often the question remains: “Why Mary?  Why not just go to God?”  The answer is in fact quite simple.  Because Jesus wants us to!!  From the wedding feast at Cana, up until the present moment, people have been approaching Mary asking for her to procure divine favors from her Son.  And it works!  When we look at the list of our saints, we see essentially two common threads that most all of them have in common, especially in the last 1000 years.  One is a deep devotion to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.  The other is a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  This is no accident, and should tell us something very profound: Mary is a quick and reliable path to the Heart of Jesus and to holiness.

Why do we need her as a mediator?  Everything in our lives is mediated.  We need teachers to help us learn, parents to feed and clothe us.  God gives us almost nothing directly, but rather gives almost all of His gifts through His creation and other people.  It is no different in the spiritual life!  Yes, Jesus Christ is the one Mediator between God (the Father) and man.  But St. Paul himself tells us that this does not mean that there cannot be other mediators between ourselves and Christ (1 Tim 2:6).  And Mary is certainly the greatest of those!  There is no one who has ever been, nor will ever be as dear to Christ Jesus as His own mother.  And He wishes to draw us closer to Him through her.

So the pattern looks something like this: we ask the intercession (prayers) of others, and of the saints (of whom Mary is the greatest) to draw us close to Jesus.  It is then Jesus the Son who draws us to the heart of the Father in heaven.  This is the way he wants it to work, and the lives of the saints prove it!

Let us all draw closer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so we can all be closer to Our Lord Jesus!

In the Love of Christ,

Father Chris Forler

St. Bernard Parish • 547 Elm Street • Rockport, IN 47635 • 812-649-4811
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