Honor Your Mother
This devotion is really a part of our lives. That is to say, we grew up with it! As children we were attached to an earthly mother, and by her tender care and solicitude we were taught at her knee to pray to God's heavenly Mother, and to say: "Hail Mary, full of grace -- pray for us sinners." Whenever our little minds attempted to comprehend the dignity of Mary, we always associated her with what was best in our own mothers.
We judge the unknown in terms of the known. As children we thought of God's Mother in terms of our own mothers. Hence, we gradually came to picture Mary as containing all the beautiful traits of earth's finest mothers. We saw mothers who kept nightly vigil over sickbeds, we saw their utter sacrifice as they wiped away sweat from fevered brows and soothed parched lips with moistened linen. Thus, we began to understand a little better the sufferings of Mary, God's Mother, at the foot of the cross. We noted that earthly mothers never spoke of self, never seemed to ask anyone to share their aches and pains. Thus, gradually we learned the lessons of Christian patience and forbearance.
We always associated Mary with the best of earthly mothers, for we pictured the Mother of God as the epitome of all that was best in motherhood.
Then came the dawn of further knowledge and an increase of grace, as we were instructed in revealed things. We were taught that Mary was singularly privileged above all other mothers -- that she was immaculately conceived. Thus, it was we learned the meaning of the Church's doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. And then we thought of Mary not as our imagination would have painted her, but as God made her according to His own eternal designs -- immaculately conceived, born without even the slightest stain of original sin and preserved by His all-holy grace, spotless and immaculately pure forever!
It was fittingly so, for how could God's Mother be dishonored by sin? God would never permit anything to come between Him and his Mother, which is just another way of saying that He preserved her from all stain by the foreseen merits of the Redemption.
To Our Lady, today, we may pray and say --
O Mary, immaculately conceived without sin, we pray you by all the virtues you possess to intercede for us that we may save our immortal souls. When the weakness of the Fall of our first parents is evident in our nature, and we are prone to evil, protect us and lead us back to God. When the darkness of sin overshadows our path, guide our footsteps. Mary, your body and your Immaculate Conception reminds us of the beautiful monstrance to which the people of our churches contribute their gold and precious treasures of earth. For as Christ, the Babe of Bethlehem, is raised to bless our hearts, those who gave these things can say, "I helped in the benediction." Mary, your body was the resting place of Jesus Christ. Like a beautiful vessel of gold that enshrines its God, your holy abode was foreseen by the Creator from all eternity and was prepared and preserved from all stain and all blemish that it might raise up over all the world Him who is at once your Son and Redeemer -- Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. You are truly a vessel of gold -- house of God -- gate of heaven at Christmas time.
Mary, we honor God by recalling the spotless dignity of your Immaculate Conception. We pray that we may really be convinced of the fact that humanity is not so much "fallen" as it is "redeemed," that we are not so prone to evil that we cannot be uplifted and become filled with the spirit of God's grace. Do you, Mary, remind us again and again, whenever the tide of human passion rises like a mountainous sea -- to look up -- to see Christ and you -- and to say: "Jesus, help. Mary, pray. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you."