15 Beautiful Reminders of Your Mother’s Love for You
Since the beginning of Christianity, saints and sages have venerated the role of Mary in our salvation. Her unassuming nature, yet bold confidence in God, beckons us who are riddled with sin to approach her heart with confidence and find relief in her motherly love. As the Protestant Reformation silenced prayers and devotions to our Lady, calling them idolatrous, faithful Christians remained steadfast in their heartfelt supplications to the one who bore our Savior. Known by many affectionate titles, Mary, the mother of God, is said to be our refuge and advocate. During this month of May, journey with these fifteen saints who were well-acquainted with Mary and knew how to love her well, so that your love for her may please God and pave the way for mercy at the hour of death.
1. “Men do not fear a powerful hostile army as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary.” -St. Bonaventure
Many exorcists concur with St. Bonaventure that the holy name of Mary causes demons to instantly flee. If they fear her, we should run to her for protection when we are struggling with a particular sin, vice, or even battling spiritual attack. Turn to her with confidence, dear soul, knowing that she leads the Heavenly Hosts to battle the legions of hell on your behalf—simply implore her motherly mercy.
2. “Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.” -Saint Maximilian Kolbe
Here is a perfect and succinct explanation of the Catholic tradition of honoring Mary. When a skeptic mentions that we worship her, you can correct him/her with this quote from St. Maximilian Kolbe. Your love for Mary will always lead to a deeper love for Jesus, so be bold in your relationship with her. In her humility, she points the way to her son rather than pointing to herself. So remember that your love for her can never be too much, only too little.
3. “Before, by yourself, you couldn't. Now, you've turned to our Lady, and with her, how easy!”-St. Josemaria Escriva
Many modern Catholics have turned to Marian consecration as a form of entrusting one’s soul to our Lady. The great Marian theologians, such as St. Louis de Montfort, claim that this act of joining our souls to the heart of Mary is a certain and simple road to sanctification. As our mediatrix, Mary is the bridge between us and Heaven. If we are intimidated by approaching our heavenly Father, perhaps due to the comparison between God and our earthly father, Mary is the one we can encounter without fear. She acts on our behalf to accomplish spiritual feats and to reach God more readily than we do of our own accord.
4. “If you invoke the Blessed Virgin when you are tempted, she will come at once to your help, and Satan will leave you.” -St. John Vianney
St. John Vianney knew this to be true, since he was spiritually attacked more than once. Satan comes to us in all forms, especially in the cunning psychological and emotional attacks that so often lead us to sin: despondency, discouragement, anger, jealousy, ambition, greed, lust, etc. Temptations begin cognitively, so we can conquer them immediately when they invade our thoughts. We do this best by invoking the name of Mary, perhaps in a simple prayer to her, such as, “Mary, please come to my aid right now in this temptation.” A Hail Mary suffices when we are at a loss for words during intense temptation. Be assured that you will overcome it with her assistance.
5. “If you ever feel distressed during your day — call upon our Lady — just say this simple prayer: 'Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now.' I must admit — this prayer has never failed me.” -Blessed Mother Teresa
Most of us become distressed throughout the day, because life has taken on an entirely new level of busyness in our modern epoch. Stress comes to us in many forms, such as insomnia, heartburn, anxiety, fear, nervous habits, etc. At the moment you acknowledge your source of stress, pray to Mary. Ask her to be with you in your time of need, but especially come to her as a child seeking his/her mother: dependent, open, expectant, trusting. Do this, and she will not fail you.
6. “No one will ever be the servant of the Son without serving the Mother.” -Saint Ildephonsus, Bishop
This is a brazen proclamation, albeit a true one. Mary is the gateway to Jesus. Recall that she was the First Tabernacle, safely carrying the Word Incarnate in her womb. Therefore, she is the means by which we return to Jesus, as well. We cannot fully know Jesus without His mother. We may partially understand particular spiritual tenets or grasp an aspect of Jesus’ humanity and divinity, but we will never obtain the entire picture of who Jesus is without Mary.
7. “It is impossible to save one's soul without devotion to Mary and without her protection.”-Saint Anselm, Archbishop and Doctor of the Church
Along with the previous quote, St. Anselm tells us that devotion to our Lady is the only way we can obtain perfect salvation. Consider all of the worldly perils you encounter on a regular basis, and compound them with the spiritual sufferings that assail you. Could you possibly overcome them all? Of course we rely upon God’s grace to resist temptation, but we have at our assistance the beautiful mother of God who can swiftly and assuredly resolve our troubles by pleading to God on our behalf. Beseech her intercession often, and you will draw nearer to Heaven.
8. “I have great doubts about the salvation of those who do not have special devotion to Mary.”-Saint Francis Borgia
Apparently most saints concurred that those Christians who neglect honoring Mary aren’t grasping the full picture of Christianity. To entirely ignore her presence and her role in salvation is a grave mistake. It’s impossible to know a person completely without knowing his or her mother, as well. If we love Jesus, we will naturally love His mother, especially since we are certain He loved her more than we ever could.
9. “The honor of Mary is so intimately connected with the honor and glory of Jesus that to deny the one is at the same time a denial of the other.” -Blessed William Joseph Chaminade
I love the devotion to the United Hearts of Jesus and Mary, because it shows how beautifully intertwined are the love of mother and Son. When you come to love Mary’s Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart, you come to love Jesus even more than ever before. Once you develop a devotion to Mary, you cannot fathom your interior life without her presence, guidance, and gentle mercy.
10. “To desire grace without recourse to the Virgin Mother is to desire to fly without wings.”-Pope Pius XII
What a beautiful metaphor! What if a bird knew it could – and should – fly, yet it didn’t have any wings, or perhaps didn’t know how to use them. It would feel trapped, as if something in its life were tragically missing. The same is true for us as sons and daughters of Mary. We stifle so much potential growth in our interior lives without her. We long for the heights of Heaven, yet we fall short without her, because we do not have our wings to fly there.
11. “What a joy to remember that she [Mary] is our Mother! Since she loves us and knows our weakness, what have we to fear?” -Saint Therese of Lisieux
Mothers are intuitive and are able to determine nuances of their children that others may overlook. Therese of Lisieux, wonderful Saint and mystic, reminds us that Mary, as our spiritual mother, is able to do this concerning our sins, weaknesses, and failures. She is capable of reaching into our hearts to the most vulnerable of places, even the parts of us that we’d rather deny or rationalize. She meets us where we are with the kindness of an earthly mother: a kiss, an embrace, rest, and refreshment.
12. “You are My Mother, the Mother of Mercy, and the consolation of the souls in Purgatory.”-Saint Bridget to our Lady
One of my favorite titles of Mary is Mother of Mercy. In this Year of Mercy, we can be assured of her love for us when we approach her with humility. Many saints have received visions of Purgatory, and when our Lady visits the suffering souls in Purgatory, she becomes their oasis in the desert, providing refreshment and hope for an end to their suffering. When we believe we are lost and all is impossible, we must turn to Mary, Mother of Mercy. She is sure to touch our wounds with the healing balm of her love.
13. “Let us run to Mary, and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence.” -Saint Francis de Sales
Little children carry such trust in their parents, total faith that they will be cared for and protected. If we approach Mary with the same confidence in her intercession and protection, we will know how to love her as our mother. Then we will adopt the childlike faith and trust that is so necessary for our sanctification, a type of purity of heart that reaches from mother to child through the heart's dialogue of prayer.
14. “All true children of God have God for their father and Mary for their mother; anyone who does not have Mary for his mother, does not have God for his father.” -Saint Louis Marie de Montfort
Children thrive best in a home where both father and mother are present and provide a mystical model of the Holy Trinity through their expressed love. A child of God likewise discovers harmony in his or her relationship with God the Father and Mary, our mother. We receive the fullness of the masculine love through the Father and the feminine love of Mary.
15. “As mariners are guided into port by the shining of a star, so Christians are guided to heaven by Mary.” -Saint Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church
Mary is the star that acts as a beacon of illumination for our spiritual journey. When we feel as if we are walking in darkness, and we aren’t sure of God’s will for us, we can look to Mary with assurance that she will light the way to Heaven for us. Mary is our hope for salvation. She connects us to God by bridging the chasm between Heaven and Earth.
Skepticism and reticence of wholehearted Marian devotion will always exist, but, no matter how close we are or aren't to our Lady, we can draw nearer through prayer and meditation on the Mysteries of the Rosary. It’s not worship to adore and love someone so dearly, and the hidden treasure we have in our spiritual mother is immeasurable. It’s better to love fully rather than halfheartedly, and God will honor our complete and faithful devotion to His mother with showers of graces. Spend this month of May, our Lady’s month, deepening your ardor for her, and you will find yourself closer to Jesus and to Heaven.