The feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mary is always very special for us Catholics. It is very special for us because we love her. The Feast of the Virgin Mary is also very special for the anti-Catholics. Because they declare it as the day to attack Catholics again and to question our devotion to the Virgin Mary. The anti-Catholics say we adore the Virgin Mary.The Catholics say to the anti-Catholics they ignore the Virgin Mary.
Look at those two words. We adore or they ignore. Which is right? Both are wrong.
Because in understanding the Blessed Virgin Mary there are two ways to look at her. The first one is Mary of our devotions. The second one is Mary of the Gospel.
Mary of our devotion looks very Catholic. It is about the rosary. It is about pilgrimages to Manaoag and to the apparition sites. Mary of our devotions is about kissing our Lady of Fatima or kissing the mantle of our Lady of Manaoag. Mary of our devotions would be the Memorare. Mary of our devotion should be what we do now, 10 Hail Marys at noon time for the healing of our country. But let us remember my dear brothers and sisters that Mary of our devotion should always remind us that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to human beings and all those who saw the Virgin Mary are poor. The Virgin Mary never appeared to bishops. Not to theologians. Not to millionaires.The Virgin Mary did not have any apparition even to a pope.The Virgin Mary always appeared to the poor. Poor Bernadette. Poor children at Fatima. The Blessed Virgin Mary always appeared to poor people, marginalized people.
And that my dear brothers and sisters seems to be what is lacking. What is lacking in our Catholic devotion is our concern for Mary’s children, the poor. We can go make pilgrimages. We can go pray the rosary we can walk on our knees. We can go to Fatima to Lourdes. We can put up our own grotto in our houses. But please my dear brothers and sisters, let that devotion come down to earth and let that devotion never blind us to the needs of the poor because when devotion is harmonized with service and charity for the poor, then it becomes very inspiring and a blessing for us. For us Catholics, we are accused of adoring the Virgin Mary. Because we praise her, we pray to her but also perhaps because our devotion to her is not grounded in our charity for the poor.
What about the anti-Catholics?
The anti-Catholics ignore the Virgin Mary. Their favorite question is “Nasa Bible ba yan?”(Is that in the Bible?). At maliwanag na maliwanag nasa bible yan. (It’s clearly in the Bible) Kasi etong kakabasa lang natin ay gospel. (Because we just read it from the gospel). Galing sa Bibliya. (It’s from the Bible.) Hail full of grace, the Lord is with you. That is from the Bible. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Nasa Bible (In the Bible). My dear brothers and sisters if you are starting to get convinced by the protestant line “nasa Bible ba yan ?”. (Is it in the Bible?). I beg you to listen and read the Bible because the Bible is the first to honor the Virgin Mary and when we ignore the mother of Jesus we ignore Jesus himself. What can we learn from the Virgin Mary from the Bible? The Lord said, “Blessed is the one who hears my word and lives it and puts it into practice”. Those words were a tribute to the Blessed Virgin Mary because the Virgin Mary is the perfect disciple. If we can only let go of our prejudice against devotion and then look at Mary as the first disciple, as the model disciple then Protestants and Catholics can come together with Muslims appreciating and understanding the value of the Virgin Mary in our lives. So, we do not adore the Virgin Mary but let us ground our devotion to her in our charity for the poor. We cannot ignore the Virgin Mary, but when we study the Bible, let us look at her from the point of view of discipleship.
So where do we go, adore or ignore? Brothers and sisters, if you are given two options choose the third option and what is it?
Just love her.
The Lord told us to love everybody. Just love everybody including the Virgin Mary. Don’t hate her. Don’t ignore her but do not just love her from your feelings. If you want to love her, love her poor children, because that is the best way to convince her that we love her.
We do not adore. We do not ignore.
Let Catholics and anti-Catholics just love the Virgin Mary because it is beautiful to love everybody.