In my column of April 26, 2012, I shared with you an Easter homily delivered by a priest friend of mine in Detroit. I also spoke of a secular Catholicism that has slowly eroded a strong and enduring faith by taking a casual approach to the matters of religion, even in the passing on of our faith to our children and grandchildren.
This has given a great advantage to the ideology of atheism that seeks to educate children to despise the beliefs of their parents. Certainly this is the work of the Evil One, “prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Often, we think of the devil as the counterpoint to God. And yet, the devil is in fact one of God’s creatures, a fallen angel. In that regard, it is more theologically precise to view Satan’s rebellion against God as set over and against the obedient “fiat” of Mary. In other words, her faith-filled obedience stands in marked contrast to the devil’s rejection of God’s will.
True to God’s prediction in Genesis 3:15, Satan despises Mary for allowing herself to be used as the instrument through whom our Savior entered the world. His intent is to do whatever it takes to thwart God’s plan for salvation.
Yet, as we have just celebrated in Holy Week, Christ’s death and resurrection has defeated the devil’s grasp on us and removed death’s dark hold over us. The wood of the Cross has become the sign of our salvation. And whenever we meet the Cross, Mary remains standing beneath it, offering her strong yet silent support.
As Pope Benedict XVI has observed: “In our day, Our Lady has been given to us as the best defense against the evils that afflict modern life; Marian devotion is the sure guarantee of her maternal protection and safeguard in the hour of temptation” (Aparecida, Brazil, May 2007).
In my family, we grew up with a regular practice of attending Our Mother of Perpetual Help devotions and praying the family rosary. I still believe that these are powerful means of growing in holiness. I highly recommend them, especially in this month dedicated to the Mother of God.
As Gerard Manly Hopkins wrote, Mary is “our tainted nature’s solitary boast.” She has been given to us as a model and a guide. How can we not but take advantage of so great a gift?
God bless you!