Welcome back everyone. Today’s blog about devotion to Mary is one that is going to possibly bother many of you. We hope with all our heart that you will at least continue reading until the end. We ourselves struggled with this one until we were able to see the truth of it throughout Scripture. Once we allowed ourselves to fully study this subject, and with much prayer, our eyes were opened to a different understanding than what we had always believed. We were ashamed of ourselves, and liberated in a new joy at the same time. Today’s topic is on someone, who to the Protestant, is very insignificant and holds no special status in the church. We are talking about the woman who physically brought our Savior into this world. We are talking about Mary.
Now we know, as soon as many of you learned that we were going to be talking about Mary, a wall was thrown up in both your heart and mind. We know this because it was what we went through ourselves. Even after we knew that we no longer believed in the doctrine of faith alone and Bible alone, we struggled greatly with this one. This single Catholic act of devotion to Mary is one of the biggest affronts to Protestantism itself. So we are not asking you to shut down your walls. We know you will most likely not change your view on this topic. We just ask that you take the time to read what we have written. To honestly consider the Scriptural and historical facts as to what the Catholic faith believe on Mary, that we will be laying out during this blog.
Devotion to Mary Testimony from Ruvilyn
Of all the teachings of the Catholic Church, Mary was the hardest teaching for me to embrace. It began in early January. I was feeling lead to attend the Tuesday morning Mass. That morning my husband and youngest son were tired and not able to wake up easily, and it was just my oldest son and I who went. When we got there we didn’t know what to do because all of the doors were closed. So we went back to the car in the parking lot and decided to read the Bible while waiting to see if someone showed up for Mass that we could follow to get in.
I asked my son what passage he wanted to read and he said Luke 2. So we read together and then left the car once again, going around and checking every door of St John’s Church here in Bartlesville, but everything was locked. Then finally, we saw an old couple walking from the other side of the church. We went running to them to ask if there was a Mass that day. They said yes, and then used a code to open the door after we asked if we could go in with them. The Chapel we went into was a different one than what we had went to on Sunday.
After sitting down, I listened as the few people that were there praying the Hail Mary repeatedly. After they finished praying, I went to my knees and cried to the Lord very deeply, asking him if this is really the Church he is wanting me to be in. I told God, Lord, look, they are being repetitious in their prayers and I always had read that Jesus condemned such prayers. Before I was done praying, the priest came in, and everybody stood up, so I said Amen to end my prayer quickly and stood up with everyone else as Mass began. I tried my best to follow what they did. Stand up, sit down, kneeling down on my knees when the others did.
The gospel reading was from Luke 2
The gospel that was read on this specific day was Luke 2. I had this thrilling feeling inside of me. Then came the eating of the body of Christ and drinking his blood which is the wine. I know I can’t take it yet because I am not a part of the Church yet, but I am able to receive a blessing of peace which is a wonderful thing to receive early in the morning from God’s priest, especially since I had already been troubled about the repetitious prayers of Hail Mary. (What helped me in dealing with the repetitious prayer was from Matthew 6:7. Surprising, because this is the same passage that is used to say repetitious prayer is wrong. My husband and I learned that when Jesus is saying not to be babbling like the pagans, it means empty prayers. Jesus did not condemn repetitious prayers, rather he condemned empty prayers. In Matthew 26:39 it says – going a little further, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed “my Father if it is possible, may this cup be taken away from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Verse 42 says – He went away a second time and prayed. “My father if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Verse 44 says – so he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time saying the same thing. After seeing that Jesus himself prayed and repeated three times in a row, the same prayer, I saw that he really was not condemning all repetitious prayer, but those that were vain and empty. This was how I was able to embrace this particular teaching of the Church.)
While driving home I asked my son if he likes the Mass and if he wanted to go back again, he said yes. After getting home my oldest son told my younger son about how we had went to Mass and the younger started crying because he said he wanted to go too. So I comforted him and told him how his dad had been with him that morning and that we would all go together to the next Mass. After my husband got up he asked how the Mass went. I told him it went well. That it was neat that my oldest son had chosen Luke 2 for us to read before going into the Chapel, and then that it was the same thing that was read during the Mass. I also told my husband that I was really struggling about praying to Mary. That I was taught and brought up very strictly on praying to the Holy Trinity alone, and that it is strongly condemned those who pray to others other than God. I also told my husband that I am struggling about the wine being used as the blood of Jesus because I grew up in a home and a religion who taught that to drink wine was to commit a sin, and it is condemned very strongly those who would drink wine. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to embrace these teachings of the Catholic Church. He then encouraged me about the confirmation I received in the experience we had with the reading of Luke 2, reminding me that there are no coincidences where God is concerned.
I asked the Lord to help me embrace the Catholic teachings which were harder for me to accept
That week, I prayed harder to God, I told him that I knew that this Church is where he was leading me. So I asked him to help me embrace these teachings that were harder for me to come to terms with. My husband at that time began to do a deeper research for me about Mary and bought a book for me called Christ’s Mother and Ours for me to read while he continued his research. We talked a lot of hours during the day and especially at night about this specific topic of Mary. My husband tried his best to present to me the different studies he had done and what he had learned, in order to help me understand this teaching. One night during this week he told me how he had started praying to Mary. I told him, in a mocking way, “go ahead, pray to your Mary, I will never pray to Mary and other people.” As soon as I said these words my heart began jumping so fast, I felt guilty for mocking Mary and the Saints. After talking to my husband I went to my knees and asked God to forgive me for making fun of his mother, and asked Mary to forgive me for mocking her name, but was very hesitant in calling her name.
After a few days, while I was reading my book about Mary, there is one thing that caught my attention in the book. The author explains that there is two definitions of prayer. One is worshipping and that this type of prayer is for God alone. The other is an earnest request, like when we talk to other people and ask them to pray for us. That it is the same thing when we pray to Mary, it simply means to give her a request. Like saying Mary, please pray for me, please help me, and so on, just like we do when we ask other people to pray for us. After reading this, I finally understood why Catholic people do not find it wrong when they pray to Mary.
My husband had also gotten me another book called Hail Holy Queen, explaining about Mary and her role, and how she was being typified from Genesis through Revelation. So, after reading these two books, and our many talks, I was finally convinced that Mary deserves all the honor we can give her, and that it is right to pray to her.
I began my devotion to Mary by praying the Rosary
So I started praying the Rosary, and during my first attempt I was also praying to God that I was not sinning by doing the Rosary, even though I had already understood that it was right to pray to her. I did my second Rosary and experienced the same thing. However even though I still struggled, I experienced something neat. Both times after doing the Rosary it smelled to me like incense. It smelled so good and sweet which was odd because both times the kids had just gotten up from bed where drool is still around the mouth and all of the early morning smells, but it smelled so sweet and good. The children told me that it smelled like Church.
Wednesday night the following week, when my husband was home, he thought that I was still struggling on praying to Mary and the Saints. So he started talking about all the other things he had learned and was very passionate in convincing me why it was okay for me to be praying to Mary and the Saints. So while he was passionately trying to convince me, I simply said, “whats your problem?” He said, “because you just don’t get it.” I said “about what?” He said, “about praying to Mary and the Saints.” “Really,” I said. “Yes,” was his response, and then he began his lecture again like I didn’t get it. So I started laughing and told him, “You’re good, because I’m good now. my struggle about these things is over.” He stopped, looked at me and asked, “why didn’t you tell me?” “Well” I said, “you didn’t ask before beginning and passionately lecturing me about it.” He said, “Oh!” and we started laughing about the whole thing, and giving God the praise that we were finally on the same page with this topic.
Sharing my devotion to Mary with my parents was an emotional moment
Later I called my parents and told them what was going on. It was a very emotional moment for my mom, so she handed the phone to my dad, and I explained to him everything. I appreciate his calmness and that I was able to talk to him and that he listened to what I had to say and told me exactly what he thinks. Little did he know that all of the things he was telling me, I had already went through those fears and struggles on coming into the Catholic Church. He asked me if this meant I would start drinking wine? I told him no, but inside of me was this struggle I still had about taking the wine as the blood of Jesus in the Eucharist. To my great surprise, my dad told me that if the wine is being used as part of the body and blood of Christ then it was okay. Oh my goodness! What a great relief I had that night. To have my dad’s blessing on this area that I was struggling with was a great thing. I just thank God for working it out so smoothly for me in regards to my struggles in coming into his Church, the Catholic Church.
And so yes, I am now praying to Mary and all the Saints in heaven, and God’s angels. I feel very good in my heart knowing that the armies of heaven are on my side. They are my prayer warriors and my helpers, especially in carrying out the will of my Father.