“The greatest saints, those richest in grace and virtue will be the most assiduous in praying to the most Blessed Virgin, looking up to her as the perfect model to imitate and as a powerful helper to assist them.”St. Louis de Montfort
While I’m sad that I didn’t grow up with a devotion to the Virgin Mary—since I know growing up with such a devotion would have helped me live more joyfully—I’m grateful for my increasing devotion to her these past few years. Because as the saints collectively agree, our Blessed Mother is pretty amazing.
For one thing, she is the literal Mother of God. She is Queen of Heaven and Earth. She is also so beautiful, pure, good, humble, just all around perfect, that the Devil and other demons fear her.
How crazy cool is all of that!
That said, I have to admit I was one of those Catholics who was hesitant to open my heart wholeheartedly to Our Lady when I started learning about her. I worried that loving Mary would take away from my love for Jesus. Thankfully, my sisters who are in the Legion of Mary encouraged me not to worry about that. It’s not even possible.
“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”St. Maximilian Kolbe
Our Lord only ever gives us good gifts, gifts for us to love, gifts that will draw us closer to Him. So God wants us to love Mary. If He didn’t, He wouldn’t have given her to us.
I’m glad that I let that initial fear go and opened my heart to loving Mary because the closer I’ve grown in my relationship with her, the closer I’ve grown with God. And that’s the point. Our Lady will always lead us to her Son.
“[Mary] is the safest, easiest, shortest and most perfect way of approaching Jesus.”St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary
If we want to draw more people to God and renew the face of the earth, whether that be around the world or simply in own homes and communities, the surest way is through Mother Mary. There are a number of ways to do this, but the two I’m most familiar with and recommend are through the Legion of Mary and the Holy Rosary.
The Legion of Mary
Founded in September 1921 by Servant of God Frank Duff, the “Legion of Mary is a lay apostolic association of Catholics who, with the sanction of the Church and under the powerful leadership of Mary Immaculate, Mediatrix of All Graces, serve the Church and their neighbor on a voluntary basis.
“The Legion aims to bring Mary to the world as the infallible means of winning the world to Jesus and legionary service is based on the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ so that in their fellow members and in those they serve, legionaries seek to have the Person of our Lord once again seen and served by Mary, his Mother.”(legionofmary.ie)
Our Lady called my two sisters to join her Legion almost as soon as we returned to the Church, and their own fiats have been a blessing to our family. Where before our house was full of pride and strained relationships, our home is now a place of peace and unity. We’re not saints yet, of course, but my family continues to grow closer to God and each other thanks to our Blessed Mother.
As legionaries, my sisters have grown in virtue, grown in their faith, and grown as individuals. They’re spreading their wings more, evangelizing in our city and on weeklong PPCs (Peregrinatio Pro Christo) in other states, and instilling a love for Mary—and in turn Jesus—in children and teens in a Junior Praesidium. They give everything for our Blessed Mother, and through her intercession, she has given them so much in return.
If you’d like to grow your relationship with Mary and have time to commit to a weekly meeting and one apostolic work, definitely see if there’s a Praesidium in your parish or city that you can join.
Not everyone is called to be an active legionary though, either because we don’t have time or we’re not inclined to evangelize in that way. However, we can still support the Legion’s work of drawing souls to Jesus through Mary by becoming auxiliary members, “who associate themselves with the Legion by undertaking a service of prayer in its name.” (legionofmary.ie)
Auxiliary members commit to praying the Rosary and the Tessera, a leaflet containing the prayers of the Legion, daily. And trust me, being an auxiliary member and praying the Rosary is just as powerful a way to renew the face of the earth as being an active Legionary.
The Holy Rosary
I remember the few times my mom made us pray the Rosary growing up, it felt like it took forever. Needless to say, when my sisters started telling me to pray the Rosary I answered with a hard and fast “no” and I was even less inclined to pray when they told me to do so daily. Thankfully, God is always so patient with me, and so is Our Lady.
My sisters finally convinced me to pray the Rosary with them for the whole month of October in 2018 (though I still refused up until the last minute), and I’m really grateful that I stopped being stubborn. I’d already had my personal encounter with God earlier, but that commitment changed my world.
Not because I started praying the Rosary with devotion and fervor after that—I didn’t. But it was the beginning. While I didn’t pray daily, I did pray with my sisters more often. Then the next spring before their first PPC for the Legion, they asked me to pray the Rosary every day for the intention of a fruitful mission. Reluctantly, I promised, and for the first time in my life I prayed the Rosary on my own for seven days in a row.
And that was it. I couldn’t go back to not praying the Rosary every day anymore. Whether or not my sisters were with me didn’t matter. I knew I could pray the Rosary daily, and if I didn’t the guilt would eat me up.
The Rosary gives me a lot of peace. Repeating that Mary is the mother of God helps me believe it. Repeating “pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death” consoles me. I know our Blessed Mother is praying for me at every moment and that she’ll advocate for me when I die. She knows my needs and brings them to her Son on my behalf, and since her will is perfectly aligned with His, He always provides.
Fast forward to today and now I hope to one day pray the full Rosary, all four Mysteries, daily. Not because I have to, but because I want to.
I struggle with a wandering mind during prayer, so some days it doesn’t even feel like I actually prayed, and other days the Rosary feels more like an obligation than a gift. But I still show up, because I can’t not. I want to imitate Mary’s virtues. I want to have her faith and strength. I want to be close to her Son, so what better place to be than wrapped in her mantle? Because where Mary is, there Jesus is.
Whenever I look back on my restoration journey, I’m amazed by how my spiritual growth skyrocketed after I started praying the Rosary every day. It’s a beautiful testament to the power of the Rosary, to Mary’s loving intercession, and ultimately to God’s love.
And this is just my story. There are countless more moving and inspiring stories about the lives that have been changed and the souls that have been saved by Mary’s intercession, whether through the work of her Legion, other Marian dedicated groups or ministries, the Rosary, or her apparitions.
(Type “Mary” in the search bar here and you’ll get a bunch of our Marian blogs like Meeting Mary in a Dream, Finding Mary in Paris, Celebrating Our Universal Mother Mary, and Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God among others)
Our Blessed Mother transforms hearts, our own and the hearts of those we pray for. Through her, we can renew the face of the earth, one heart at a time.
“Mary has been unknown up till now, and that is one of the reasons why Jesus Christ is not known as he should be. If then, as is certain, the knowledge and the kingdom of Jesus Christ must come into the world, it can only be as a necessary consequence of the knowledge and reign of Mary. She who first gave him to the world will establish his kingdom in the world.”True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary