Photo: Felix Carroll
Union With Mary Is Attainable for All
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following article by Joseph A. Pelletier first appeared in the July-September 1958 issue of Marian Helpers Bulletin, now called Marian Helper.
There are many steps in devotion to Our Lady. An elementary one consists in regularly saying prayers such as the Hail Mary, the Memorare, and the Rosary. Going to Mass on Saturdays or on Mary's feast days are also in this same category.
Yet all of these things can still be isolated, external practices that do not seriously affect one's interior attitude. To change on the inside, we must augment our external practices by establishing a permanent bond with Our Lady.
Consecration to Mary is certainly an important step forward in a devotion to her, particularly if this consecration is repeated often enough with a fullness of heart.
The consecration, by its nature, implies a desire to draw closer to Mary, to assure her influence over one's entire life.
If repeated often enough — for example on rising or during morning prayers, at Mass, or Holy Communion — the consecration will create an intimate relationship between Mary and the soul. It will invariably have a powerful effect on one's spiritual life.
Another important step in this devotion consists in attempting to establish a life of close union with her. This step could be considered a sort of extension of the consecration of the soul to Mary, that is, a means of strengthening that consecration and bringing it to fruition.
Union with Mary is the immediate goal of true devotion to Our Lady, union with God being the ultimate objective. The highest degree of union with her, mystical union, is granted only to souls that have reached the summit of perfection. This is a gratuitous grace that cannot be merited by anyone, although any person can legitimately aspire to it and dispose oneself for it.
There is, however, ordinary or acquired union with the Blessed Mother. A soul, aided by ordinary grace, can readily attain through generous and concerted effort this lower form of union with her.
Union with Mary is most desirable, and all souls should be encouraged to seek it. In striving for that union, we follow the example of Jesus, who was most intimately united with His holy mother throughout His life, from the moment of His conception to His death on the cross. The union increased during the remainder of Mary's mortal life.
The saints frequently used objects such as statues and images of Our Lady as a stepping stone for contact between our soul and Mary. With deliberation and care, we select such objects and images to use in recollecting ourselves interiorly, saying some prayer or invocation that will assist us in establishing living contact with Mary.
Did you know the Marians have a Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass.? You can join. Learn all about it..