Jesus and Mary…
(from a October 7, 1979 homily)

The one purpose of our life is to become united with Our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the Way to God for Whom we were created.  He is the Truth, which is God.  And He is the Life, our life as children of God.  He is the center of all things, the goal of all searching, the Person Who, being all love, is the purpose of every devotion we have as Christians.  Anything that turned us aside from seeking Jesus and living in His presence would be evil and to be rejected.
One devotional practice that cannot be rejected without damaging our ability to journey to God is the Holy Rosary of Our Blessed Lady.  It is a devotion that is constantly under attack from the devil and from those who fall away from the true Faith.  It is a devotion that has produced and does produce the most striking results in the way of intervention from heaven in the affairs of men.  It is a prayer that wins extraordinary graces and at times miracles of grace or nature.

If God shows such delight in seeing His children saying the Rosary devoutly, it must be because it leads us strongly to His Only Begotten Son.  You may certainly say that the Rosary is a devotion to Our Lady, but it would not be so if it were not a devotion to Her Son.  The purpose of all true devotion is Jesus Christ, and this true devotion, namely to Our Lord, is expressed through our devotion to Our Lady as well as through our devotion to Christ Himself directly.

It is as if Jesus decided from all eternity that He would not become visible and known to us directly and without a special sign that would enable us to find and recognize Him.  When Adam committed the original sin, God gave a message to him and to Eve and to satan.  He told them about the coming defeat of satan by a human being, but God not only said that a descendant of Adam and Eve would defeat him; God said He would put enmity between the Woman and satan.  From then on satan knew that the sign that his defeat was imminent would be the coming of a Woman who would be opposed to him absolutely with an opposition that came straight from God.  The coming of Jesus would be preceded or pointed out by a sign, and that sign would be a remarkable Woman.  From then on mankind had to wait for that sign in order to find its Savior.

Isaiah the prophet testifies to this when he writes:  “The Lord Himself, therefore, will give you a sign.  It is this:  the Virgin is with child and will soon give birth to a Son, Whom She will call Emmanuel, a name which means God-is-with-us.”  The sign that victory through Christ is about to be brought about is the sign of Our Lady.  If you want to find Christ, look for the sign.

When St. John had the mysterious prophetic visions he recorded in the Apocalypse, one of them was this:  “A great sign appeared in heaven, a woman adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, and with twelve stars on her head for a crown.”  However mysterious and difficult to understand apocalyptic writings are . . . it is clear that in connection with the final victory of Christ coming about, there will be a sign, and once again it is Our Lady.

All devotion must lead to Christ, but the sign that He is coming is Our Lady.  If you try to ignore and bypass that sign, you will find it much more difficult to find Him.  God has given us a sign, and we ignore it at our peril.
The Holy Rosary puts us in the conscious presence of this sign.  “Hail Mary,” we say, “full of grace, blessed art Thou among women,” thus identifying Her with the sign in Genesis, the Woman at enmity with satan.  Then we look at what this beautiful sign points out to us.  “Blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus,” and as we bow our heads at His holy name, we are meditating on the mysteries of His life and death and resurrection.

But we do not only acknowledge the sign God has given us of the coming of Christ to our souls by saying “Hail Mary,” and make that coming real by meditating in faith on the mystery in question as we pronounce the name of Jesus; we then add the plea, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”  We do this because as Jesus died on the Cross, He told Mary that we were Her children and told us that She was our Mother.  There would have been no point in His giving us a Mother as He died if He did not want us to treat Her as a real Mother and ask Her help now and when we come to die.

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