Fr.Martin Chittadiyil V.C.
I asked Jesus, “How much do you love me?”
He stretched out his hand and said, “This much.”
And he died on the cross.
Just before Jesus’ sacrificial death for our redemption, some heart moving events took place at Calvary. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her. He said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to his disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home (John 19:26-27).
If we are true disciples of Jesus we will take Mother Mary to our home. We will give her a special place in our lives. We will give her special veneration. We will say holy rosary without fail. We will receive many blessings through her powerful intercession.
Many ask, “Is it right and just to give special veneration to Blessed Virgin Mary?” The Bible teaches us in clear way it is right and just. Let’s see who are the ones gave special veneration to Mother Mary.
1 – Who are having the anointing of holy presence of God will give special veneration to Mother Mary.
It was Angel Gabriel who was serving Almighty God in His holy presence gave Mother Mary the special veneration for the first time. “And he (Angel Gabriel) came to her (Mary) and said,”Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28).
2 – Who are having the anointing of Holy Spirit will give special veneration to Mother Mary.
We find St. Elizabeth, mother of John the baptizer, paying respect to Mother Mary and praising her. “And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:41-42).
The above Words of God remind us of our prayer of Rosary and when we pray, “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb,” we are repeating the Words of God and this is a powerful biblical prayer.
3 – Who are having the anointing of the Word of God.
Once Jesus was preaching the Word of God. A woman who was filled with the anointing of the Word of God cried out praising Mother Mary. “A woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” (Luke 11:27).
“But Jesus said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11: 28). The question is this: Is there any one who heard the Word of God and obeyed it more than Mother Mary? The answer is an absolute No. There is not one more open to the Word of God than her. Mother Mary always said, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
Thus, accepting the Word of God and living according to the Word of God, Mother Mary became the most blessed one. She is specially venerated as, “Our tainted nature’s solitary boast”.
In 1854 December 8 Pope Pius IX declared the Immaculate Conception of Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1858 Mother Mary confirmed this truth when she gave visions to St. Bernadette.
When Bernadette, an ordinary village girl, saw Mother Mary in her heavenly grace, she asked, “ Where do you come from?” Mother Mary answered, “ I come from heaven?” Bernadette asked again, “Who are you?” Mother Mary replied, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
St. Hippolitus beautifully wrote about it, “God freed from defilement and corruption, the tabernacle of God: Blessed Virgin Mary”
Some people continue to argue that Mother Mary is not virgin and she had many children. The mention in the holy Bible about the brothers of Jesus must be understood as cousins of Jesus. The Hebrew word used in the original text is Adelphos and it means cousins, not brothers from the same mother and father. Blessed Virgin Mary was always virgin and her husband Joseph remained chaste.
Mother Mary’s intercession is powerful. I am sure we have our own personal testimonies on this fact. From Biblical point of view, we do not need much explanations to understand this. It is enough to remember what happened at the wedding of Cana (John 2). Mother Mary said to Jesus, “They have no wine.” Jesus performed his first miracle through her intercession. How consoling it is to think that the same mother continues her intercession being in heaven in the presence of her son.
Some people accuse Catholics asking, “Why do you worship Mother Mary?” The answer is clear for all of us. We do not worship Mother Mary. We worship only Triune God (Latria). The respect we give to Mother Mary is called special veneration (Hyper Dulia). The prayers we make to saints and angels are called veneration (Dulia).
Let me conclude with the testimony of a faithful who opens our eyes to true Marian devotion. She was headmistress of a school. She was always regular in her holy mass and holy rosary. She was diagnosed with a serious and rare sickness called motor neuron syndrome. Each part of her body became inactive and stiff. She was having much pain and those were days of unexplainable suffering.
In her last days she was totally bedridden. She could not speak, because the tongue became stiff. But her hands were active. She used to write down on a notebook what she wanted to convey.
Her husband was a high intelligent officer. He was a man with power and influence. Once he heard about a protestant preacher who made claims of healing many. He said to his wife, “I can’t see your tears and sufferings. If you allow me I will take you to that pastor. Or I can bring him to our home. What is your opinion?”
She replied, writing on her note book, “From my childhood it is my dream and desire to go to heaven. I believe and pray that I will go to heaven after my death. I may receive a healing on this earth from a man who renounces and abuses Mother Mary and may prolong my life for a few more years. But one day I must die. When I reach heaven I am sure there will be Mother Mary. Rejecting her on the earth, how will I look at her face when I reach heaven? Let me die peacefully lying on the lap of my Blessed Mother and smile at her face when I reach heaven.”
Her husband testified, “She had the most peaceful and joyful death. She slept as if a child sleeps in the embrace of the loving mother. And I believe she is interceding for my family with Blessed Virgin Mary and all saints.”