Our Marian devotion is manifested through praying the Rosary and the Litany of Loreto, May Crowning, celebrating some aspect of Mary’s place in salvation history. All that is said of Mary is really speaking of Jesus Christ.
Today, Pope Francis went to the papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major to pray the rosary. This is his second visit to the Marian shrine. The Marian icon of Mary Health of the Roman Peoples normally is in the Pauline Chapel at Saint Mary Major. For Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola celebrated his first Mass on Christmas eve morning in 1538, following his priestly ordination because of the presence of the relic of the Lord’s manger because he could not go to Bethlehem. It took Ignatius 18 months to celebrate his first Mass.
As a personal note, I make it a point to visit each of the four papal basilicas, each for a particular reason. Besides the obvious, I also make a good confession at the Liberian Basilica because of this devotion of Loyola’s to the Incarnation.
The Pope, in his reflection, said that Mary maternally guide us as her children to be more and more in union with her Son, Jesus. Mary always points to Jesus. We ask Mary bring us the gift of good health because of her tenderness for us as a mother. Tenderness for ourselves is terrific grace given to us through Mary’s intercession and therefore she is our saving grace. Always remember that Mary doesn’t act in her own name but only in relation to her Son and Our Lord.
Mary helps us to grow: she does not want us to yield to laziness, not to give-in to superficiality, not be stunted by the temptations of society. Helping us to grow, to be strong and to be responsible is the desire of any mother for a child; Here we say that she shows how to reach upwards.
Mary helps us to face life directly. We have obstacles but Mary shows how to look at life with realism. Reality never fails. In her we are given an example of balance. She pints the path to her Son. The Lord entrusts Mary, His mother to John from the cross. And so we become her children.
Mary teaches us to be free. Freedom means not being dominated by passions, it doesn’t mean living without discernment, without judgement on the experience; it does not mean giving into trends, especially those dictated by an unscrupulous society. We can’t be branches swaying in the wind. At some point we need to act with intelligence. And herein lies what is: the possibility of adhering to our Destiny. Destiny is only known by acting as adult; we can’t remain teenagers all of our lives. Freedom is given by God to us as gift so that we make good decisions. Mary, in freedom, answered Yes to the decision to be the Mother of God. The fear of definitive of commitment is given another face with Mary who said Yes to love, to life, to the community of faith, to health, to live fruitfully, generating new life (physically and spiritually).