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Saturday, 24 March 2012

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee

The simplicity and beauty of the Feast of the Annunciation, traditionally March 25th, moves one to contemplate on the humility of Our Blessed Virgin, Mary. I find it odd that so many seminarians and youth in Catholic schools never or rarely hear about the few Scriptural texts which refer to Our Lady, the Theotokos, outside of Mass. The reverence and duty which are due to her seem to be more and more slipping away. Indeed, several years ago, some sems said to me that they were surprised at the lack of Marian devotion in their seminary. Also, the lack of Marian devotion in seminaries was one of the leading criticisms of the American Visitation from Rome several years ago. Not much has changed.

Young men can benefit greatly from a devotion the the Blessed Virgin Mary, and my own experience is that those who love Mary have much healthier relationships with women, either young or old. The number of priests I have met in my life who openly dislike women and their company would fill a book, sadly, and I include several countries in that criticism. However, I have found less love for Mary and women among priests in America than in other places. In fact, one of the worst scenarios included my stint of teaching religion to all four levels of a supposed Catholic school, where I was told by the priest-president not only to stop teaching the Rosary, but not to emphasize Mary in my classes or teaching. It simply was not "done at this school". Needless to say, many boys had terrible relationships with girls, and lacked any sense of gentlemanly behavior. The priest turned out to be the best friend of a homosexual, pedophile priest in the diocese, which confirmed my suspicions that priests who do not love Mary have serious sexual problems of that ilk. Another priest who claimed to love Mary, who I met a year ago, has very odd ideas about women, which amount to a hidden hatred for them. His love for Mary is based on a false idea of womanhood. This is an important point. Mary is not only Queen, but the Mother, the Mother of God and the Mother of all of us, her children through grace. 

I find that the recent plethora of false visions do not help the real concept of Mary as Mother of God, but only emphasize her role as petitioner, not even her role as Mediatrix of All Grace. The quicker Rome clarifies her position as the Mediatrix and Co-Redemptorix, the better, as some priests do not want to accept these roles. I have discussed this with teaching priests in seminaries who really do not want to pay attention to the Theotokos at all. Draw your own conclusions.

That young men need to learn to love Mary, for an understanding of the dignity of all women, is of primary importance. No marriage class or no class on the spirituality of the priest should be taught without reference to this simple, but great Woman, who turned the curse of Eve into the Alleluias of Christmas and Easter.