St. Maximilian Kolbe, the great Marian saint of the 20th Century who died at Auschwitz, said: “Never be afraid of loving Mary too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.” Jesus is our Model in Marian devotion, par excellence. He gave us His own example in loving Mary, His Mother (Luke 2:51) as a dutiful Son. As His followers, we must imitate Him in loving obedience. After all, He gave us the Fourth Commandment: “Honor your father and mother.” The first public miracle He performed, the changing of water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana, was at His Mother’s request. He entrusted Mary to us, and us to Mary as He died on the Cross (John 9:27). Mary, in turn, always leads us back to Jesus: “Do whatever He tells you,” (John 2:5).
Mary is truly the ever-Virgin Mother of God. She has always been venerated by all Christians as Mother of God from the very beginning, and this truth was solemnly defined at the Council of Ephesus. She is Queen of Heaven and earth (just as in the Old Testament the queen was not the king’s wife, but the king’s mother) and our spiritual Mother, our Mother as truly as our mothers gave physical birth to us. She is the new Eve, Who has given us spiritual birth, reversing our first mother’s sin. Following Her being set apart from all Eternity and Her Immaculate Conception in view of Her mission, She gave Her Son life, which would end on the Cross for our salvation, followed by His rising, making our own eternal life possible.
There are various external forms of devotion to Mary including wearing Her Scapular, praying Her Rosary and other prayers, lighting candles before Her images and crowning them, walking in processions, joining confraternities and associations dedicated to Her, like the Congrega. These prayers, or actions, or groups lead us to interior devotion, by living holy lives and drawing closer to Her; all in Her honor, and so that She will bring us closer to Her Son.
To learn more about Mary’s importance and devotion to Her, read the True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montfort, The World’s First Love by Fulton Sheen, or Hail Holy Queen by Scott Hahn.