As a Catholic, I had been taught that we go to Jesus through Mary, hence our devotion to Mary. I think this isn’t explained very well to a lot of people, so I do understand why many Protestants protest that you can go directly to Jesus without even getting to know Mary.
I will admit that while I was growing up I never understood the whole Mary business, and when I rediscovered Catholicism I didn’t go to Jesus through Mary either. It took – gasp! – Astrology, Buddhism and Platonism to bring me back to Jesus. Ah! Can the road to Jesus be a pagan one? Of course it can.
But as a Catholic, of course, I couldn’t set Mary aside. She was everywhere. And so were the saints. It’s funny, but I understood the purpose of the saints, yet I didn’t understand Mary. I was a little confused, so I asked God.
I was told, ‘Later. You will come to understand later.’
I tried praying the rosary with other people, but I still didn’t understand Mary so I stopped. I tried praying to Mary and asking her to explain things to me, but she remained silent. During that time, I was still going to mass daily because I needed the Eucharist to sustain me. Also, I felt that there will come a time when I will pray the rosary every day, but not yet.
Several months later, work prevented me from going to daily mass even if I wanted to. Coincidentally, I also felt a great desire to pray the rosary, so I said to myself, “Ok, I’ll do this.”
I must say I probably messed up a few of the prayers, e.g. not saying the Holy Mary’s, and counting incorrectly despite having a rosary in my hand. I’m sorry. But I guess that’s ok for someone who has not prayed the rosary alone for more than 20 years. I thing Mary forgave me, just like a mother will forgive her child’s first awkward attempts to cook breakfast – burnt toast and raw bacon.
I didn’t really notice my mistakes because as I prayed the rosary alone in my room, a tingly sensation went up and down my body. I’m not kidding. And I ended up crying because I finally understood Mary.
Do you know why we honor the Greeks for having the first democratic state? Because they were trailblazers. Because they didn’t have anybody they could emulate. Because even if everyone else was doing something else, they had the courage to say, ‘No, that’s not the way to do it, this is.’
We honor people who were the first to do things we consider noble or great because it takes a lot of virtue – intelligence, foresight, courage, conviction, etc. to do this.
It was the same with Mary. She is the first saint because she said, ‘Be it done according to your will.’ This is exactly what God asks from all of us: We surrender and we obey.
So now I pray the rosary every day; and I must say, even if the going gets tough and I can’t go to mass daily, the rosary helps me to get through.
I guess God built me up first with daily mass, then when He thought my faith is strong enough He gave me Mary to help sustain it. Even if I can’t receive the Eucharist every day, there’s His mother helping me along.
As a Catholic, I will say that you don’t necessarily have to go to Jesus through Mary. That’s not what Catholicism teaches anyway. Mary is a bonus, but she’s a great bonus. The goal is still to be with Jesus, not Mary; so if you’ve been praying the rosary but still remain as sinful as ever, maybe you’re praying it incorrectly, i.e. just saying the words but thinking of something else.
I tell you, pray the rosary, and pray it correctly. You don’t need to do this just like you don’t need to add that vitamin shot in your smoothie, but it’s a great bonus. Later on, your soul will glow a little more than it used to, just like the way your skin glows a little more from that vitamin shot.
Don’t we all need a little more glow in our lives?