Concerning Mary, think big!
Brother John M. Samaha, SM
Why do we honor Mary? Because God does. He chose her to be the mother of his Son, Jesus, our Redeemer. Jesus honors her as his mother. And we honor her as our spiritual mother. Jesus is our model, and we are invited to follow his example. Everything Mary does is related to bringing us and others to her Son, who redeemed us.
God wants us to honor Mary on earth as she is honored in heaven, not only in private devotions and in small groups, but also by celebrating her in large public gatherings. And not only in the month of May, specially dedicated to Mary, but at other times too. We are invited to find appropriate ways to show honor to Mary. We are challenged to think big.
Around the world Mary is honored in various ways. One popular manifestation is the pilgrimages to her shrines, big and little. Some are the sites of apparitions and miracles.
In Mexico at the great basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mary receives the homage of millions annually. Pilgrims visit her other shrines in other locations of North America and South America.
The Marian shrines of Europe honor her in a variety of ways, several of which are spots where she appeared to humble persons. Among the better known are the chapel of the Miraculous Medal in Paris, La Sallette and Lourdes. Fatima came later. These are among the more popular in the Western world. Then other shrines developed across Asia. And new places of pilgrimage are being established in our own times.
Our Blessed Mother continues to astound and confound the world's skeptics with appearances and with miracles of all kinds performed by her divine Son. Millions gather at her shrines each year. For those who believe, no explanation is needed. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.
Our private devotions, our liturgical prayers and celebrations are good.. But we can do more. What can be done? Organize a Marian event and open it to everyone. Think big — perhaps a bold program in a large venue. Some groups have done this in a public stadium. Publicize it widely. Sing the praises of Mary. And conclude with Mass to honor Jesus. Heavenly hosts of angels will join us, and the world will witness our love for her and her Son.
De Maria nunquam satis; concerning Mary we can never do enough.
(Marianist Brother John Samaha is a retired religious educator who worked for many years in the catechetical department of the Oakland diocese. He now resides in Cupertino.)
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