Let us say first of all that love is beyond doubt the heart of devotion to Our Lady. If it is a fact that there can be no true devotion without veneration, then even more so must we say that there can be no true devotion without love. The contrary is inconceivable. The very word devotion means “donating oneself,” and there can be no gift of self without an act of love.
Furthermore, the most natural disposition for mother and child to have toward one another is love; and from this flow all the other sentiments – thoughtfulness, kindness, self-sacrifice, gratitude, etc.
How could we call ourselves Mary’s children if we would not foster filial love for her? To bring our hearts into loving conformity with our heavenly Mother’s Heart – this should be the greatest and happiest task of our Marian devotion. Our sweet Mother says to us, “Son, give me thy heart.” (Prov. 23:26). “My Mother is playful,” St.Joseph of Cupertino said jestingly. “If I bring her flowers, she tells me she does not want them. Then I ask her, ‘Mother, what do you want, then’ and she says, ‘Your heart, only your heart satisfies me.'”
Along with acts that venerate her and our efforts to imitate her, then, we should give Mary our heart, that it may be like a chariot of fire in which veneration and imitation are both transported.
Reflect that if “God… hath first loved us” (1 Jn 4:10), Our Lady, too, first loved us when she gave us – along with her answer, “Be it done unto me according to thy word” – her consent to be our Mother – a Mother who would have all the sorrows and all the tresures of grace entrusted to her as Mediatrix and
Dispenser of Divine favors. Moreover, she does not fail to give herself wholly to us, even at times visibly renewing her immense mercy and her motherly care for us ungrateful and needy children. La Salette, Lourdes, Fatima, Syracure, are places in which Our Lady made her love perceptible to the senses in order that by repeated efforts she might touch our hearts.
How have we responded and how are we responding to this great love? It is true that we all consider ourselves and call ourselves devoted clients of Our lady; but what is the quality of the love in our Marian devotion?
From Devotion to Our Lady by Fr. Stefano Manelli, FI