Love requires first of all that we know the person who is loved. Hence we must instruct ourselves about Our Lady, otherwise we would offer her only a sentimental, blind love.
The better we know Our Lady, the more our love for her grows. The more we desire to love Our Lady, the more we should feel the need of delving into her mystery, of knowing her wonders, of discovering her heavenly charm.
It has always been a concern of the Magisterium of the Church to make Our Lady known, so that the love of her clients might be an enlightenment love. Pope Paul VI’s great Apostolic Exhortation, The Cult of the Blessed Virgin, serves to render more glorious and intelligible the knowledge of Our Lady in the Liturgy and in the piety of the faithful.
Knowledge of Our Lady is especially gained “with our knees,” said St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, that is, with humble prayer. The Saints prayed unweaveringly in order to obtain this gift from the Holy Spirit.
But we also have the holy Doctors who studied and wrote to instruct the faithful, and left us masterpieces on Our Lady. We may mention St. John Damascene, St. Bernard, St. Bonaventure, St. Bernardine of Siena, St. Antoninus, St. Thomas of Villanova, St. Lawrence of Brindisi, St. Anthony M. Claret, etc. But it is above all two Marian works, St.Louis Grignion de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary, and St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Glories of Mary, that have cultivated an enlightenment and strong Marian devotion in the souls of a number of generations. All the saints have learned from the master-teachers of the Church how to make their love for Our Lady something that sheds light and warmth.
St. Gemma Galgani read all the books she could obtain on Our Lady, and passed them on to others, urging them to read them too. She assisted at Marian functions during the months dedicated to Mary and during novenas in Mary’s honor, and listened to the sermon and Marian instructions.
St. Dominic Savio used to read many things on Mary, including accounts of current Marian events and little episodes about her, in order to tell them later to his companions.
And what do we do? Would it be very costly for us to give just fifteen minutes to reading and meditating about Out Lady? It would be a matter of spending a quarter of an hour in company with our heavenly Mother. Should we have to be begged to do this? Alas!
Consider something that St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows wrote, who was a true lover of Our Lady. “I would not exchange a quarter of an hour spent in blessed Mary’s company – who is our consolation, our portion, and our hope – for a year, or as much time as you like, in theaters and at worldly entertainments.”
From Devotion to Our Lady by Fr. Stefano Manelli, FI