A special love for Our Lady tells the struggle undertaken by her sons to defend their Mother from attacks by heretics, by indifferent Christians, and by those who want to reduce the love and glory with which the holy Virgin should be honored.
St. Cyril was victorious in defending the Divine Maternity of Our Lady. St. Jerome vigorously fought errors that denied Mary’s perpetual Virginity. St. John Damascene strongly defended the honor due the images of Mary, paying the price of having his hand cut off. St. Bernard caused Marian devotion to thrive when it was dwindling almost everywhere. St. Anthony defended and explained well the truth of Mary’s Assumption. Bl. John Duns Scotus presented enlightening explanations of the privilege of the Immaculate Conception. In his celebrated True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis Grignon de Montfort vigorously and fervently upheld the excellence of devotion to Mary. St. Alphonsus Liguori fought the battle on every front in his Glories of Mary, upholding Mary’s Immaculate Conception, her rank as Mediatrix of all graces, her Assumption into Heaven, and her Queenship. It is touching to learn how St. Alphonsus would shed tears in his fervor when he was writing against Our Lady’s enemies. He was defending his Mother.
In our own day, against wild criticism so radical as to call for abolishing devotion to Our Lady, St. Maximilian M. Kolbe set forth the value of consecrating ourselves to Mary in an even more radical, complete way. He also upheld Mary’s role as Mediatrix of all graces, and desired to see a solemn dogmatic declaration of this by the Church.
Against recent attacks on the Rosary, Bl. Pio of Pietrelcina defended the perennial worthiness of this prayer by the weight of his prestigious example; he recited his beads (five decades) more than a hundred times a day.
We, indeed, like all the Saints, should earnestly seek to make our own two maxims of the great St. Bonaventure. The first is, “One should carefully beware of decreasing, even the slightest, the honor that is owed to Mary.” And the second, “One should be ready to defend Mary’s privileges even at the risk of his life.” There have been many Saints (for example, St. Leonard of Port Maurice, St. Alphonsus Liguori) who took the “vow even to shed their blood,” if need be, in order to defend Mary’s Immaculate Conception. In defense of their heavenly Mother, the love of true sons ventures even to death; for “charity never falleth away” (I Cor. 13: 8).
From Devotion to Our Lady by Fr. Stefano Manelli, FI