Cold Shoulder

I have a friend who ignores the Blessed Mother and the saints as a matter of policy.

My friend has explained to me, that he believes the Saints are a distraction from Jesus Christ, and speaking to them in prayer is an unnecessary part of his spiritual life. He's told me that prayer to and with the Saints isn't necessary for his salvation, and so he has chosen not to include them in his spiritual circle of friends.

I've always thought my friend's approach was a little like going to a party, making a beeline through a crowded room for the guest of honor while purposely ignoring everyone else in the room.

Fortunately for us, the Saints are more understanding than most party guests.

The Christian faith is really more than "me and Jesus." In fact, we know from Sacred Scripture alone that to be a Christian means that we have a relationship with Christ through the community of believers (the Church). Simply put, Christianity is an "us and Jesus" religion.

Let me give you a few examples.

In the Acts of the Apostles, we find the first Christian community gathered together, "All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers." (Acts 1:14).

In his letter, St James underlines how powerful the saints' prayers on our behalf are: The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful. (Jas 5:16)

In Revelation 8:5-6, John gives us a vision of those prayers from the saints in heaven having real effect on the earth: "The smoke of the incense along with the prayers of the holy ones went up before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with burning coals from the altar, and hurled it down to the earth. There were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake."

Sacred Tradition also has a thing or two to say about our spiritual family.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church expands on St Paul's letter to the Ephesians in explaining our connection to Christ and the saints:

Exactly as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace, and the life of the People of God itself" (#957).

These quotes are a fraction of what Scripture and Tradition have to say about our lives within the Church and our relationship to Jesus. Because Christ is not bound by space and time, we know that those incorporated into His Body are not bound, either. The Saints pray with and for us, gathered around the Throne in Heaven as we gather around the altar here on Earth. The greatest of these saints is the Holy Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Mountains have been written on the relationship of the Christian to the Blessed Mother…but as much as has been written, it's really not all that complicated. You see, its all about family.

We are part of a divine family…one that includes our Father God, the Spirit, and the Son, Jesus Christ. Because by virtue of our baptism we are now adopted sons and daughters of the Father, we become brothers of Jesus, and therefore sons of Mary.

She doesn't distract from Christ any more than your mother distracts from your father, or the artwork distracts from the artist. The Blessed Virgin is the masterwork of the Master, so much of a masterwork that a litany of titles honors her: Help of Christians, Ark of the Covenant, New Eve, etc. Each title tells us something about the role God selected for her: our mother and "heavenly prayer partner," and sign of the covenant. The Church encourages us to go to her in prayer as a means of drawing closer to Jesus, since there is no human being closer to Jesus than His mother.

St Louis de Montfort wrote, "Do not imagine that Mary, the most fruitful of creatures who gave birth to God, remains barren in a faithful soul. It will be she who makes the soul live incessantly for Jesus Christ, and will make Jesus live in the soul". The Blessed Virgin is not fruitless; she continues to bear fruit in leading souls to her Son. If you want to find a sure path to love Jesus more fully, drawing near to His mother is best way to do it.

All theology aside, at some level it comes down to manners. Why would we ignore the mother of Our Lord? Surely we run the risk of offending Him by giving her the cold shoulder.

When we approach the Throne of David to meet our Savior face to face, and see the Queen Mother there as well, how will Jesus great us? Will we be asked about our manners, or will we hear, "Ah yes, my mother mentioned you to Me."

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