Between the Catholic Feasts of Our Lady’s Assumption into Heaven (August 15) and Our Lady’s Birthday (September 8), it may be a good moment to reflect upon a major Protestant objection to the devotion of Catholics to Our Lady, namely, all attention, honour and prayer directed towards Our Lady is so much taken away from Our Lord – he alone is our Redeemer, so to him alone should all our devotion, worship and prayer be directed. The following quotation, coming as from Our Lord himself, puts many such objections in a different perspective:—
The human eye cannot stare at the sun, whereas it has no difficulty in gazing upon the moon. The spiritual eye of the human soul cannot behold the perfection of God as it is in itself, but it can look upon the perfection of Mary. Mary is like the moon with regard to the sun. By its light she is lit up, and that light is what she reflects upon yourselves, but she softens that light in a kind of spiritual mist by which it becomes bearable to behold for your limited nature. That is why for centuries it is her that I have been putting forward as a model for all of you that I wish to have as brothers, precisely as children of Mary, like myself.
She is the Mother. How sweet it is for children to look upon their mother! I gave her to you for that reason, so that you would have a gentle Majesty to behold, splendid enough to seize and to hold your gaze but not so brilliant as to dazzle your sight. Only to souls chosen out by me for special reasons which you cannot dispute have I shown myself in all the brilliance of the God-Man, absolute Intelligence and Perfection. However, the gift of that vision had to be accompanied by another gift to make living souls capable of enduring such knowledge of me without being annihilated by it.
Whereas all of you can look upon Mary. Not because she is like you, far from it! Her purity raises her so high that I, her Son and her God, treat her with veneration. Her perfection is so great that all Paradise bows before her throne which bathes in the changeless smile and everlasting brilliance of Our Threeness. But this brilliance which permeates and imbues her more than it does any other creature of God is tempered by the purest veils of her stainless flesh through which she shines like a star, gathering together all of God’s light and spreading it around like a gentle illumination upon all his creatures.
And then she is for ever your Mother. And she has all forms of the Mother’s kindness, making excuses and interceding for you and patiently leading you on. Great is Mary’s joy when she can say to a soul that loves her, “Love my Son.” Great is my own joy when I can say to a soul that loves me, “Love my Mother.” And greatest of all is our double joy when we see either a soul at my feet leaving me to go to my Mother, or one of you held in my Mother’s arms leaving her to come to me. Because the Mother is jubilant when she can give to her Son more souls enamoured of her, and the Son is jubilant when he sees more souls loving his Mother. For when it comes to our glory neither of us seeks to overcome the other, the glory of each of us being complete in the glory of the other.
That is why I say to you, “My child, love Mary. I give her to you. She loves you, and with nothing but the gentleness of her smile she will light up your existence.”
If Catholics knew how to let her light shine through them, they would draw numberless souls towards her Son and towards God, as truly devout Protestants can only wish.