We Honor Jesus in Honoring Mary

Honor your mother and father. It’s not only one of the first of God’s Commandments that we learned in Catechism class, but for many of us it is also one of the first household lessons we learned. I can remember several moments when I especially learned this lesson the hard way.

Lessons learned the hard way are not easy, but many times they are the ones that stick with us the most. Saint John Paul II once mentioned that he learned about devotion to the Holy Spirit this way. He recounts that one day as a young boy he came home from school and his dad asked him how he did on his math exam. The young Karol responded that despite studying the best he could, the test didn’t go so well. To which his father gently, but firmly rebuked him for not praying to the Holy Spirit enough. The Holy Father learned his lesson the hard way, and admitted that from that day forward he persisted in praying often to the Holy Spirit especially asking for His gifts.

When it comes to Marian devotion some have a hard time learning the lesson about its “secret”. What is the secret? The secret is that true Marian devotion is the surest and safest way to true devotion to Christ. In choosing to honor and love Mary we find the quickest path to honoring and loving Jesus Christ.

But as St. Louis de Montfort points out, scrupulous devotees don’t see it this way. Instead of promoting Marian devotion, they oppose it and ridicule it saying,

“To what end are so many chaplets, so many confraternities, and so many external devotions to the Blessed Virgin? There is much of ignorance in all this…We must have recourse to Jesus Christ; He is our only Mediator. We must preach Jesus Christ; this is the solid devotion.”

Montfort wisely teaches, however, that the exact opposite is true. The most solid devotion to Jesus Christ is built on a solid, living and true devotion to Mary, His Mother.

For never do we honor Jesus Christ more than when we are most honoring His Blessed Mother. Indeed, we only honor Mary that we may the more perfectly honor Jesus, inasmuch as we only go to her as to the way in which we are to find the end we are seeking, which is Jesus. (94).[1]

That we are seeking Jesus Christ as the goal of our devotion to Mary is especially relevant to the present liturgical season of Lent. Like Mary, Lent too is pointing us to Christ. Look to Him. Come back to Him. Follow Him.

The Cross was a hard lesson that Jesus learned for love of the Father and love of us. And when the rubber meets the road in our daily Christian lives, the lesson of the cross is perhaps the hardest lesson that He teaches us as our Friend and Lord. But because He is our Friend and Lord, Jesus also guarantees us that the hard lesson of the Cross ends with the sweetest joy of new life in Him.

So remember, in following the path to Calvary and in walking it with Mary we are on the surest, safest, and sweetest road to deeper and eternal union with Jesus Christ.

Seize the day and make it all Hers!


Fr. Christopher Etheridge, IVE



[1] Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary: With Preparation for Total Consecration (London: Catholic Way Publishing, 2014), 65-66.