Well, I really don’t feel very close to Mary. I love her like my own mother, and I respect and honor her, but I don’t feel very close to her. I pray the rosary often, but I really don’t feel very devoted twords her, if that’s the word. I do have a special devotion to the Divine Mercy.
Has anyone else felt this way? What can I do to get closer to Our Lady?
Cradle Catholic here, so I have no problem accepting Mary. Even been to Fatima, Portugal on a pilgrimage. I pray the Rosary, admittedly should do so more often.
It seems that some people are just given a special gift or consolation when it comes to “feeling” that Mary is their heavenly mother?
BTW, have done plenty of reading … There was required reading on the Fatima apparitions before the trip, plenty of teaching from Father Robert J. Fox and the priest and nuns accompanying him, and of course I continued reading after … we were all subscribed to Soul magazine, a publication of the Blue Army.
I once even tried to mention this in Confession, but the priest that time didn’t quite understand … probably because that particular priest had converted from a Protestant faith and had had to overcome issues about Mary from a different angle (intellectual) than what I was experiencing (emotional).
Best thing I can say even though I’m in the same boat with you is to keep at the Rosary. :o
And hey, for those of you who feel a special closeness to Mary, you are truly blessed!
I find a devotion to her Seven Sorrows helps immensely, as well as having the proper view of her loving care for you. Read spiritual readings about her sorrows. And remember how Christ felt about all that she did, and the happiness of the first Hail Mary.
Read spiritual books about Mary, such as those by St. Louis Marie de Montfort, and St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.
‘In between these resplendent lilies her Son placed seven precious gems. The first gem is her outstanding virtuousness, for there exists no virtue in any other spirit or in any other body, which she does not possess more excellently. The second gem is her perfect purity, for the Queen of Heaven was so pure that not a single stain of sin was ever to be found in her from the beginning when she first entered the world up to the final day of her death. Not all the devils together could find enough impurity in her to fit on the head of a pin. She was truly pure, for it was not fitting for the King of glory to lie in any but the purest, cleanest, and most select vessel among angels and men. The third gem was her beauty, for God is praised constantly by his saints for the beauty of his Mother. Her beauty completes the joy of the holy angels and of all holy souls. The fourth precious gem in the crown is the Virgin Mother’s wisdom, for she was filled with all divine wisdom in God and through her all wisdom is completed and perfected. The fifth gem is power, for she is so powerful before God that she can crush anything that has been created or made. The sixth gem is her shining clarity, for she shines so clear that she even sheds light on the angels, whose eyes shine more clearly than light, and the demons do not dare to look upon her shining clarity. The seventh gem is the fullness of every delight and spiritual sweetness, since her fullness is such that there is no joy that she does not add to, no delight that is not made fuller and more perfect through her and through the blessed vision of her, for she is filled and replete with grace beyond all the saints. She is the pure vessel in which lay the bread of angels and in which all sweetness and beauty is found. Her Son placed these seven gems in between the seven lilies in her crown. Wherefore, bride of her Son, honor and praise her with all your heart, for she is truly worthy of all praise and honor!’
St. John the Baptist to St. Bridget of Sweden in a vision, describing the Blessed Virgin Mary
As Jesus is called the King of sorrows and the King of martyrs, because He suffered during, His life more than all other martyrs; so also is Mary with reason called the Queen of martyrs, having merited this title by suffering the most cruel martyrdom possible after that of her Son. Hence, with reason, was she called by Richard of Saint Lawrence, “the Martyr of martyrs”; and of her can the words of Isaias with all truth be said, “He will crown thee with a crown of tribulation;” that is to say, that that suffering itself, which exceeded the suffering of all the other martyrs united, was the crown by which she was shown to be the Queen of martyrs. That Mary was a true martyr cannot be doubted, as Denis the Carthusian, Pelbart, Catharinus, and others prove; for it is an undoubted opinion that suffering sufficient to cause death is martyrdom, even though death does not ensue from it. Saint John the Evangelist is revered as a martyr, though he did not die in the caldron of boiling oil, but he came out more vigorous than he went in. Saint Thomas says, “that to have the glory of martyrdom, it is sufficient to exercise obedience in its highest degree, that is to say, to be obedient unto death.” “Mary was a martyr,” says Saint Bernard, “not by the sword of the executioner, but by bitter sorrow of heart.” If her body was not wounded by the hand of the executioner, her blessed heart was transfixed by a sword of grief at the passion of her Son; grief which was sufficient to have caused her death, not once, but a thousand times. From this we shall see that Mary was not only a real martyr, but that her martyrdom surpassed all others; for it was longer than that of all others, and her whole life may be said to have been a prolonged death.
“The passion of Jesus,” as Saint Bernard says, “commenced with His birth”. So also did Mary, in all things like unto her Son, endure her martyrdom throughout her life. Amongst other significations of the name of Mary, as Blessed Albert the Great asserts, is that of “a bitter sea.” Hence to her is applicable the text of Jeremias: “great as the sea is thy destruction.” For as the sea is all bitter and salt, so also was the life of Mary always full of bitterness at the sight of the passion of the Redeemer, which was ever present to her mind. “There can be no doubt, that, enlightened by the Holy Ghost in a far higher degree than all the prophets, she, far better than they, understood the predictions recorded by them in the sacred Scriptures concerning the Messias.” This is precisely what the angel revealed to Saint Bridget; and he also added, “that the Blessed Virgin, even before she became His Mother, knowing how much the Incarnate Word was to suffer for the salvation of men, and compassionating this innocent Saviour, who was to be so cruelly put to death for crimes not His own, even then began her great martyrdom.”’
I too have the same “problem.” Yes, I do pray the Rosary every day but I feel no particular emotional devotion to Our Lady. I have even given talks on Marian devotion and people have said that they have been helped to grow closer to her by what I have said. I just don’t feel it. And that’s OK I guess. I have read all the books, participated in differnt devotions and visited Marian shrines. I brought this up to my spiritual director years ago. He has a very deep devotion to Our Lady. He had me read Louis de Monfort, meditate more on the Rosary, pray to Mary as one Mother to another, but nothing has happened to increase my feeling of closeness to her. Perhaps some people don’t need that deep devotional expereince. I would not let it bother you too much.
I think I know what you mean by the feeling of devotion to Mary. I don’t particularly have that feeling either, but what I do have is admiration and respect and someone I strive to be like in my everyday life. I look at how Mary lived her life as a guide to live mine especially when confusion seems to be a constant companion at times. There have been some times that I have been afraid to go to Jesus but I have complete confidence I can go to her without any fear of her but I can tell her my fears and she always helps me and that fear disappears. I can go to her about anything, just like I can with my mother and I know that she will help me. I also know that as a mother, she understands what I am experiencing with my own children and all the emotions I go through. I do know that I do feel that sense of devotion like you to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Jesus crucified. But when you are praying the Rosary you in fact do have a devotion to her and the Blessed Virgin Mary always directs our hearts towards her Son. Remember, she is a Jewish mother. I don’t think just because the "feeling’ or type of affection is different doesn’t mean “less than”…just different. I have also just recently started practicing devotions to Our Lady of Sorrows. I’ve been putting this link up quite frequently lately…but here it is again. catholictradition.org/Mary/sorrows.htm
For me, it was reading St. Louis Marie de Montfort’s “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.” I highly recommend it…I think everyone should read it!
Still, it depends on what you mean by “closer” to Mary…you don’t need to have her appearing to you or anything (i’m sure you know that) but as long as you always turn to her and depend on her when you fall, and in the face of temptation. Contemplate on her as a person, too, helps…the writings of St. Mary of Agreda are approved writings on revelations about Mary’s life. I never read it myself, but the details are a good reminder of how Mary is just a human like any of us (well, she’s different, but you know what I mean.)
You sound close to Mary but not affectively. Pray to Jesus to make you feel affection for Mary and even closer to her as your Mother. Read about Mary’s life from books written by the saints like saint Mary of Agreda’s The Mystical City of God. Read the words of Mary spoken to us through the visionaries of the Catholic Church. And just pray to her with all the love a grateful daughter could have for such a loving and dear Mother.