[quote=levi86]Oh yes, I fully accept the concept of the intersession of saints and have no problem with asking Mary to pray for me, not that I do (the Church clearly states I don’t have to). However I can see myself taking issue with being given penance that consists of the rosary or the Hail Mary in general. I don’t see why one should be “forced” to pray the rosary if they (according to the Church) don’t have to. I’m not quite sure that one could say that reciting the rosary isn’t devotion; at what point does it become devotion? As far as I know the Hail Mary was designed specifically as a form of Marian devotion.
Honestly I’d recommend that you read St. Louis de Montfort’s book “True Devotion to Mary” for help. His Holiness John Paul II said great things about this book!
That was the first book I read about Mary when I was wanting to learn about the Catholic faith as a Baptist. It goes to the nitty gritty of Catholic devotion to Our Lady. St. Louis de Montfort talks of devotion to Mary and why, though the Church doesn’t force it, it is indeed necessary.
Jesus gave us his mother as our mother also. God chose to send Jesus to us through Mary two thousand years ago. St. Louis de Montfort explains why today we should honour this by giving our selves in today’s time to Christ through his Blessed Mother.
As for the “Ave Maria” being a form of Marian devotion. I would argue that it is above all a Christocentric devotion. When we say “Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum” Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, we above all honour and worship Him who made Mary sinless. When we say “benedicta tu in mulieribus” blessed art though among women, we honour God who made Mary blessed among women. When we say “et benedictus fructus ventris tui Iesus” and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus, we honour and pay worship to Jesus who humbled himself to become God in the womb of a woman.
When we pray “Sancta Maria mater Dei” Holy Mary Mother of God, we do proclaim our belief that Jesus is true God and true man. We worship God and praise his Holy Name for humbling himself to be born of a virgin. When we pray “ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae” pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. we humble ourselves before our Lord and admit our fault and sins, we also use the example that God gave us when he came to us through Mary two thousand years ago by going back to him through the intersession of Our Most Blessed Mother; she whom I love and honour above all women!
O Holy Mary! My heart burns with love and devotion to thee! Wouldst that all would honour thee and thy most immaculate heart. For by honouring thee, though wilt bring us only closer and closer to thy most Holy Son, our Lord Jesus.