My favourite title of Our Lady is Refuge of Sinners. It reminds me that the Mother of God has a special place in her heart for fragile and broken souls. Each time I recite the rosary I am made aware of the power of her prayers. At the end of my life it will be the Blessed Mother who will be able to help me the most. Jesus never refuses her requests.
Much confusion and misunderstanding has arisen among Christians regarding Our Lady. It is not hard to see why. Our Blessed Mother is the most powerful advocate we have. The powers of hell will therefore do everything possible to keep souls away from her.
In our own culture a certain nervousness has arisen around Marian devotion which verges on the neurotic. I don't think many people would be capable of articulating this. They just have a niggling feeling that focussing on her is somehow wrong.
And yet what is more natural and lovely than the devotion of a child for their mother? Our human experience should teach us something here. Nothing points more to the humanity of Christ than this one fact. He had a mother whom he adored and honoured and from whose very flesh he was born. It is mind boggling when you think about it. God became man and assumed the flesh of Mary. He still shares her flesh - now - at this very moment in heaven.
And because Jesus honours Mary so much, he wants us to honour her too. Isn't that perfectly reasonable and natural? We all want our mothers to be loved and treated with respect. Why would Jesus be any different? We honour Mary and seek her intercession and protection because it is the express will of Our Lord Himself. While he was dying on the cross he gave Mary as a gift to the world. How perverse of us if we cannot see or accept this gift for what it is.
We can never really honour Our Lady enough. Anxious thoughts about excessive devotion deprive us of the very thing that will help us most. Our Lady can do so much for us if only we will turn to her. Her humility will constantly bring us closer to Jesus.
She will also be our greatest help when her Son comes to us as judge. We need to think of that day and cling to her now with love. Cultivate a deep relationship with Mary. Say the rosary every day. End each day by honouring her. She will be our lifeline at the hour of our death.