Under the Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary

This image of the Blessed Mother, from Portraits of Saints, can be found here.

Under Her Protection

I have a fascination with all things Mary. I am seriously fascinated by her strength.

That’s right – her strength.

If one were to catalogue every piece of art in which the Blessed Virgin appears, my hunch is that words like meek, humble, compliant, pious, and passive would dominate the text. This is understandable, given the fact that she has been venerated for centuries for being a most willing cooperator in salvation history.

The problem does not lie in her artistic or theological rendering, though. Her strength actually pours out of her – in any “pious” piece of art or theological text in which one finds her.  The problem lies in how we think about these words. 

They are often defined as weak.

Given this issue, it worth discussing our understanding of strength.

Strength-as-Surrender

I have been in therapy and 12 Step recovery for many years and at some point on my journey, I finally understood the idea central to all 12 Step groups: The idea of surrender. Admitting defeat. Understanding I could not do this thing called life, without surrendering my will.

Instead of attempting to control people, places, and things, my recovery would lie in my surrender of these things.  And in that surrender, I found a strength I had not ever experienced before.  It was the ultimate paradox.  To be humble, compliant, and passive takes an enormous amount of strength!  It is a lesson I continue to learn again and again.

It’s no wonder I found the Catholic faith after being involved with 12 Step recovery. Catholicism is all about surrender. It is embodied in every Catholic Church in the form of a crucifix. The representation of the crucifixion is, at its heart, the most perfect incarnation of surrender.

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And while this supreme sacrifice of Jesus cannot be overshadowed by anything else, it is impossible to forget who was at the foot of the cross.

While highly stylized, this image represents a maternal surrender that I cannot fathom. The strength it takes to surrender this way is also unimaginable. But I pray for it. I ask Mary to give it to me.

This image of the Madonna and Child seems to represent all of Mary’s concern. As though she might know, on some level, the strength she will need to endure what will be asked of her.

Because the Blessed Virgin Mother is Fully Human

This fact is what gives me the confidence to surrender to Mary’s protection. She is fully human. Not divine. After Christ, Mary’s ability to relate to our struggles is unparalleled. Any pain we experience in life has already been experienced by Mary – so there is no area of our life that she will not understand.

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Prayer to Mary

Perhaps you’re feeling like you could use a little assistance with surrender right now.

If you desire a devotion to Mary, but do not have one, the following prayer is perfect for beginners. It can also be a nice addition or change if you already have a devotion.

It is simple and straightforward and it will certainly bring you under the protection of Mary.  It is my belief that you need not be Catholic to pray it!  All that is needed is the desire to pray it (this is true for any Catholic prayer, for that matter).

Pray it whenever you feel the need to surrender.

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This prayer, can be found at Kendra Tierney’s website, Printable Prayers, or by clicking here.

Further Reading

You can read up on the Church Councils with regard to Mary here.

You can read up on the difference between adoration of Jesus and veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary here.

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This image of the Blessed Mother, from Portraits of Saints, can be found here.

Leave a Reply

I would love to hear your thoughts on the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Do you have a devotion to her?  What do you think about her strength-as-surrender model? Perhaps you want to develop a devotion to her.  All thoughtful comments are welcome. Please ask any questions you have and I will do my best to answer them. AMDG.

3 thoughts on “Under the Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary

  1. Your simplicity and integrity shines through this post:) Thank you. I also took communion with the Catholic Church after many years in recovery from addiction. That journey began when I noticed a rosary laying in front of my foot as I was walking to my car one day. Crazy, huh? Praying the rosary is a devotion I practice regularly… a habit that cultivates peace and protection for every need. Hail! Holy Mother of God.

  2. Cindy Caruso

    Skye, the wisdom of your reflections inspires me – to think more deeply about the most perfect role model we have in the BVM and how much more often I should call on her to help me with my daily struggles. She truly does understand every human experience – and I would no doubt find some of the patience I so often lack as a mother. Love this – thank you!

  3. Shazbot

    What a beautiful and honest blog post about strength and YOUR strength. It takes a lot of courage to be open about our weaknesses or rather the things we are working on in life to be better humans. Thank you for sharing.

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