115. There are several interior practices of true devotion to
the Blessed Virgin. Here briefly are the main ones:
- Honouring her, as the worthy Mother of God, by the cult of
hyperdulia, that is, esteeming and honouring her more than all
the other saints as the masterpiece of grace and the foremost in
holiness after Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
- Meditating on her virtues, her privileges and her actions.
- Contemplating her sublime dignity.
- Offering to her acts of love, praise and gratitude.
- Invoking her with a joyful heart.
- Offering ourselves to her and uniting ourselves to her.
- Doing everything to please her.
- Beginning, carrying out and completing our actions through
her, in her, with her, and for her in order to do them through
Jesus, in Jesus, with Jesus, and for Jesus, our last end. We
shall explain this last practice later.
116. True devotion to our Lady has also several exterior
practices. Here are the principal ones:
- Enrolling in her confraternities and joining her sodalities.
- Joining religious orders dedicated to her.
- Making her privileges known and appreciated.
- Giving alms, fasting, performing interior and exterior acts
of self-denial in her honour.
- Carrying such signs of devotion to her as the rosary, the
scapular, or a little chain.
- Reciting with attention, devotion and reverence the fifteen
decades of the Rosary in honour of the fifteen principal
mysteries of our Lord, or at least five decades in honour of:
- the Joyful mysteries - the Annunciation, the Visitation,
the Birth of our Lord, the Purification, the Finding of the
Child Jesus in the temple;
- or the Sorrowful mysteries: the Agony in the Garden, the
Scourging, the Crowning with thorns, the Carrying of the
Cross, and the Crucifixion;
- or the Glorious mysteries: The Resurrection of our Lord,
the Ascension, the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Assumption
of our Lady, body and soul, into heaven, the Crowning of Mary
by the Blessed Trinity.
One may also choose any of the following prayers: the
Rosary of six or seven decades in honour of the years our Lady
is believed to have spent on earth; the Little Crown of the
Blessed Virgin in honour of her crown of twelve stars or
privileges; the Little Office of our Lady so widely accepted
and recited in the Church; the Little Psalter of the Blessed
Virgin, composed in her honour by St. Bonaventure, which is so
heart-warming, and so devotional that you cannot recite it
without being moved by it; the fourteen Our Fathers and Hail
Marys in honour of her fourteen joys. There are various other
prayers and hymns of the Church, such as, the hymns of the
liturgical seasons, the Ave Maris Stella, the O Gloriosa
Domina ; the Magnificat and other prayers which are found in
- Singing hymns to her or teaching others to sing them.
- Genuflecting or bowing to her each morning while
saying for example sixty or a hundred times, "Hail Mary,
Virgin most faithful", so that through her intercession with
God we may faithfully correspond with his graces throughout
the day; and in the evening saying "Hail Mary, Mother of
Mercy", asking her to obtain God's pardon for the sins we have
committed during the day.
- Taking charge of her confraternities, decorating her
altars, crowning and adorning her statues.
- Carrying her statues or having others carry them in
procession, or keeping a small one on one's person as an
effective protection against the evil one.
- Having statues made of her, or her name engraved and
placed on the walls of churches or houses and on the gates and
entrances of towns, churches and houses.
- Solemnly giving oneself to her by a special
117. The Holy Spirit has inspired saintly souls with other
practices of true devotion to the Blessed Virgin, all of which
are conducive to holiness. You can read of them in detail in
"Paradise opened to Philagia", a collection of many devotions
practised by holy people to honour the Blessed Virgin,
compiled by Fr. Paul Barry of the Society of Jesus. These
devotions are a wonderful help for souls seeking holiness
provided they are performed in a worthy manner, that is:
- With the right intention of pleasing God alone, seeking
union with Jesus, our last end, and giving edification to our neighbour.
- With attention, avoiding wilful distractions.
- With devotion, avoiding haste and negligence.
- With decorum and respectful bodily posture.