In Genesis, when God specifically promises to redeem humanity by sending the Savior, he speaks of Mary as “the woman” who is Satan’s enemy and whose Son will overcome the devil definitively. When we cultivate a relationship with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, we draw close not just to Mary but to Jesus. As our Mother, Mary wants us to be united to her Son, and she will clear the way of obstacles for us, most especially the devil’s temptations.
Many saints speak eloquently about Mary’s power over Satan and her ability to lead us to Christ. This is an excerpt from one of my favorite prayers to Mary by Blessed James Alberione:
“O Mary, grant that we may listen to, follow and love Jesus Christ the Divine Master! May sin never stain our souls consecrated to you. Immaculate Virgin, crush the head of that insidious demon of discouragement.
Live in our midst, Mary; blessed are they who dwell in your house.”
– Blessed James Alberione
In his beautiful apostolic letter On the Most Holy Rosary, Pope St. John Paul speaks about our entering into the “school” of Mary because “No one has ever devoted himself to the contemplation of the face of Christ as faithfully as Mary. The eyes of her heart already turned to him at the Annunciation, when she conceived him by the power of the Holy Spirit…. Mary lived with her eyes fixed on Christ, treasuring his every word” (On the Most Holy Rosary, nos. 10 & 11).
Mary is both a wonderful model for our discernment and a powerful intercessor so that we can receive the light of the Holy Spirit in order to “see” or contemplate Christ’s presence in our lives. Mary is not just the Mother of Jesus, but our Mother, too, and her greatest desire is to lead all of her children to her Son. Praying to Mary regularly is life-changing.
Countless Marian prayers and traditions can help us to grow in our relationship with the Blessed Mother. The Rosary is especially fruitful as a prayer to help us grow in a spirit of discernment because when we contemplate Jesus by praying the Rosary, we do so with Mary, the first and truest disciple of Jesus who most closely sought and lived the will of God. When we pray the Rosary, we meditate with Mary on Jesus’ life: how Jesus lived the will of his Father while on earth. We can also meditate on how Mary recognized and responded to God’s invitations in a spirit of faith and obedience. The subjects for meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary are endless.
The saints are eloquent about how devotion to Mary changes our lives. If you are looking for more resources on growing in your relationship with Mary, here is a short list of new titles that introduce devotion to Mary and the Rosary, and a few of the classic books on Mary that foster devotion to her.