The Church is still working on the mystery that is Mary. The study of the theologians goes on, the prayerful reflection of the faithful continues, while every now and then, as in Lourdes or Fatima, heaven herself lends a hand.
The Second Vatican Council in Lumen Gentium 55 tells us: 'The Sacred Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testament, as well as ancient Tradition show the role of the Mother of the Saviour in the economy of salvation in an ever clearer light... .' St Louis de Montfort, the great Marian prophet, foretells that before the second coming of her Son, Mary will be exceedingly well known and loved. Mary is God's plan and it is abundantly clear that God wants his plan to be known and honoured by all.
Mary is God's plan! That's why he arranged through the foreseen saving efficacy of the death and resurrection of his Son, that Mary should be conceived without Original Sin. Can you imagine that - a human person who has not the slightest stain of sin, nor even that tendency to sin which so pursues and confines us? There is no sin in Mary. She was born sinless and preserved her sinlessness throughout her life.
Though his blood had not yet been shed in time, its saving power was applied to Mary in anticipation, from the first moment of her conception. We call this singular privilege the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and we celebrate it each year on the 8th December.
And can you imagine which sinful creature would be most repulsed by her beauty and most terrified of her innocence? She is everything he is not and to him she would indeed be: terrible as an army set in battle array. What would terrify Satan about his nemesis would be her humility, purity, obedience, love, peace, recollection, prayerfulness, and so on. Mary's strength would lie in her absolute reliance on and submission to the will of her Creator and for this reason Satan and his demons would find her terrifyingly invincible.
Interestingly, exorcists tell us that during an exorcism the demons cannot bring themselves even to pronounce her name and usually refer to her either as 'she', or use some much less flattering names. We, on the other hand, who love and honour her as our Mother, rejoice to apply to her the many titles she deserves: Mother of God, Virgin of Virgins, Mystical Rose, Cause of our joy, to name but a few.
Saint Louis de Montfort went so far as to say that true devotion to Mary was a sure sign of predilection - in other words, a sure sign that a person was on their way to heaven. If this is true, and I believe it is, we would do well to get to know her and to grow in our love and reverence for her.
Above all we should include Mary in our spiritual life; saying her Rosary, wearing her scapular or one of her medals. Far from looking on devotion to her as a kind of distraction from our duty to worship God we should come to understand that to venerate the Blessed Mother is an expression of God's will.