How much should the Mother be loved?
It is a question easily answered if we turn our gaze to the Son, whom our holy Faith impels us to imitate in everything. Common expression frequently used today poses it simply and succinctly: “What would Jesus do?” How much did the Incarnate Son love his mother?
The Sacred Heart of Jesus loves the Immaculate Heart of his Mother infinitely, without limits, divine or human. It is precisely from that Immaculate Heart that the Sacred Heart received its sacred humanity, and these Two Hearts, in the totality of their respective beings, are inseparably united in mutual love and in their mission for the redemption of the world by the heavenly Father. Both as Son and as Savior, Jesus possesses a love for his immaculate and co-redeeming mother that knows no bounds. It is precisely the same mother, the object-person of his infinite divine and human love, that he bestows to each one of us from the victory of Calvary.
Our love will never begin to rival Our Lord’s love for her. We, therefore, are likewise called to pursue an infinite love of the Mother, although coupled with the humility that our finite hearts will never achieve the endless love for the Immaculate One possessed by our Lord’s Most Sacred Heart. Is it possible then, to love the Mother of Jesus too much? Theologically and metaphysically, it is not possible to love the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all peoples too much.
To love is to will the good for the beloved, even unto the greatest sacrifice of offering one’s life (cf. Jn. 15:13). To will the good for the Mother of God, to will that she receive the praise and honor desired by the Most Holy Trinity, and that humanity freely accept her as a gift from the Son—which will then allow her to distribute most generously the graces of the Redeemer into human hearts for their salvation—this love of the Mother can never be too much, even if it calls for suffering and sacrifice on behalf of her earthly children called to live and spread this love.
Sadly, it is possible to have forms of “false devotion” to Mary, as St. Louis Marie de Montfort points out (True Devotion, nn. 92-104). False devotion either attaches a personal agenda of self-gain to an external Marian devotion, or, even more seriously, distorts Mary into an end unto herself. “Mariolatry” or the worship of Mary as a goddess would be to place the human mother of Jesus on a level equal to her divine Son, a blasphemy for any Christian and more painful to the Immaculate Heart than it would be for any other human heart. For she seeks only to be the immaculate transparency to her Son for the human family, as she was crafted immaculately to be by the Father of all mankind.
False devotion to Mary is not loving her too much, but too little. It is a disordered “affection” that seeks to change her into something she is not, namely God; or seeks to acquire personal benefit (i.e., the good opinion of others, an ecclesial facade covering vice, intellectual pride in attacking authentic Marian devotion by the common faithful, etc), without an authentic love of the Mother of God in the heart. The regrettable existence of false devotion to Mary can never be used as legitimate examples of loving the Mother of Jesus “too much,” but rather its ontological opposite.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux’s famous Marian maxim, De Maria numquam satis, “Concerning Mary, never enough,” conveys the veneration and honor which the Church traditionally grants to God’s greatest masterpiece. To this maxim we can appropriately add the specific goal of love, which constitutes the purpose of the Mother of All Peoples Weekly Marian Internet Magazine: to bespeak the “whole truth about Mary” without compromise, so as to enkindle a greater love of her Immaculate Heart the world over.
May every son and daughter of the Church aspire to grow daily in their love of the Mother of All Peoples with renewed zeal, without fear of excess, and in imitation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, whose love of the Mother exceeds all human understanding. Let us all live the truth which is captured in the motto of this new publication, De Maria numquam satis amoris—”Concerning Mary, never enough love.”
Dr. Mark Miravalle