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Marian Devotions

刊登日期: 2015.05.09
作者: Fr. Thomas Au 區耀邦神父  

 

 Being in the month of May, it would be remiss on my part if I do not set aside an article (or two) just on the devotion to the Blessed Mother. 

Obviously we must begin with Our Lady of China

The Blessed Mother appeared at DongLu( 東閭)in Hebei( 河北) in 1924 during the Boxer Rebellion ( 義和團). This particular painting was used for the mosaic now displayed in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. We pray that Mary will keep us faithful during our present time of struggle with religious freedom in Mainland China. 

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

This devotion began in the Byzantine Rite Catholic Church in the 15th century. The art form is called icon, or image. This is a particular art form of the region associated with Greece, Turkey and the countries around Russia. Eastern Rite Roman Catholics and the various Orthodox churches( 東正教)believe icons to be sacred in the sense that praying and meditation in the presence of icons brings a deeper communion with Jesus and the saints. 

Scapular(聖母聖衣) 

Brown scapular – Our Lady of Mount Carmel promoted by St. Simon Stock ; Green scapular – Immaculate Heart of Mary

There are a dozen different scapulars of various colors associated with different emphasis of devotion to the Blessed Mother. 

Miraculous Medal(顯靈聖牌) 

Immaculate Conception promoted by Saint Catherine Labouré. 

The prayer associated with this devotion goes like this: 

"O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." 

This is recommended especially to those facing death that the Blessed Mother awaits us to make our final journey to her Son. It is so comforting to know that we never face death alone. 

Four Way Medal 

Sacred Heart medal, St. Joseph medal, St. Christopher medal, and the Miraculous medal combined into one. I have worn one since my Baptism. 

Other already well known devotions and apparitions of Mary. 

Our Lady of Lourdes( 露德聖母), Lourdes, France ; Our Lady of Fatima(花地瑪聖母), Fatima, Portugal ; Our Lady of Guadalupe(瓜達盧佩聖母), Mexico City, Mexico. 

Nativity scene & Stations of the Cross 

These two are particularly familiar to us. Nevertheless, they came with a rich history. In the beginning, Christians used to make pilgrimage to the Holy Land to “walk in the footsteps of Jesus.” But, with the rise of Islam in the 8th century, Muslims controlled the Holy Land. Their spread and subsequent invasion into Portugal and Spain caused the Christians and Muslims to become enemies to each other. The Holy Land was unreachable. (Even before that, most Christians could not travel that far to make the pilgrimage anyway.) It was St. Francis who introduced the idea to bring Jesus to the churches by promoting the Nativity Scene for Christmas and the Stations of the Cross for Lent. Not surprisingly, both have a strong focus on Mary. Both devotions even have dramatic plays to help with our prayers. Even non-Catholics put on Christmas programs and Passion Plays to express their love of the Lord. 

The Stations seem to focus on Jesus. But the hymn chanted at the end of each station of the Cross, entitled Stabat Mater Dolorosa (Stood the Sorrowful Mother) focuses on the Blessed Mother following her Son’s Passion, Death and Burial. What beautiful imagery for the seasons! 

These are all wonderful devotions. It is important to remember that they should always bring us closer to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and in the Bible. 

 

Mary with her loving Son, bless us each and every one! 

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