Date Created: 2018-08-30 06:18:39

                                       DEVOTION TO MARY NOT WORSHIP

After Mass last week Sunday, an elderly person in the Church called me  and asked me to enlighten  the congregation about the place of Marian grotto in Catholic spirituality. He noted with genuine concern that some people may abandon the Blessed Sacrament in the Church and now shift attention to the grotto, worst still he observed that a very few parishioners have been going to the grotto to embrace  the Marian Statue installed in it and kneel down in worship, while some roll on the bare floor.

Now that the grotto had been blessed by the Bishop it becomes a place of prayer. A special place where one can seek the face of God and ask for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary mother of God. Whatever posture we take in prayer within the grotto arena is personal to an individual, whether you sit down, stand up or kneel, the image there is a  sacred icon that leads   the one there for prayer beyond itself to the divine. Any prayer said in the grotto is directed ultimately to God not Mary and certainly not the sacred image erected in the grotto.  

What about passersby who may go with the erroneous idea that we are worshipping the image in the grotto, if we kneel down in front of the grotto?  They are entitled to their opinions, while we are entitled to our conviction that we commune with the divine when we pray in the grotto. We have no apology to any one for what we belief about Mary and the grotto as a place of prayer. May I add that we need not feel shy or uncomfortable praying publicly in the grotto in full view of the public. Your presence in the grotto is a form of evangelization for passersby.  Do not be surprised when you see non- Catholics come there for prayers.

It is pertinent to point out clearly that the grotto is neither a substitute for the tabernacle nor a rival prayer arena. The two complement each other.   A good Catholic will say his/her prayers in the Church in front of the Blessed Sacrament and will not ignore the grotto as a place of prayer. Authentic Catholic spirituality will not spend all time in prayer in the grotto while neglecting Christ really and substantially present in the Blessed Sacrament.

There is a need to balance our personal spiritual activities, the Holy Catholic Church takes care  of the spiritual concerns of all the members, we have Marian devotees and legionaries who are more inclined to prayer in the grotto than other Catholics, Sacred Heart devotees are more disposed to prayer before the blessed sacrament, while the charismatic renewal members  emphasize the Pentecost approach in divine worship, all ultimately converge in sincere worship of God Almighty through his only begotten son Jesus Christ the only mediator between God and man.  

Please let us take note that the Catholic Church is against “Mariolatry”-  that is  turning Mary to an idol. Mary is not an idol to be worshipped; she is the living mother of Christ who intercedes for those who call upon her through the prayer of the Holy Rosary and other devotional activities. According to Vatican II Document Lumen Gentium- Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (no 60): “Mary’s function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes the unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power.” The invocation of Mary as Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix does not take anything away or add anything to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator cf. (Lumen Gentium, no 62). Encyclical: Redemptoris Mater (no 38) states that the intercession of Mary possesses a specifically maternal character, which distinguishes her mediation from that of other creatures who in various and always in a subordinate way shares in the one mediation of Christ. The Church does not hesitate to proclaim the subordinate mediation of Mary to that of Christ, but affirms it to be special and extraordinary.

Do not go to the grotto to worship Mary, go there to pray to God asking Mary to intercede for you.  May all who go to the Immaculate Heart Grotto for prayer find comfort to replace discomfort , peace to displace chaos in their lives,  joy to take the place of sorrow, success to take the place of failure, abundant blessing to replace poverty, faith to replace despair, and grace to displace sinfulness amen.

Together we have achieved this, God on our side we shall do more glorious things in the household of faith. I wish you our esteemed parishioners a fruitful and grace filled working week. Be assured of my prayers for your intention.

Rev. Fr. Peter Oluseyi Adeyemi,

Parish Priest.                              




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