Hear us Father and answer our prayer. That, when we are tempted to vainglory, we may gain the Blessed Virgin Mary’s humility. That, when our efforts seem fruitless, we may remember to call upon the names of Jesus and Mary for strength. That, when we feel lonely or discouraged, the name of Mary may give us comfort and encouragement. That our relationship to the Mother of God may bring us ever closer to her Son, Jesus.
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This quote is a prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours that really spoke to me as a budding musician and I think artists in general can relate to it. It calls us to that sweet spot between too little self-confidence and too much self-confidence. During our highs, we can swing too far into vainglory and pride, thinking our successes and the beauty of our creations and performances are solely derived from our own abilities. During our lows, we can get frustrated over a bad performance or piece of work, or during writer’s block. The number of hours towards honing our craft can also isolate us from others, and we can feel lonesome.
There’s a heavy emphasis on Mary in this prayer. As I learned more about Mary and why the Catholic Church really emphasizes her, a couple questions in defense of her importance remain very poignant in my heart and mind: If Mary was insignificant, why did Jesus come to us through her and spend most of his earthly life with her? He’s God of the universe after all, so why didn’t he just descend down as a 30-year-old God-man and begin his ministry?
So, if Christ came to us through Mary, doesn’t it make sense that we should go to him through her? We can always go straight to God in prayer, of course, and it’s not prideful to do so. But it is humbling of ourselves to acknowledge how God came to us, and to bring our concerns and good works to the woman who is simultaneously God’s daughter, mother, and spouse. With that threefold relationship, she can present what we offer far more perfectly than we can, and we can be confident she doesn’t keep anything for herself. When we pray to Mary, she is never the end-game. She always passes what we give her more perfectly to Jesus. When we pray to the angels and saints, they also pass it onward , like some big, divine baton pass, where everything always goes back to God.
I like St. Louis de Montfort’s analogy:
“It is as if a peasant, wishing to gain the friendship and benevolence of the king, went to the queen, and presented her with a fruit, which was his whole revenue, in order that she might present it to the king. The queen, having accepted the poor little offering from the peasant, would place the fruit on a large and beautiful dish of gold, and so, on the peasant’s behalf, would present it to the king. Then the fruit, however unworthy in itself to be a king’s present, would become worthy of his majesty, because of the dish of gold on which it rested and the person who presented it.”—Saint Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary