In our time, with the tremendous ability no matter where we are to know what is happening almost anywhere on earth, our minds are easily scattered in a thousand directions, and we have difficulty trying to concentrate on what ought to interest and attract us most.
In such a situation of inner confusion, those who truly wish to love God and neighbor, to his greater glory and their own spiritual advantage, have a clear source of support: devotion to the Most Holy Virgin.
Writing in the middle of the 17th century, one of Holy Mother Church’s great teachers experienced this personally:
If it were possible to climb a lofty tower and from there to gaze out over the state of Christianity, we would be able to see a multitude who are believers in name only, hardly different from unbelievers; the divine works treated as fables; our neighbors’ misery affecting us so little that it might more properly be said that they are regarded as enemies; the denial of God, the almost universal disregard for justice. What has become of the glorious days of the first believers, at the beginnings of the Church?
Considering all that that has happened, adds the same author, there is, nevertheless, one fact that stands out against this sad horizon: the ever-increasing fervor in devotion to the Most Holy Virgin, a Marian fervor stronger than that of the finest centuries of Christianity. This could be compared to a seed given by the merciful providence of God, so that in the end humanity might be saved.
If a voice made itself heard in this way three centuries ago, the voice of Holy Mother Church in our own time is not very different.
In those former times, people took refuge under the protection of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, who renewed the Church. Why shouldn’t we, in our own times, also receive help from heaven, if we faithfully invoke Mary in the glory of her Divine Maternity?
Saint Raphael Kalinowski
Mother of God, Hope of the World (excerpt)
Conference for the Discalced Carmelite friars, Wadowice Poland
3 October 1906
Note: Biographer and editor Father Szczepan T. Praskiewicz, OCD, informs us that on 26 November 1877, St. Raphael Kalinowski “went to Graz [Austria] and was clothed in the habit of the Order, receiving at the same time his religious name: Raphael of Saint Joseph. One year later, he made his religious vows and went to Gyor in Hungar to continue his religious formation and to complete his philosophical and theological studies.” Saint Raphael made his solemn profession in Gyor on 27 November 1881 in the hands of the Discalced Carmelite Superior General, Girolamo Maria Gotti.
Praskiewicz OCD, S 2016, Saint Raphael Kalinowski: An Introduction to his Life and Spirituality, Translated from the Polish by Coonan, T, Griffin, M & Sullivan, L, ICS Publications, Washington DC.