This article has shown that St. Maximilian Kolbe was clearly following the timeless Tradition of the Church in presenting his six pneumatological Marian titles. Although they may seem somewhat ‘provocative’ to our ‘overly-ecumenical’ ears imbued with much modernism, we should be ready to explain and defend these teachings. As devotees of Our Lady we must be Marian maximalists, not Marian minimalists.[i]
These titles are an important contribution to the Church as they provide a concrete label to already well-established mariological concepts. They give us greater confidence in the unparalleled greatness of our Heavenly Mother.
Of Mary There Is Never Enough
Catholics today often hold back too much when speaking about or praying to Mary. We fear we may go ‘too far.’ We fear we may ‘offend’ others. Why? Most likely we have been too influenced by modernist sympathies and the false ecumenism which pervades our Church today. Catholics can be so concerned by this that we even fear our Marian piety may offend God. This is preposterous and a grave error.
Let us not fear a “Marian excess.’ St. Maximilian reminds us what St. Bonaventure taught, “no one can be too devout to Mary.” St. Bernadine quoted St. Peter Damian, saying: “Mary is raised to a sort of equality with the Divine Persons by an almost infinity of graces.” We should never forget that Our Lady is all powerful, though not by Her nature but because God so wills it. Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor, teaches: “[T]he Son is omnipotent by nature; the Mother is only so by grace.” We cannot honor Our Lady more than the Holy Trinity honors Her. We cannot love and praise Our Lady more than God loves and praises Her.
And let us not forget the Mellifluous Doctor, St. Bernard of Clairvaux. This great Cistercian is considered one of the greatest orators of the Middle Ages. Some even rank him “Last of the Church Fathers” because his writings are so similar to those great men who preceded him by many centuries. He also had a great devotion to Our Blessed Mother. In a moment of spontaneous zeal, as his community once finished the Salve Regina, he exclaimed, “O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary,” and ever since those cries of filial love have been part of that prayer. Regarding Our Lady, he famously said, “De Maria Numquam Satis” (of Mary there is never enough).
What Can We Do?
When asked by Fr. McGlynn what is the most important, the principal motivation, of all the messages of Our Lady of Fatima, Sr. Lucia responded:
“The conversion of sinners, and the return of souls to God,” she said. “This idea was repeated in all the apparitions; that is why I consider it the principal message.”
He then asked, “Would you give a quotation of Our Lady that expresses this motivation?”
She replied, “In October, Our Lady said: ‘Do not offend our Lord anymore; He is already much offended.’”
To Father Fuentes Sr. Lucia reiterated the same point, saying: “My mission is to indicate to everyone the imminent danger we are in of losing our souls for all eternity if we remain obstinate in sin.”
So first and foremost, we must do our best to be in the state of grace.[ii] One’s prayers and actions can merit nothing when one is in original or mortal sin, because one is spiritually dead. We must cease offending God.
As Our Lady said of Our Lord at Cana, so we too could say about Our Lady, “Do whatever He (She) tells you.”
Because Our Lady’s Will is always identical to God’s Will, St. Peter Damian said:
“Mary can do whatever She wants in Heaven or on earth …. Her Son so esteems Her prayers that when She asks it is like a command.” St. Bernadine of Siena said, “At Mary’s command, all obey, even God.”
If God obeys Her commands, how much more should we obey? So what does Our Lady command that we must obey? Let us focus here on five commands that Our Lady of Fatima gave to all of the faithful.
These five commands are like five pillars that rest on the foundation of the one principal exhortation (principal command) of Our Lady at Fatima. If we fail to keep the foundational principle, then these five pillars fall since no action or ours can be meritorious outside of a state of grace. Using this terminology then these five conditions depend on the one singular pre-condition – Men Must Stop Offending God.
We also know that She has promised to provide a period of world peace under the reign of Her Immaculate Heart. Surely, when enough people fulfill Her commands (including the Pope and bishops), God will grant the graces necessary for the glorious Triumph of Her Immaculate Heart.
Roman Catholic S.O.S.
Our Lady’s five commands (which depend entirely upon our fulfillment of the principal command of ceasing to offend God) can be remembered by the mnemonic: “Roman Catholic S.O.S.”
We should easily be able to remember this term, since we are all Roman Catholics and we need to send an S.O.S. up to Heaven! By all human indications, the Barque of Peter is sinking amidst the terrible storms devastating the world. Now we know the gates of hell can’t prevail against the Church. We know that tranquility will return once Peter’s Barque is anchored to the columns of the Eucharist and Our Lady. Nevertheless, we must raise up a mighty Roman Catholic S.O.S. to Our Lady!
R.OSARY: Pray the Rosary daily.
C.ONSECRATE yourself to Mary and pray for Russia’s proper Consecration.
S.CAPULAR: Wear the Brown Scapular always.
O.FFER penances and prayers in reparation for sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary and pray for the Pope, the bishops, and the conversion of sinners.
S.ATURDAYS: Practice the First Saturday devotion every month.
These are the commands that Our Lady of Fatima gave to all Her children, with a glorious promise attached to its fulfillment and devastating consequences if delayed. We must make every effort we can to not only fulfill these commands as soon as we can, but also enlist as many other souls as possible in the divine mandate.
St. Maximilian Kolbe said:
“Every heart which beats upon the earth and which shall beat, until the end of the world, must be prey for the Immaculata: this is our purpose. And this as soon as possible.”
[i] In using these terms (maximalists and minimalists), we borrow Michael Davies’ terminology. In his book, Pope John’s Council (Chapter 10), Davies explains that the Marian minimalists were unduly influenced by Protestantism and sought to decrease the emphasis and role of Our Lady. (Others have called them ‘ecumaniacs.’) The Mariam maximalists at Vatican II saw it as the ideal moment to declare the ‘fifth’ Mariam dogma (Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix). Regrettably, the minimalists were victorious at Vatican II. The original schema on Our Lady, which would have been its own document, was thrown in the trash and replaced by one section, the eighth and final chapter, of Lumen Gentium, the document regarding the Church or “People of God.” To turn this tide, and give due honor to Our Lady, we should all strive to be Marian maximalists. De Maria Numquam Satis!
[ii] We know it is not possible to know with absolute certitude if one is in the state of grace. Yet, like St. Joan of Arc, we can all say: “If I am not in the state of grace, may God place me there; and if I am, may God so keep me.” And we can have a certain level of moral certitude. If we have been baptized, we simply avoid all mortal sin. If we are even conscious of mortal sin, we promptly go to confession. And if we practice regular good confessions, once a month or even bimonthly or weekly, then in all likelihood we will remain in the state of grace.