As we enter into the first week of Lent we will begin by looking at the third saying of Christ on the Cross “woman behold your son. (Son) behold your mother” because tradition ascribes this saying to the sacrament of marriage. On a most basic level, in this saying Christ gives the Blessed Mother to the Church which of course includes married couples. All marriages to be fruitful, must be centered on Christ and His Blessed Mother; after all the Holy Family is for us the example par excellence of a Catholic family. One of the most moving moments of the wedding ceremony, if the option is chosen, occurs when the newly married couple processes over to the statue of the Blessed Mother to present her with a flower and to pray for to her for their marriage. Married couples must continue to live out their marriage with a deep Marian spirituality begun at their wedding Mass. Pope Benedict XVI is very clear “Mary is one of the human beings who in an altogether special way belongs to the name of God, so much so, in fact, that we cannot praise him rightly if we leave her out of the account.” Christ gave His Blessed Mother to us and no matter our state in life we cannot offer due praise to God without prayer and devotion to her. Pope Benedict goes further to say “because Mary’s yes is so spotless and perfect, veneration and imitation of her do not in any way constitute some special spirituality. We must say just the opposite: No approved spirituality in the Church can afford to seek God while by passing this model of perfection; none can afford not to be Marian as well.” To have a deep spiritual life, which is required for a fruitful marriage, families must have a deep Marian devotion.
Our Blessed Mother is the perfect model for us. She lived her life as a mother in the midst of a family. Mary in some ways can be said to be the quintessential bride. Her fiat, her yes, is the perfect gift, it is the example par excellence of a complete and total gift of self. Who better for married couples to turn to for prayers and in devotion? I can think of no better practical spirituality for a family than the daily recitation of the Rosary. I cannot see how any couple that faithfully prays the rosary daily from the moment they enter into a relationship until the end of their life will not live a life worthy of being welcomed into the kingdom of heaven. In praying the rosary married couples not only have the powerful intercession of Our Blessed Mother but they are also afforded the blessed opportunity to reflect on the life of the Blessed Virgin and the Holy Family providing them the opportunity to prayerfully reflect on the example par excellence of the Holy Family. For married couples who may have a little more free time I suggest praying the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. While the Divine Office is certainly a prayer for the whole Church, the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin provides people who can’t pray the Divine Office a traditional devotion similar to the Divine Office. Bottom line married couples must pray daily to the Blessed Mother and strive to imitate her fiat, her yes, in the midst of their marriage.