Hope_Winter_Not Rote

Let Us Promise: Don’t Let the Words Become Rote

Asking for our Lady’s intercession is a reverent act that should not be entered into lightly.

By Carol Monaco

At prayer, take care that the words don’t become rote and lose their meaning. Consider the text in the Angelus: “Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.” That is something to ponder.

Christ promises us peace, refuge, mercy, comfort in our afflictions, and forgiveness of our sins. He promises us the many graces and blessings we need to live a holy life on earth—to “be perfect just as [our] heavenly Father is perfect”—for an eternal life in heaven (Matthew 5:48). As imperfect as we are, how can we possibly be made worthy? Let our hearts not be troubled. Christ gives us his Mother to help us fulfill this worthiness because God knows we can’t accomplish this alone.

Asking for our Lady’s intercession is a reverent act that should not be entered into lightly by merely saying the words, “Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.” In essence, when we pray these words we’re reaching out to hold Mary’s hand so our Blessed Mother can guide us, steady us, and help us to rise when we fall as we draw closer to her Son. Mary draws us in so we may enter into a loving relationship with Jesus—to become brothers and sisters in Christ; to become children of God. 

We also enter into a promise that only we can break. That promise is—as our Lady said in the wedding feast at Cana—to “do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). Christ tells us to love one another as God loves us, to forgive our enemies, and to embrace whatever cross we have to bear for the sake of our salvation and the salvation of the world.

In other words, as children of God, we promise to live a life of faith, hope, love, trust, obedience, humility, patience, perseverance, mercy, and forgiveness. These are the graces and blessings we receive when we open our hearts to Mary and ask for her intercession. These are also the graces and blessings that help us conform to the image of her Son. When we allow ourselves to sin, we reject them and break our sacred promise.

Each time we pray to Mary, we make a promise, and in unity with the Holy Spirit, Mary carries that promise to her Son, who carries it to the Father. “Fidelity to promises made to God is a sign of the respect owed to the divine majesty and of love for a faithful God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2101). May we always keep our promises to Mary so that we will be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

This piece was originally published in the January 1 online edition of the Liguorian. It is a publication of the Redemptorists-Denver Province.