Titles of Our Lady from the Litany of Loreto

Singular Vessel of Devotion

Child Jesus and Our Blessed Mother

What is devotion? Does it mean saying a number of prayers, going frequently to church, having devout and pleasant feelings at our prayers? Some of us may have this idea of devotion, but it is not the real meaning of the word, and above all, it is not the meaning of devotion as signified in this title of Our Lady's Litany.

Devotion in its true sense means a cheerful promptness and alacrity in all that relates to God's service, in all the duties of religion, in all the duties of life, considered as the expression of God's Will in our regard.

Devotion is not a matter of the feelings, of sentiment, but of the will. It is not necessary to have delightful and happy feelings at your prayers to be truly devout.

But if you are always prepared and willing to give God the right place in your life, to put His claims before all else, for instance, to give up living in a place, or a job, you prefer and to choose one less pleasant, if there is a question in the former of a difficulty in getting to Holy Mass—that would be true devotion— to put God and your duty to Him before everything else, and to do so promptly and cheerfully.

In Mary we at once see devotion in its true light. God, Her Divine Son, was the one end and aim of Her life. She lived simply and wholly for His service. Her heart was as a burning thurible, from which there ever ascended as an incense of sweetest fragrance, holy desires, acts of love, praise, and thanksgiving. How well we see all this in the only prayer of Hers which is left to us, the Magnificat. It is a perfect picture of true devotion. In the very first verse we find a complete statement of Mary's devotion: "My soul doth magnify the Lord." Here we have summed up all the duties of worship to God. "And My spirit hath rejoiced in God My Savior." Here is the spirit of cheerful promptitude in all that relates to God. The whole of this prayer teaches us what Mary's devotion was—not sentiment, but pure praise, thanksgiving, and petition.

We can never hope to equal Her in devotion, but we can take Her as our model, picture Her to ourselves, and long to be like Her. We can offer Her Pure Heart to God to supply what is wanting in ours, when we feel cold, dry, and distracted. At such moments let us whisper to Our Blessed Mother: "Singular Vessel of Devotion, pray for me." Never by all the Saints together was God so worthily praised and honored as by Mary's individual love and devotion.

God's service, His praise and worship, is the greatest, highest, most soul-satisfying act we can perform here on earth. It will be the occupation of our eternity in Heaven, where we shall not want, desire, or be able to do anything else; we shall all then be, perforce, vessels of devotion.

But if we are faithful in doing day by day as much and as fervently as we can for God, in His service, the day will come when God will make it our greatest joy and happiness to converse with Him, to pray to Him, to be with Him; we shall come to feel by our own experience what the Scripture says of Wisdom: "Her conversation hath no bitterness, nor her company any tediousness, but joy and gladness." We shall in that day more fully understand the meaning of this sweet invocation, "Singular Vessel of Devotion, pray for us."

Motto: "My spirit hath rejoiced in God My Savior."

Practice: Love all that belongs to God's service, and often call on Our Lady as the "Singular Vessel of Devotion."


In the lives and histories of the Saints and holy servants of God, we often read that they were privileged to behold, either in Heaven or on earth, great solemn Masses and celebrations in which Our Lord and Our Lady and the Saints took part. Not only on earth was Mary a Singular Vessel of Devotion, but by these visions we would seem to be informed that She joins in the prayers of Her servants on earth, and helps their devotions. In a convent of nuns in Germany, She was once seen, during the singing of the Antiphon, "Hail, bright Star of the Sea," at the words: "Hear us, for Thy Son honoreth Thee, refusing Thee nothing," praying on bended knees for the whole community.

In a certain town of France, a devout woman once beheld a glorious procession and solemn Mass in the heavenly Jerusalem on the Feast of the Purification. Our Savior, the Head of All the Saints, was arrayed in resplendent vestments and came last in the procession, accompanied by His Holy Mother, whose beauty and glory was such that it entranced the whole heavenly court. St. Stephen, the holy Deacon and Martyr, read the Epistle, and St. John the Evangelist read the Gospel. The holy maiden had received a candle in this heavenly procession which she wished to keep, and would not offer, as was then the custom, to the Divine Celebrant at Mass. An Angel broke off part of it, and the lower part remained in the virgin's hand. When she returned to the use of her senses, she was still grasping the part of the candle which the Angel had left to her, and many miracles were wrought from water into which it had been dipped. There are many other such examples—such as the miraculous Consecration of the monastery Chapel of Einsiedeln in 948— all testifying to the pious belief that Mary takes part in the prayers and Masses of Her servants on earth, and no doubt obtains for them many precious graces of true devotion.

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