What are Devotions?
Dan Lynch Apostolates promote devotions to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Jesus King of All Nations, Our Lady of America and Blessed John Paul II through the following forms of popular piety: veneration of their images; wearing of their medals; holy hours of prayer; consecrations; rosaries; novenas; litanies; and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. We also coordinate Visitations of their images and produce books, audios and videos to promote devotion to them.
Images are only paintings or statues, regardless of their beauty. However, they can be signs of Jesus, Mary or the saints and the mysteries of our faith, a means of reminding us of them, and ‘vehicles’ of God’s graces.”
Jesus King of all Nations said, “To enable My children, who are feeble, to come to Me the more easily, I give them ‘reminders’, images of Myself, in one form or another. The image of Myself as ‘Jesus, King of All Nations’, is a gift of Love from My Heart to My children, intended to put before their minds the remembrance of Me and therefore help them to hold Me close in their hearts as My Most Holy Mother did so perfectly when she was on earth. When in the mind, the ‘image’ remains but an idea, but once the soul allows it to take root and grow in the heart, it becomes a living faith, a living reality, a living love.” (Journal, Preface).
Devotion means to show love, honor and dedication for another person. Devotions of the Catholic Church are ways of showing our love for the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), the Blessed Virgin Mary and the angels and saints. Authentic popular devotions are an invaluable means of promoting an increased love of God.
Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the angels and the saints differ from devotion to the Holy Trinity. We worship and adore only the Holy Trinity. We honor and give special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the angels and the saints. We do not adore them. “This very special devotion . . . differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.” (CCC 971).
Devotions are a form of popular piety whereby the religious sense of the faithful is expressed outside of the liturgy from which they have their source and to which they lead. The liturgy includes, above all, the Eucharist and the other six sacraments, but also other actions of the Church such as the daily prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours, the rites of Christian burial, and the rites for the dedication of a church or for those making religious profession.
The Second Vatican Council pointed out that the spiritual life “is not limited solely to participation in the liturgy. St. Paul said that we must pray without ceasing.” Popular devotional practices play a crucial role in helping to foster this ceaseless prayer.
“Besides sacramental liturgy and sacramentals, catechesis must take into account the forms of piety and popular devotions among the faithful. The religious sense of the Christian people has always found expression in various forms of piety surrounding the Church’s sacramental life, such as the veneration of relics, visits to sanctuaries, pilgrimages, processions, the stations of the cross, religious dances, the rosary, medals, etc” (CCC 1674).
The United States Bishops’ Conference asserted that an increase of popular piety is evidence of the Church’s influence on society. They issued a document on November 12, 2003 entitled, Popular Devotional Practices: Basic Questions and Answers. “First of all, by introducing the Catholic faith, the Church transforms the culture, leaving the imprint of the faith on the culture,” they said.
“At the same time, however, the Church assimilates certain aspects of the culture, as some elements of the culture become absorbed and integrated into the life of the Church,” they added. “This twofold process can be seen in the development of popular devotional practices.”
Both the liturgy and popular piety have a role in this transformation, the bishops wrote.
“While this inculturation of the faith takes place in the liturgy, popular devotions carry the faith a step deeper into the everyday life of a particular culture,” they said. “When properly ordered to the liturgy, popular devotions perform an irreplaceable function of bringing worship into daily life for people of various cultures and times.”
“Since the liturgy is the center of the life of the Church, popular devotions should never be portrayed as equal to the liturgy, nor can they adequately substitute for the liturgy,” they wrote. “What is crucial is that popular devotions be in harmony with the liturgy, drawing inspiration from it and ultimately leading back to it.”
Pope Pius XII said, “The purpose of popular devotional practices is to attract and direct our souls to God, purifying them from their sins, encouraging them to practice virtue and, finally, stimulating them to advance along the path of sincere piety by accustoming them to meditate on the eternal truths and disposing them better to contemplate the mysteries of the human and divine natures of Christ.” Blessed John Paul II referred to popular devotions in America and said, “These and other forms of popular piety are an opportunity for the faithful to encounter the living Christ.” All of the forms of popular piety promoted by Dan Lynch Apostolates are approved by the Church.
Popular devotional practices include the veneration of saints who live in heaven and can intercede and help us with their prayers. Moreover, by showing our love and devotion to the saints we can imitate them and grow in holiness. The most exalted saint is the Blessed Virgin Mary who was immaculately conceived without original sin, never committed any actual sin and was chosen to be The Mother of God. We honor and venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary because she is full of grace, the model of holiness and perfect discipleship and helps us to grow in holiness and become more like her Son.
True love, honor, veneration and devotion to the saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary is not worship and does not interfere with our worship of God but increases it. Her maternal role as our intercessor does not detract from the unique mediation of Jesus Christ of humanity to God, but rather shows its power. She does nothing of her own power and she seeks nothing for herself. All of her power is from God and is used for God as she cooperates with him in the salvation of the human race.
Blessed John Paul II mentioned in his Apostolic Exhortation The Church in America that popular devotions can lead to our conversion, communion and solidarity and an increase of virtue and holiness to confront our modern secular culture.