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05 Feb 2018, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Mater Dei

One of the devil’s biggest tricks is to make you believe that he doesn’t exist; he makes you feel that the stories you hear about him and his demons are just imaginations of people. And many Christians have fallen to these satanic tricks and lies.

The devil tries to hide the truth from us by painting it black and presenting it in such an awful way to make it unacceptable. That is his work to deceive people and turn them against the truth. One of these truths is the power in our devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially the recitation of the holy rosary. This prayer is a powerful weapon, and the devil hates this prayer so much so that he does everything within his power to discourage people from it. Mary’s simplicity and humility remind him of his arrogance and pride, and her purity exposes him continuously as the author of sin and the father of lies. He has been raising men and women to fight this prayer and the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. They lie against the Catholic Church, and vehemently insist that the Church worship images and pray to God through Mary. Unfortunately, many of these people are innocent victims of satanic lies, and these are people that depend on what they are deceptively told and not what they know about the Catholic Church or the Blessed Virgin Mary.

We Catholics are Christians like every other good Christian, and we have unshakeable faith in Christ Jesus. We believe with all our hearts in the oneness of God, for besides him, there is no other. We also believe without any atom of doubt that Jesus Christ alone is our Mediator of Redemption. We do not worship Mary nor worship any image. Many converts to Catholicism have testified to this fact, and they came in to discover that all they were told about the Catholic Church were all lies; stories cooked from the pit of hell to distract them from the truth.

Do not fall to those demonic tricks and lies, and they are meant to pull you away from the truth. The devil himself knows how much God has blessed that woman and raised her above every creature. She is highly favoured and full of grace (Lk. 1:28-30). She is incontestably the mother of God. To deny her of this title is to deny that Jesus Christ is God; it attempts to remove the crown God himself has placed on her head. I understand with these people, and I know how difficult it is to believe that a creature gave birth to her creator, but God made it possible to show how much he loves us. He humbled himself to share in our humanity. Even though Jesus came into the world born of a woman, it does not make him less God. And for the fact that Mary gave birth to Jesus does not make her greater than Jesus; Jesus remains her Lord and God. This is the mystery of God’s love for us; he stooped so low to lift us to an unimaginable height. Jesus will not turn against the woman he loved so much, the vessel he used to enter the world as a man. Honouring her brings glory to God, and the devil doesn’t want that. He hates anything that glorifies God.

The devil fears that woman a lot, and he doesn’t want you to know that fact. He comes up with all kinds of arguments to blackmail the Catholic Church and to confuse people. But we know the truth, I know the truth, not just because the Church teaches it, but because I have experienced it. I am talking about what I know and not just what I was told; the devil fears that woman and God take the glory. We honour the Blessed Virgin Mary with a great sense of pride because God himself has honoured her.

If you believe that it is biblical to honour our fathers and mothers, then much more honour is expected from us for the Mother of the Redeemer. Jesus Christ will never be angry because we honour his mother. He honoured her himself by granting her the privilege of carrying him in her womb. Jesus respected her and obeyed her as his mother (Lk. 2:51), a kind of humility that beats the devil’s imaginations. We hail Mary because God himself hailed her (Lk. 1:28), so why are some people angry because we hail Mary? Or do you think that Jesus gets angry when we honour his mother? Do you really think so? That is not true; it is the devil that gets angry and comes up with different strategies to discourage it.

Do not forget that God put enmity between the devil and that woman (Gen. 3:15). The devil waited to destroy the woman and her Son during childbirth, but God saved her and the child (Rev. 12:1-6). Since he, the devil, could not stop the birth of the child (Jesus) who is to reign forever and ever, and the honour of the woman (Mary) God has blessed beyond imagination, he vowed to fight the children of the woman (Rev. 12:13-17). That fight is still on to this day, and his weapons are lies and deceptions. He keeps lying and deceiving people about our devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and he aims to stop the reign of the child in our hearts and destroy the honour God has bestowed on Mary. But he has failed because generation after generation will call that woman blessed (Lk. 1:48).

They said we worship Mary and images; they lie against the Catholic Church, and to lie is a dangerous sin. Read your bible and let the Holy Spirit lead you to understand the difference between the making of images and the worship of images. The command in Exodus 20:4 not to make images actually forbids the worship of idols and not the making of images as such. God is not a man to contradict himself. He cannot give a command in Exodus 20:4 and then contradicts it himself in the next five chapters. In exodus 25:18, God commanded Moses to make two cherubim (two images of Angels) of gold, and in Numbers 21:8, the same God directed Moses to make an image of a serpent. God was not angry with creating these images, but he was angry with the golden Calf Aaron made in Exodus 32 because they worshiped it. We do not worship Mary or any other image in the Catholic Church; the devil is just lying and deceiving you to achieve his aim. Images in the Catholic Church are like the serpent Moses made, it did not heal the people, but God did use the image. Images in the Catholic Church helps our meditations, and we trust not in images but in God. If you see me bow before the image of Mary or that of Jesus, you may be tempted to accuse me of idolatry, but my spirit goes beyond those images to connect with the reality they reflect.

They accuse us of keeping images of Jesus and Mary, yet they keep the images and pictures of their loved ones in their homes; are those not images? Do they worship them? Whenever you kiss your mother’s picture or even bow before her, what are you doing? Are you just kissing a piece of paper or worshiping her? No, not at all; worship is a thing of the heart. When you kissed your mother’s picture or bowed before her, what were you doing? You were certainly not worshiping her but only expressed your respect and love for your mother. That is simply what we do in the Catholic Church.

In the Catholic Church, we do not only honour Mary; we proudly invoke or ask her to intercede for us before the throne of Jesus Christ, her Son. Some people object to this and insist that we pray directly to God. Yes, we certainly pray directly to God or to the Father through Jesus Christ the only way. Calling on Mary to intercede for us does not in any way contradict the fact that there is only one God and that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father. If I, a sinner, can ask you, a fellow sinner, to intercede for me, and you do, then tell me what is wrong with me asking the holy mother of Jesus Christ to pray for me before her son? If you are among those who feel that Mary is a dead person and so cannot pray for us, then I put it to you that you do not understand the powerlessness of death. By his death and resurrection, Jesus conquered death; the prophet Isaiah foretold this victory long before it happened (25:8). Death is dead; it cannot hold me down. So, anyone who tells you that Mary is dead does not believe in the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, he or she does not believe in life after death, and such a person can equally tell you that he is a dead man. The so many undeniable apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary around the world proves that she is alive; she intercedes. So, do not let the devil lie to you, we do not worship Mary, but we honour her so much and strongly believe in the power of her intercessions. The devil fears her, and this is the truth he does not want people to know; let us join hands to make this truth known to every soul.