It would be a very serious mistake to estimate the relative importance of devotion by its external manifestations. A mother may lavish signs of affection on her child that would not be becoming were they offered to her husband.
It by no means follows that her love for her child is deeper than her love for her husband. Love for husband and love for child belong to a different order of feeling ; they are therefore suitably manifested in different fashions. So is it with regard to the devotion of Catholic Christians as manifested respectively to the Saints, to the Blessed Virgin and to our Divine Lord. It is by no means uncommon to find holy people speaking of some Saint, whom they have constituted their special Patron
Heaven, in such a manner that the unwary, who are strangers to the true inwardness of the Catholic religion, might, most unjustly, imagine that the Saint was the very centre of their devotion. To take two examples. In the fourth century St. Paulinus of Nola was extraordinarily devout to St. Felix ; in the nineteenth century the Blessed Cure d'Ars to the Virgin- Martyr St. Philomena.
St. Paulinus, in a poem composed in honour of St. Felix, wrote thus :
"Fifteen years have passed since I made my Vow and consecrated my soul to thee [that is, when he first entered the Church of St. Felix at Nola, and there witnessed the miracles worked through the Saint's intercession]. Business, obliging me to journey over land and sea, has kept me far from thy tomb. Thou knowest that I have always invoked thee in difficulties and dangers. Under thy guidance I have travelled over the seas (not without thee, for I have felt thy protection) and have triumphed over all danger in Jesus Christ our Lord. Always by land and sea I have owed my safety to thee."
"Who has taught me to despise all things, in order to give myself to Jesus Christ ? Who but thou, Felix, my powerful protector ? It is thou who hast broken the chains of my flesh." Paulinus writes further that he owes to St. Felix everything in this present life and all his hopes for the next, and accounts himself as given by Christ Himself as a slave to the service of the Saint.