The piety of the Faithful was deliberately directed towards the Man Christ Jesus, our Brother and our Friend. And as Christians dwelt more and more upon the thought of our Lord, not only as God, but also as Man, so more and more did they think of His Mother not only as His Mother, the Mother of God, but also as the Mother of His Brethren, as their Mother too, and as the chosen channel of grace. The Man Christ Jesus and His Mother Mary never were separated in the thoughts and affections of the Middle Ages. From the time of St. Bernard to our own we find constant development of popular devotion in the Catholic Church towards the adorable Humanity of our Blessed Lord, manifesting itself in special devotions to His Holy Name, to His Five Wounds, to His Precious Blood, to His Sacred Heart, and to the Blessed Sacrament exposed upon our Altars. Conjoined with this development we always meet with marked devotion to our Blessed Lady. It is impossible, without shameful violence, to separate those whom God has joined together, the Mother and her Son. There is an extraordinarily intimate connection, in particular, between devotion to the Sacred Heart of our Lord, full of love for men, in the Divine Eucharist, and love of His Immaculate Mother. It would be difficult indeed to forget that to the co-operation of Mary we owe the adorable Humanity of our Lord and therefore His love for men in the Blessed Sacrament of our Altars. When we are most thankful to God, we realize most clearly that we owe all we have to Mary, the Holy Mother of our Lord.
But Protestantism came into the world and banished the Real Presence of Jesus Christ from its churches and prayer to Mary from its worship—with the result that Protestant worship is, for the most part, as cold and melancholy as are its empty churches.
Whatever, then, may be the degree of development, whether in Christian doctrine, which is always unchangeable in its substance, or in Christian worship, which admits of manifold variation—we find the law of growth, working according to the designs of God. Therefore, investigation as to the extent of development is an historical question of purely academic interest. We cannot, if we would, live now as though we were still in the fourth century, when Pope Damasus ruled the Church of God. It is no more possible to revive the past than it is to re-live the days of our bodily infancy or youth. To attempt such a course would be to court spiritual disaster. In God's Providence we are living in the twentieth century under Pope Benedict, who holds the place and exercises the authority of all who have gone before him, seated on Peter's Chair. Our practical duty, as distinct from our theoretical investigations, is to remember the exhortation of St. Vincent of Lerins: "To increase and make much and strenuous progress, as well of every man in particular as of all men in common, as well in the successive stages of man's life as in the various ages and times of the whole Church." The more we strive to increase and make progress in the knowledge and love of Mary in the successive stages of our own lives—the more earnestly we endeavour, so far as in us lies, to spread abroad that knowledge and that love far and wide around us, the more may we hope to be ourselves blessed by God, and to bring blessings untold to those whom we may encourage to trust God's Blessed Mother. Happy he in whose soul from childhood to youth, from youth to manhood, from manhood to ripe old age, has been developed and strengthened, each year that passes by, devotion to our Lady—for knowledge and love of Mary bring, as certainly as the dawn brings the fullness of the day, the knowledge and the love of God. Devotion to Mary as it develops within our hearts, and in the world around us, leads without fail to the rich development of that which is the one hope of our own poor hearts—the one hope of a sick and weary world—the supreme love of Jesus Christ our Lord, who is Blessed Mary's Son.