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Editor’s Note: Cultivating Devotion

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I’ve been meditating for weeks on this May issue’s theme of devotion, rolling it over in my head. While growing up, the word “devotion,” in relation to faith, only extended to flowery “devotional books.” I wasn’t even aware of devotions to particular saints then, because I had no real understanding of who the saints are.

“Devotion” only resonated with me in connection to relationships I witnessed in my young life. Devotion was my father working 10 hours a day to care for our family. It was my grandfather showing up to my third grade basketball games. It was my dog sitting in bed with me as I cried through teenage angst and heartbreak. In short, it was utter loyalty from those who loved me most.

In that context, devotion in terms of faith becomes much more approachable, much more tangible. It’s more than just words on a page (though as an avid book lover, I wholeheartedly endorse a good devotional book). Devotion is about relationships, about loyalty. And who loves us most? Who is most devoted to us? Our Lord Jesus Christ. Just think of how much devotion fills our hearts for those we love in our earthly lives. In fostering devotion to and with our Savior, imagine what that can do for our souls!

And more than having a devotion just to Christ, garnering a devotion to a particular saint also yields spiritual rewards. One that I cultivated first was to Our Lady Undoer of Knots.

Again, in thinking about my devotion to my own mother, it was easy to find a similar connection with Christ’s mother, especially under a title that so directly affects the struggles in our lives.

You know what’s really neat? Pope Francis has a special devotion to Mary, Undoer of Knots, too! At the conclusion of his month-long rosary in May 2021, Pope Francis said: “Tonight we gather before you, our Virgin Mother, venerated in this image as the one who unties knots. In fact, there are many knots that bind our lives and our activities. They are knots of selfishness and indifference, economic and social knots, knots of violence and war.”

Considering his intentions, it’s pretty amazing to realize that our devotions can extend beyond our own desires.

So, if you’re like me and still looking for ways to cultivate personal spiritual devotion—whether to a saint, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Divine Mercy, and so many more.— I encourage you to think about the ways devotion manifested in your own earthly life, then apply that to your spiritual one. You’ll be amazed by how much cultivating devotion helps you grow in your faith life!

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