What exactly is devotion? The general meaning rests on the commitment of oneself to a certain cause or person. In terms of Christian devotion, however, what can we say is the drive behind the action? Is it out of love or is it sometimes incentive-based? Only Christ can truly know one's heart and desires. But what does it mean to be truly devoted? Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind" (Luke 10:27), basically leaving the world with the proper definition of devotion to our God. But how can we, as a humans, begin to succeed in loving the Lord with all our hearts, all our souls, strengths, and minds? The answer is through prayer.
But what exactly does it mean to pray? Jesus taught us how to pray to him and his father. He said, "If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it" (John 14:14) and gave us the Lord's Prayer. What we must understand as Christians, however, is that communication with God exists on ascending levels. The more grace one possesses, the more clear and open he or she is to receive the abundant love Christ has to offer and the understanding the Holy Spirit can bring. The human being who did and still does this best is, without a doubt, is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Possessing grace in its finest portion, she is the greatest saint and model for humanity second only to her Son. While Christ is in actuality the prime role model, we must remember that Christ was 100% human and 100% divine - a mystery of the faith. Mary, who maintained no divinity, walked the Earth like every other human being making it easy for us to relate to her in so many ways. Deeping a relationship of God, therefore, finds an incomparable catalyst through loyalty and prayer to Our Lady because of her paramount understanding of the Father that we as humans do not posses while still present here on Earth.
But in petitioning to Mary, does this mean that we are worshiping our Purest Mother? The answer is no. In many Christian denominations other than the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church, adoration of the Blessed Virgin, as well as other saints, is not practiced because of the misconception that it places her in divine authority equal with the Father. When praying to Our Mother, however, we are not praying to her with the belief that she will answer our pray through a divine power that she possesses, but through her petition to the divinity of the Holy Trinity, prayers may be answered. We must understand that when asking the Blessed Mother to pray for us, it is the same act as asking a fellow friend to do the same. Only Mary is the closest human being to the Holy Trinity in the Heavenly Kingdom, and by her unmatchable grace she can communicate with God in a way we humans on Earth cannot even begin to fathom. Thus in petitioning to Our Lady, her state of grace can substitute for ours in petition to the Christ.
The Miracles of Our Lady of Rocamadour as well many other ancient accounts of the Blessed Mary's intervention may actually seem to portray Mary as possessing divine power more often than more modern accounts of miracles. Titles such as A Mortally Wounded Woman Cured By the Blessed Virgin as well as verses such as "The woman who could not be cured by doctors' medicines was cured by the Blessed Virgin and restored to her former health" make no reference to Christ or the Holy Trinity. What we as readers must keep in mind is that the Roman Catholic Church was not yet divided when these articles were written, and thus different Christian denominations did not exist at the time of their authorship. The Christian readers of the time, who were all Catholic, most likely understood the fact that Mary was working through her Son without the need of it to be stated continuously. Nonetheless, in the prologue the author does indeed mention, "she gives grace to the humble through the grace of her son", clearing up any minuscule instances of confusion among the readers of the time.
Overall, a relationship and devotion to Christ is superiorly fortified through devotion to his Blessed Mother. But we still must answer the question of what it means to be truly devoted. A wonderful explanation for this is found in the humble widow who offered two copper coins in Mark 12:44: "They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything - all she had to live on." In "The Tumbler of Our Lady", we see an excellent example of the process of devotion. A young man enters an order as a monk, yet does not know much about the traditional way of praying (he doesn't even know the "Our Father") or how to form a relationship with God. His solution? He began his devotion to Christ through the Blessed Mother in prayer through an act he knew best: tumbling and dancing. The young man offered himself completely with his heart, soul, strength and mind for hours and hours per day until he would ultimately faint from exhaustion. He "put in everything", and the Blessed Mother was physically present there to respond to him in his needs, as observed by two other monks while the young tumbler was asleep from exhaustion. The young man did not use fancy language or rhetoric, or pray in tongues, or prophesize. But with the gifts that he had, he gave all that he could through what he did best, all because he loved the Lord his God so much - true devotion.