As believers, as Christians, we need and have to pray: above all, to God, who through His Son Jesus and in the Holy Spirit, hears and listens to our prayers. We go to God, too, through the intercession of Our Lady, the saints and the angels. We pray to them and practice various devotions. Let me share with you, hereafter, some notes on our much-needed devotion to God.


What is devotion? It is the main act of the virtue of religion that connects us with God and helps us give God in a finite, limited and imperfect way what we owe Him. With St. Francis of Sales, we say that genuine devotion is simply “true love of God” and that true devotion “consists in a constant, resolute, prompt, and active will to do whatever we know is pleasing to God” (Introduction to the Devout Life). Devotion may be described then as the prompt will to give oneself fully to all that belongs to the service of God. It is with prayer an act of the virtue of religion and also of charity.

People who practice devotions are devout people. A devout person is one who offers, as sacrifice to God, his whole person in total submission to Him (St. Thomas Aquinas). Devout people are those – priests, religious women and men, and lay faithful – who commit their life to God and to his service. Devotion then is unequivocally directed to God and not to creatures; to these, it is only directed as instruments of God. In meditation, in contemplation, prayerful and devout Christians decide to offer themselves in God’s service. Thus, devotion to God is highly aided by meditation and contemplation of the goodness of God, and also of our own miserable condition.

The primary effect of devotion is spiritual joy, although secondarily it may cause certain sadness. How is this possible? Devotion causes great joy when considering divine goodness, and some sadness when facing our own miserable condition. Meditating on and contemplating the Passion of Christ, his incredible sufferings may cause some sadness but, above all, great joy when contemplating also the goodness of God, who through Jesus liberates us from the slavery of sin. This explains the joy the spiritual joy – of the saints, particularly in carrying their respective cross, not only patiently but also joyfully. For them – as it is said – when the cross comes, it is the Lord who comes. For them, the wounds of life are sweet wounds of love.


There are two kinds of devotion: devotion to God and devotion to the saints or, as we like to say, devotion in the singular and devotion in the plural.

Devotion in the singular refers to devotion to God, which means giving honor and glory to Him, worshipping, adoring Him. It is an act of the virtue of religion which inclines us to give due worship to God as the beginning of everything (St. Thomas Aquinas). Adoration in particular expresses internally and externally our devotion to God by venerating, revering, worshipping and submitting radically to Him.

Devotion in the singular, or devotion to God, is necessary for salvation. It implies worshipping God through Jesus in the Spirit. It is called latria! It is devotion to God, One and Triune: devotion to God the Father, and devotion to Christ the Son of God and the Son of Mary, and devotion to the Holy Spirit, our sanctifier and consoler.  Our devotion to Christ, therefore, is not merely one devotion, but the whole devotion, because He is the source of the life of the Christian (1 Cor 1:30). Christ is the only mediator before God the Father. Thus, Jesus Christ says:“Without me, you can do nothing” (Jn 15:6).  This means neither much nor little, but really nothing! Jesus is the bridge to the Father. Only true faith in Him may overcome the world: a trusting, hopeful faith that is lived in love.

Devotion in the plural – devotions – refers to our devotions to the saints. These devotions are not necessary for salvation. They include devotions to Mary, to the angels, and to the saints.

Among the devotions to the angels and saints, the devotion to Our Lady is the highest in terms of importance. It is above the devotions to the angels and saints. According to the tradition of the Church, guardian angels protect us when facing threatening dangers and intercede for us before God.

The devotion to Mary is a special one. It is called hyperdulia, while the devotion to the saints, dulia.


All devotions – or devotions in the plural – are ordered to the devotion to God or devotion in the singular: In the angels and in the saints, we venerate – not worship – what they have of God or God in them (St. Thomas Aquinas). Devotions in the plural are directed through Christ our Lord and the Holy Spirit to God the Father.

What is the goal of our devotions to Mother Mary, the angels, and the saints? All devotions – we repeat the words of St. Thomas Aquinas – are ordered to God: In the saints, we venerate what they have of God or God in them. Devotions in the plural are directed by the Holy Spirit, who is the love of the Father and the Son, through Jesus Christ, who is God’s only Son, to God the Father.

Jesus is the end of all our devotions to Mary, the angels, and saints. Hence, the followers of Jesus are asked above all to have devotion in the singular,that is, we are called to have devotion to God, One and Triune: to One God in Three divine Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Therefore, now and always: Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit!

(In our next column, we shall reflect on the special devotion to Mary, Our Lady.)

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