What is devotion? What is the role that it plays in the spiritual life? It is often thought of in emotional terms, as if spiritual devotion means expressing love or heartfelt worship to God or some other divine source. But the word's meaning actually has more to do with the will. "Devotion" literally means "of the expression of a vow." Vow, meanwhile, has to do with making a promise. This begs the question, of course: just what exactly is it that the promise is expressed towards? So devotion always has an object, whether human (as in a lover) or divine (as in God or Mary or Brigid). Furthermore, a promise involves a commitment — a focusing of the will. Such a focusing might naturally include an element of profound feeling, but it's important to remember that it's first and foremost about a choice, a vow. Devotional spirituality involves the act of making a deep commitment — to honor or worship or venerate the object of faith. Therefore, what makes the holy wells (or the shrine at Knock) so special is not how they make people feel, but rather how they inspire people to a committed expression of their spiritual life.

Carl McColman, 366 Celt