After walking into January with the joy of Christmas still fresh in our hearts, to basking in the sun of February experiencing the spiritual growth which the Ordinary time brought; after our sobriety and quest to amend our broken and sinful ways in March to the manifestation of the purpose of our beliefs and salvation in our Lord’s death and resurrection, we step into a new month tomorrow, the joyful Month of May.
To the world, the new month might probably mean a need to review how far we’ve come in our goals, what to achieve this time and what to let go off. It might even be a reminder of how much little our time keeps becoming. But for we Catholics, it should be more than that. For us, the Month of May is a month someone special comes to our minds and heart: that special someone being Our Loving Mother Mary.
The Catholic Church has dedicated this Month of Joy to Our Blessed Lady. This joy is self fulfilling since the fifty days of Easter corrseponds with the “Marian” month. What’s even more beautiful is the fact that according to Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Mense maio (the Month of May), “in this month, the benefits of God’s mercy comes down to us from her throne in greater abundance.” So how exactly can we as Catholics utilize this Month of May spiritually? Here are some suggestions all summed up in three major ways which could be of help.
Pray to Her: The Month of our Lady calls us to take up a deep devotion to Mary. Many of us probably may have backslid in our prayers to her due to the stress and worries our minds have been preoccupied with from the start of the year up until now. But we are encouraged to rekindle in our hearts our devotion to her by:
- Fervent prayer of one of the most powerful prayers of the Church: the Most Holy Rosary. In Fatima, Our Lady appeared to the shepherd children—Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco. In these apparitions, Our Lady insisted upon the praying of the most Holy Rosary. St. John Paul II in his document on the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary also pleaded that the whole world pray the Holy Rosary for the salvation of the family and for world peace. This is a call to obedience for us. Fifteen to thirty minutes of each day in prayer with the Holy Rosary isn’t really too small for Our Lady. The question is, isn’t she worth more than this amount of your time?
- Saying the Regina Coeli at appropriate times, for in doing this we not only sanctify the morning, afternoon and evening hours through the holy and sweet presence of Mary, but we also call to mind Mary’s key presence in the Mysteries of our salvation.
- Consecration of Ourselves through our Lady. It is always beautiful when we dedicate our whole essence to Jesus by a formal process of consecration through Mary. So if your parish organizes such consecration classes this May, it won’t be a bad idea to attend them if you haven’t done such consecration. This consecration could change dramatically one’s whole life. If one has already done it then one can renew the consecration every year and go deeper into the infinite reservoir of the love of God brought to us through the intercession of Our Mother Mary.
Know Her: A major issue our separated brethren have with us Catholics is the doctrine and truths about Our Mother Mary (Mariology as we call it). What’s even worse is the failure on our side in explaining and defending these truths when faced with the opposition and this is generally caused by the lack of indepth knowledge about Our Lady. Thus, we can make our Catholic faith firm this May by:
- Reading about Mary. For a well-formed and integral Mariology we should cultivate not just devotion but doctrine as well and this can be achieved by reading good Catholic books that fully explains the reasons for our devotions to Mary. Why not read the Apostolic Letter of Saint John Paul II “Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary” this May. This is a spiritual gem because it combines both solid Catholic doctrine (Mariology) with a tender love and devotion to Mary. We indeed need to know about Our Lady for she is the quickest, shortest, easiest and most efficacious path to Jesus.
Imitate Her. If we truly love somebody, we wouldn’t just want to get to know them better, but we would as well follow them more closely and finally imitate their good qualities that we call virtues. This is what we ought to do with regards to Our Lady this May. The saints did this every day of their lives and are now being honoured. St. Louis de Montfort in his classic “True Devotion to Mary” gives us a list of the ten principal virtues of Mary. Imitate them and you will be on the highway to holiness. They are her deep humility, lively faith, blind obedience, unceasing prayer, constant self-denial, surpassing purity, ardent love, heroic patience, angelic kindness, and heavenly wisdom (True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis de Montfort, #108). St. Louis teaches us: “The greatest saints, those richest in grace and virtue will be the most assiduous in praying to the most Blessed Virgin, looking up to her as the perfect model to imitate and as a powerful helper to assist them.”
Finally, although the month of May is a joyful one indeed, our life is a constant combat zone. But the good thing about it all is that we are never alone in our daily battle against the devil, the flesh and the world. Our Lady is always there to help us whenever we call on her in times of temptations and trials. She’s always on the lookout for the worried hearts as she did at the Wedding of Cana. And she is always ready to call her Son Our Lord Jesus Christ’s attention to us. Pope Paul VI also wrote that Mary is rightly to be regarded as the way by which people are led to Christ. Therefore, the person who encounters Mary cannot help but encounter Christ. So let us utilize this Month of May by truly devoting ourselves to Our Mother Mary, for then will the joy Easter brings be truly ours.