Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May, the Month of Mary

Sr. Maria Consolata Betrone. Jesus, Mary I Love you, Save Souls--->
<---Death and the life hereafter.

This Christian custom of dedicating the month of May to the Blessed Virgin arose at the end of the 13th century. In this way, the Church was able to Christianize the secular feasts which were wont to take place at that time.
In the 16th century, books appeared and fostered this devotion.

The practice became especially popular among the members of the Jesuit Order by 1700 it took hold among their students at the Roman College and a bit later it was publicly practiced in the Gesu Church in Rome.
From there it spread to the whole Church.

The practice was granted a partial indulgence by Pius VII in 1815 and a plenary indulgence by Pius IX in 1859. With the complete revision of indulgences in 1966 and the decreased emphasis on specific indulgences, it no longer carries an indulgence; however it certainly falls within the category of the First General Grant of Indulgences. (A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, in the performance of their duties and in bearing the trials of life, raise their mind with humble confidence to God, adding — even if only mentally — some pious invocation.
(Excerpted from Enchiridion of Indulgences, courtesy of Catholic Culture)

The Popes and devotion to Mary Mother of God

Many of the popes had great devotions to Mary, including the one a lot of us remember the most, Pope John Paul II. There are many anecdotal stories of priests and others praying the Rosary with him.

In May 2002 John Paul II said: “Today we begin the month dedicated to Our Lady a favourite of popular devotion. In accord with a long-standing tradition of devotion, parishes and families continue to make the month of May a ‘Marian’ month, celebrating it with many devout liturgical, catechetical and pastoral initiatives!”

If you are interested in deepening your devotion to the Blessed Mother, we highly recommend St. Louis de Montfort’s book True Devotion to Mary. It is an amazing little book that will certainly help you to grow in a deeper relationship to Jesus Christ through Mary.

Our devotion to Mary

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners.
May is the Month of Mary, the Mother of God and the Mother of the Faithful.
May is the month when we honor mothers. Mothers’ Day may have begun centuries ago. The fourth Sunday of Lent was once called ‘Mothering Sunday”.

On this day, children visited the church where they had been baptized and offered gifts to their “mother” church for the new life of baptism they had received from her. As a natural outgrowth, children brought trinkets and cakes to their own mothers, thanking them for all they had done in their children’s lives.

Throughout Scripture we read of the many women who lived lives of faith and shared their faith with others – women like Judith, Deborah, Rachel, Sarah, Elizabeth, and, of course, Mary, the mother of Jesus.
We also refer to the Church as our ‘Mother Church’ and attribute to the Church
the same life-giving and nurturing qualities associated with motherhood.

During the month of May, we recognize all mothers and express our love and reverence for them. May is also considered the month of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
During this month, liturgical celebrations will be held in your child’s school. At that time, we will honor Mary as the Mother of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Parents are warmly welcomed and encouraged to attend.

Pray the Rosary during the month of May

It is a good habit to pray the Rosary during the month of May, then we follow the custom throughout the year, including all our lives.
The rosary is the most pleasing prayer to the Virgin Mary, she repeatedly asked the shepherd children at Fatima: "Pray the rosary every day."

Your child is learning to pray the rosary at school. Some will even be making their own rosaries. Catholic families often place their rosaries in the family’s ‘prayer corner’ or on the family ‘prayer table’. I would encourage all Catholic families to find time to pray the rosary frequently during the month of May.

For younger children, an entire rosary may be too long, but saying just one
decade of the rosary before bedtime will help them to learn the prayers and the format. Praying the rosary is another way to introduce children to various bible stories that are the basis of the ‘mysteries of the rosary’.

For example, before praying a decade of the rosary for the first joyful
mystery – the Annunciation, one could read about the angel Gabriel announcing to Mary that she would bear a child named Jesus (Luke 1: 26 – 38).
Or the story of Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 2: 13 – 17) could be read to introduce a decade of the rosary dedicated to that luminous mystery.

Why Mary is our Mother?

Affirmation of Mary’s maternal role toward Christians is one of the main focal points in chapter 8 of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution of the Church, a chapter which names Mary as the “Mother of all Human Beings,” or “Mother of the Faithful.”

The development of the doctrine of Mary’s spiritual motherhood was gradual; earlier testimonies from Irenaeus, Ambrose, Augustine, and others were present but sparse. It was in the high Middle Ages that real theological development on the idea of Mary’s motherhood began to occur. More and more, the Scriptural passage of Mary at Calvary (John 19:25-27) came to be seen as the pericope expressing Mary’s spiritual motherhood toward the disciples of Jesus:

“So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.” (John 19:25-27)

The broader implications of this passage were realized gradually, by theologians, who came in time to understand its significance in expressing the presence and action of Mary in our lives. It was found that the best and universal expression of this presence was in the analogy of motherhood, which in this case is a spiritual motherhood, with all that such a mother/child relationship means for both Mary and us.

When we call Mary “our mother,” we grasp instinctively the essential meaning of the title, since it evokes memories of a human experience that is universal and runs deep. But when it comes to explaining clearly and precisely the content of the title, the matter is not so simple.
Primarily, this is due to the wealth of content, including as it does practically all aspects of Mary's activity toward us. Furthermore, Mary is our “Mother” in a way that is necessarily analogical.

Theologians are well aware of what this imports, namely certain limitations that have to be remembered, and a transcendence that also must be kept in mind.
The limitations come from the obvious fact that as far as we are concerned, we cannot apply to Mary all the realities of natural motherhood, since we are children of Mary not by the flesh, but “in the order of grace.”

Nevertheless, if in certain ways Mary's motherhood toward us says less than natural motherhood, in other ways it says much more. For example, the quality of our life as children of God, a life Mary helps to obtain for us, ennobles and enriches incomparably our purely human life.

And the perfection with which Mary dedicates herself to her maternal mission surpasses the best mothers on earth, plus the fact that Mary's maternal vocation is universal and calls for her forming a personal bond with each one of us. . .
Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this salvific duty, but by her constant intercession continued to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. . .
The purpose of Mary's maternal activity is to unite us with Christ so completely that each might say: “The life I live is not my own; Christ is living in me” (Gal 2:20).

We must pray with confidence to Mary

There are some misunderstandings or misconceptions about Catholics and their prayers to Mary. I’d like to take the opportunity to address these, simply by providing information (Louis Kloster, Religious Education coordinator).
Sometimes when we pray to Mary, we talk to her. Sometimes when we pray to Mary, we just think about her and her Son.

When we use the Rosary, we talk to her and think about her and Jesus at the same time. Mary said ‘Yes’ to God when the angel Gabriel informed her that God
wanted her to be the mother of His Son. We learn by her example of trust and obedience.

Catholics do not adore or worship Mary. We, in fact, honor Mary. Mary was the first of all believers. She gently nurtured Jesus as a child, faithfully followed Jesus during his public ministry, humbly walked with Him on the way of the Cross and lovingly waited at the foot of the Cross as He suffered for us.

Our devotion to Mary should lead us to do the same. We ask her to intercede on our behalf just as she did at the wedding feast of Cana, where she asked Jesus to
change water into wine. We ask her to pray for us – our own needs and those of the Church, just as we ask others to pray for us when we are sick or in need.

We believe that Mary, as mother of Jesus, has a special relationship with her Son. We believe that Jesus will honor Mary’s requests on our behalf, just as we listen to and honor our earthly parents. We need only ask.
Mary always points the way to Jesus, just as parents are called to lead their children to Jesus through instruction in the faith and through their example, word, and deed.

The month of May an age for special prayers

The month of May is almost here, a month which the piety of the faithful has long dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God. Our heart rejoices at the thought of the moving tribute of faith and love which will soon be paid to the Queen of Heaven in every corner of the earth.

For this is the month during which Christians, in their churches and their homes, offer the Virgin Mother more fervent and loving acts of homage and veneration; and it is the month in which a greater abundance of God's merciful gifts comes down to us from our Mother's throne.

We are delighted and consoled by this pious custom associated with the month of May, which pays honor to the Blessed Virgin and brings such rich benefits to the Christian people.

Since Mary is rightly to be regarded as the way by which we are led to Christ, the person who encounters Mary cannot help but encounter Christ likewise.
For what other reason do we continually turn to Mary except to seek the Christ in her arms, to seek our Savior in her, through her, and with her?

To Him men are to turn amid the anxieties and perils of this world, urged on by duty and driven by the compelling needs of their heart, to find a haven of salvation, a transcendent fountain of life.

Because the month of May is a powerful incentive to more frequent and fervent prayers, and because our petitions more readily find access to her compassionate heart during it, it has been a favorite custom of Our predecessors to choose this month, dedicated to Mary, for urging the Christian people to offer up public prayers whenever the needs of the Church demanded it or some grave crisis threatened the human race.

This year, Venerable Brothers, We in turn feel compelled to call for such prayers from the whole Catholic world. Looking at the present needs of the Church and the status of world peace, We have sound reasons to believe that the present hour is especially grave and that a plea for concerted prayer on the part of all Christians is a matter of top priority.

You should know that We are relying particularly on the prayers of children and those suffering affliction, for their pleas have special power to penetrate heaven and soften God's justice.

Since this is a perfect occasion, do not fail to put repeated emphasis on the recitation of the Rosary, the prayer so pleasing to Our Lady and so often recommended by the Roman Pontiffs. It affords the faithful an excellent means of complying effectively and pleasingly with our divine Master's command:
"Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you."
Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, April 29, 1965, in the second year of Our Pontificate.

Please also see: May the month of the Virgin Mary.--->

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