Tuesday, May 1, 2007

May is the month dedicated to Mary

"All generations will call me blessed"

The month of May has long been dedicated to Mary, Mother of God. In 1965, Paul IV wrote in his encyclical, "Mense Maio" about the reason for this month long tradition:

"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."
Paul IV goes on to say, "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."

That pretty much sums up why Catholics honor Mary. She leads us with a motherly love and compassion to her Son, Jesus. Any true devotion for Mary will lead to a deeper love and devotion for Jesus. To Jesus, through Mary.

I've been asked before by non-Catholic friends who misunderstand this very important point, whether Catholics "worship" Mary. We do not worship Mary. We give honor to her as the Mother of God and ask her intercession for us, to bring us to her Son. She brought Jesus to us when she said YES to God, and now she brings us to Jesus. We only have to ask. That is the beauty of a mother's love. Further, we know that in Mary we have the strongest of intercessors. Her Son will not turn away her requests. The wedding feast of Cana is an example of this fact. This was where Jesus performed his first miracle, at her request, and thus began His public ministry. Another important thing to remember is that in this same Scripture reading, Mary says to them, "Do what He tells you." So we know that Mary wants to bring us to a deeper relationship to Christ and the way to do that is, quite simply, to "do what He tells us".

The Catechism tells us, in regard to devotion and the motherhood of Mary,

971 "All generations will call me blessed": "The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship."513 The Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of 'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. . . . This very special devotion . . . differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration."514 The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an "epitome of the whole Gospel," express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.515

Today, we attended a Mass at our parish in honor of St. Joseph the worker, the first day of the month which honors Mary. What a fitting way to begin our month of honoring the Mother of God, by also honoring her most chaste spouse, St. Joseph. After Mass, the Princess and I gathered materials to make a special prayer place to honor Mary in our home for this month of May (see photo above)

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

No comments: