Catholics dedicate the month of May to Mary.
Devotion to Mary is an important part of our Catholic identity. We honour Mary as our mother because she is an example of a committed “Yes” to the will of God. Because of the devotion to her, many people ask her for help in the most difficult moments of their life as any child does with his or her mother. Perhaps, you have too.
Catholics express our devotion to Mary in myriad ways in May. It is common for many Catholics to make the extra effort to recite the Rosary. Many parishes erect a special May altar with a statue or picture of Mary as a reminder of Mary’s month. Additionally, it is a long-standing tradition in some parts of the world to crown the statue of Mary during May.
These spiritual practices invite Catholics to renew their lives by imitating Mary’s virtues, particularly, humility, obedience and trust in God in our everyday life.
The celebration of Mary in May takes place during the season of spring in the northern hemisphere. Spring reminds us that nature renews itself. In her way, Mary gave new life to the world when she gave birth to Jesus. In the same way, the different ways we honour Mary in May can bring about a new springtime in our lives.
Those who follow Mary’s example offer us a way to renew ourselves spiritually.
There are those who choose to imitate Mary’s way of living with God. They see her as an example of the good disciple who welcomed Jesus into her life and bore him to the world as Saviour.
There are also many who turn to Mary as mother, especially in trying times. Their trust in her shows us the attitude that faithful disciples ought to have in God, like she did when she said ‘yes’ to God’s will at the Annunciation and many times thereafter.
Below are two reflections that can help us meditate on the gift of Mary in our lives.
The first is about a religious order founded on Mary’s example. We invite you to read it and to watch the video.
The second is about St. Elizabeth Anne Seton and her devotion to Mary, as the mother she trusted and whose example she followed.
We then offer some points for your prayer and reflection.
“Mary in their Lives”
The Marianists, a religious congregation, of priests and religious brothers, live their lives dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus. They follow Mary’s apostolic example of bringing Jesus into the world. They believe Mary helps them to follow Jesus, to grow in his likeness, and to bear his transforming grace to the world today.
The Marianists’ dedication to Mary offers us insights to follow Mary. You can read about their religious life here: https://www.marianist.com/mary-in-our-lives. Also, watch the video in which two Marianists reflect on the role of Mary in their lives of prayer and work.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton founded the Daughters of Charity of St. Joseph in America. She turned to Mary often in her hour of need. St. Elizabeth grew up longing for a mother’s love. Her own mother died when she was very young. A convert, St. Elizabeth understood God’s gift of Mary to be her mother. You can read about how St Elizabeth embraced Mary as her mother here: https://setonshrine.org/mother-seton-embraced-the-gift-of-mary/
Prayer & Reflection
Having read and watched Mary’s role in the life of the Marianists and St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton, here are these 3 points for your prayer and reflection
1. “A slow growing love to…getting accustomed to…know who Mary is.”
This is how Fr. Buby speaks about getting to know Mary through the Scriptures. What is your favourite scriptural passage about Mary? Why is it significant in your life and faith.
2. “Put yourself in the presence of Mary.”
This Marianist insight makes prayer and life a joyful experience. Put yourself in Mary’s presence now. How do you relate to Mary — as a mother, a sister, a friend, or a guide? Speak with Mary about her presence in your life and why it makes you joyful
3. “Mary, truth-seeking, gentle, and compassionate, was a gift of grace to Elizabeth Ann Seton as she searched for the truth about her faith and sought consolation in all the messiness and struggles of her earthly life.”
As a person with same-sex attraction or who identifies as LGBT, or as a loved one of an LGBT person, what are some of your struggles and the consolations you wish for? Bring these to Mary and ask her to place them into Jesus’s hands for his healing and blessing. Speak to Mary as you would to a friend – heart to heart.
Pray the ‘Hail Mary’ to end your time of prayer and reflection.
Words of Encouragement
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me.