May 15, 2023 4 min read
At the feet of Mary, we find the source of all grace and holiness.
“Here at last is the return of the month of the beautiful Mother...", so once wrote St. Pio of Pietrelcina at the beginning of the month of May.
That's right. For centuries now, the month of May has been associated with Mary par excellence, the month of the "beautiful Mother." It is the most beautiful month of the year because of the spring splendor that covers it; that is why it is consecrated to Her whom the Church sings and praises as All Beautiful. It is the month in which roses bloom fragrant in the warmth of redolent nature; that is why it is consecrated to Her whom the Church exalts as the Mystic Rose.
"In the month of May," thus wrote Pope Paul VI, "we remember the childish joy with which, going to school, we carried flowers for the altar of Our Lady: lights, songs, prayers and 'fioretti' gave joyful expression to the devotion to Mary Most Holy, who appeared to us then as the Queen of Spring, Spring of Nature and Spring of Souls."
THE MONTH OF GRACES
May is also called the month of graces and glories of Mary, because in this month we receive copious graces, celebrating the glories of the universal Mother and Queen. Indeed, especially because of the spiritual fruits it produces, the month of May sings the highest glories of Mary: Co-redemptrix and Mediatrix of all graces. These are graces of all sorts that She lovingly bestows on those who celebrate this month. Graces of spiritual progress; of renewal of life, of conversion; temporal graces for health, for work, for studies, for accommodation, for the family. How many graces in this blessed month! Especially as it closes with the sweetest feast of Our Lady of Graces. Who among us does not need more grace?
St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, in order to help his brother troubled by dangerous spiritual and material distress, found no more effective remedy than to recommend to him thoughtfully the month of May and sent him helpful booklets to follow the Marian month day by day.
A MONTH OF MAY….BY MISTAKE
A young Jewish man, Ermanno Coen, who was in Paris to study music, had taken to gambling and degeneracy. Needing money to satisfy his ugly passions, he found a position as an organ player at St. Valeria's Church for the entire month of May. At first, Ermanno played the organ with total indifference, as a mere tradesman. Unwittingly, since he was in the Church throughout the entire liturgy, he had no choice but to listen to the sermons that were given each evening, which focused especially on Our Lady. From night to night, listening, his spirit began to be troubled and his heart to be moved.
At the end of May he thought seriously about preparing for Baptism to become a Catholic. And shortly thereafter he was baptized in that same church. Together, he had the gift of a religious vocation; he became a Carmelite religious and died in a state of grace. How many graces from that fortuitously-made month of May!
FOR THE WHOLE CHURCH
To goal of the month of May, then, is to accumulate graces; it is to solve problems or painful situations; it is to obtain the patronage of the Divine Mother. That is why the Church, the Pontiffs, the Saints, have greatly encouraged the faithful to celebrate the Marian month with devotion.
Pope Paul VI in 1965 issued an Encyclical Letter on the "Month of May" to expressly reaffirm that the Church considers it the most fruitful month of prayer and heavenly graces for all the needs of humanity and the Church.
"Precisely because the month of May bears this powerful call to more intense and confident prayer, and because in it our supplications find easier access to the merciful heart of the Virgin, it was the dear custom of Our Predecessors to choose this month consecrated to Mary, to invite the Christian people to public prayers, whenever the needs of the Church or some threatening danger loomed over the world required it.”
LET’S DO IT WELL
Let's not miss this great opportunity for grace. And let us try not to let others miss it either. Let us invite our loved ones and strive to encourage our friends to attend the services of the Marian month. Our Lady will not send anyone back empty-handed. Let us remember that She herself, who appeared with hands projecting beams of light rays, told St. Catherine Laboure, "These rays are the symbol of the graces that I shed over the people who ask me for them." And St. Catherine Laboure-- following the examples of St. Philip Neri, St. Camillus, St. Alphonsus de Liguori and so many other saints -- wanted that especially in the month of May we intensify Marian prayer, the humble recourse to Her who sits on the "throne of grace, to obtain mercy and find grace in need." (Heb. 4:16).
Let us remember Our Lady every day of this month with the devout recitation of the Holy Rosary, of this Marian prayer that Pope Paul VI considered and called "a compendium of everything in the Gospel."
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