Mothers Day 2012
May is 'Mary's Month' for Good Reason
By Dan Valenti (May 2, 2012)
It's interesting that Mother's Day comes in May, a month the Church has traditionally set aside as "Mary's Month." Mother's Day, of course, is the day we take to formally honor our mothers, both living and deceased. We honor all the women who — by giving us birth, caring for us, nurturing us, teaching us, and guiding us — helped us grow physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Our mothers were there no matter what. They loved us the strongest when we hurt the most. When everyone let us down, our mothers were there to pick us up. There was nothing they wouldn't do, no sacrifice too large to make on our behalf, and no detail too small if it meant our wellbeing.
Mother Mary's Month: In Spring, Rebirth
In May, it's almost as if one day is not enough for one Mother. She rates 31 days, a full month to honor the woman Catholics venerate as the Mother of God. Though the seeds of May as Mary's month can be traced back to the 18th century, the practice solidified into a tradition by the mid-19th century, when churches throughout Europe began devotions to Mary. This movement caught the fancy of Catholics, who — especially with the encouragement of Pope Pius XII and Pope Paul VI in the middle part of the 20th century — were attracted to the symbolism of images of May and Mary: spring, the return of life, rebirth, the celebration of motherhood, and the approach of summer.
There are many ways to celebrate May as Mother Mary's month, says the Very Rev. Fr. Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC, provincial superior for the Marian Fathers in the United States and Argentina. These include:
• Daily praying of the Rosary
• Crowning of a statue of Our Lady
• Venerating a statue or image of Mary (venerating means simply to perform a prayerful gesture or action of deep respect)
• Setting up a small shrine or "May altar" to Mary in one's home
• Encouraging family prayer to Our Lady
• Informally "check in" with the Blessed Mother throughout the day.
"Our Lady is our mother," says Fr. Anthony Gramlich. "Padre Pio was so passionate about the Blessed Mother that when he talked of Mary, he was often moved to tears at how much she loved him. He felt so strongly that it sometimes became too much for him. Padre Pio spoke of this condition as a 'happy exasperation' in trying to convey in words the joyous love he felt from Mary."
Father Anthony continues: "Mary sends that same amount of love to each of us, as her children. She has nothing for us but love."
With that, we present a reflection from Kathleen Delia Miller:
Our Lives Would be Dark without Mary
As a wife and mother, I love to receive flowers from my husband and daughters. There is nothing so captivating as a beautiful bouquet of red roses waiting for me at home after a long day. I feel loved and appreciated by my family.
Can you imagine what Mary, our spiritual Mother, must feel when she is adorned with precious flowers from her earthly children? Often we sing these heartfelt words of thanksgiving to our dear Blessed Mother during a crowning ceremony:
Bring flowers of the rarest, bring flowers of the fairest
From garden and woodland and hillside and vale.
Our full hearts are swelling, our glad voices telling
The praise of the loveliest Rose of the vale.
O Mary, we crown you with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.
Our voices ascending, in harmony blending,
O thus may our hearts turn, dear Mother, to you.
O thus shall we prove to you how truly we love you.
How dark without Mary life's journey would be. (Ref.)
These words confirm that our earthly journey would be dark without Mary's guidance in our lives.
Last October, I was experiencing profound challenges in my spiritual life. It had been a long and arduous time. As I was leaving a friend's place of business, I had a strong urge to visit a nearby Eucharistic Adoration chapel. As I entered the chapel, I noticed the mother of a dear friend of mine. I smiled at her, and she eagerly returned the gaze.
As I was leaving the chapel, my friend's mother, Elda, followed me and handed me a gift wrapped in white tissue paper with a beautiful blue ribbon. She said, "This is a gift from the Blessed Mother to you."
Elda, a woman of great devotion to Mary, went on to say, "I told Our Lady that whoever came in and smiled at me today would receive this gift." When I opened it a flood of emotion came over me. It was a blue-and-white, handmade "Miraculous Medal" rosary. As I have a special devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary and the Miraculous Medal, I felt Mary's strong maternal love for me that day.
As I finger the beads of my new rosary, I pray that all souls will realize the gift of being Mary's spiritual children. She is our heavenly Mother who continues to guide us with spiritual light on our earthly journey.
Kathleen Delia Miller, her husband, Mike, and two daughters, Hayley and Hannah, live in Chesterton, Ind.
The Marian Fathers at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy invite you to send us your intentions to be remembered during our Mother's Day Novena and Holy Mass on Mother's Day.
Also, we invite you to pray along with us, reciting the same prayer being said during our Mother's Day Novena at the National Shrine May 4-12.