Every day of May offer Mary a gesture of love…
June is the month that we traditionally honor the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the most eloquent symbol of love for us. In November, we make a concerted effort to pray, offer Masses and sacrifices for the souls in Purgatory, especially the most abandoned and forgotten. July, in the heat of Summer, the most Precious Blood of Jesus that was shed for our eternal salvation we not only honor, but we praise and worship. We were redeemed at a dear price, the Precious Blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
THE MONTH OF MAY. The poets sing, write, and chant the glamour and splendor of May, the crown of Spring, with poetic verses that ring as such: “April flowers bring May flowers.” However, it must be declared with an overflowing joy that the most beautiful flower in May is Mary. The Italian poet Dante presents Mary in his literary classic ,“The Divine Comedy”, as the MYSTICAL ROSE!!! Of all of the flowers in God’s Heavenly Garden, Mary, the Mystical Rose, is by far the most splendid, fragrant, redolent, glorious, and breath-takingly beautiful. How interesting that the word ROSARY comes from the same linguistic origin as Rose. The Rosary indeed is a bouquet of roses that we present in prayer (the 50 Hail Marys) to Mary, the Queen of Heaven and earth.
The great Saint John Bosco had a tender and filial trust and love for Mary. Among the many titles given to Our Lady, the favorite for Bosco, the patron of the youth, was that of OUR LADY HELP OF CHRISTIANS. In the prayer, The Memorare: “Never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided….” So that the youth could attain to virtue and holiness, and especially the virtue of chastity, Saint John Bosco did all in his power to instill in them a tender, trusting and loving devotion to Mary, Our Lady Help of Christians.
One of the practices of Saint Bosco that he encouraged in the Oratory for his youth was to live out the month of Mary, but in a very special way. All of May, Bosco wanted the youth to have Our Lady in their minds and in the depths of their hearts.
Saint John Bosco suggested that every day, starting with the first day of May until the last, they should try to offer Our Lady some small sacrifice, prayer, offering, penance, or gesture—and even though little, if done with love, it would have incalculable value.
In our own humble and simple way, we would like to follow in the footsteps of Saint John Bosco, the towering saint of the 19th century, and offer a concrete offering, gift, prayer, sacrifice that we can offer to Mary every day in May. Remember May is the month of Mary; April showers bring May flowers. Mary is the Mystical Rose that radiates beauty and fragrance, not only in Heaven but wherever she is invoked, honored and loved in all the corners of the earth.
MONTH OF MARY: 30 GIFTS TO THE MOTHER OF GOD
1. MORNING OFFERING. Upon rising in the morning, start off the day by offering ourselves and all we do to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
2. ANGELUS. To honor Mary during the course of the day, pray the Angelus at noon, or whenever you please. This prayer gives Mary great honor because it calls to mind the two key moments in the history of salvation and Mary’s role in them: The Incarnation of the Son of God and the Paschal Mystery—His Passion, Death and Resurrection. Mary played a key role in both.
3. REGINA CAELI. Actually, this is the Marian prayer that is prayed in the Easter Season to honor Our Lady who rejoices in the fact of the Resurrection of Jesus. Not only did Mary suffer intensely beneath the cross on Good Friday, but she also rejoiced exultantly at His Resurrection from the dead.
4. GOLDEN HAIL MARY. As suggested by Saint Gertrude the Great, at times pray the Hail Mary slowly and meditate on and ponder in depth the meaning of the words in the Angelic salutation—another more formal name for the Hail Mary.
5. MEMORARE. Saint Frances de Sales, when going through a most profound desolation, prayed the MEMORARE (Marian prayer attributed to Saint Bernard) in the Church of Our Lady of Victory. His desolation disappeared immediately, like mist exposed to the brilliant light of the sun.
6. HAIL HOLY QUEEN. With fervor and devotion, pray the prayer that we say to conclude the most Holy Rosary: “Hail Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope….” In the midst of the trials, tribulations, and contradictions of life entrust your failures to Mary and she will turn your sadness into an overflowing joy.
7. MARY: STAR OF THE SEA. Meditate upon one of the most beautiful Marian poems ever penned—by Saint Bernard, the Mellifluous Doctor of the Church. Mary is truly STELLA MARIS—THE STAR OF THE SEA! Sailors would follow the star of the sea to lead them safely and securely to the port. So in the midst of the many tempests that we must sail through, let us never fail to lift our gaze to Mary, STELLA MARIS—STAR OF THE SEA. Her gentle but powerful persuasion will lead us safe and sound to our Heavenly Home.
8. MARIAN HYMNS: IMMACULATE MARY, HAIL HOLY QUEEN. As the poet states: “The lover sings a song of love.” If we truly love Mary, we will rejoice in singing to her some joyful song or hymn. Among my three favorites are the following: Sing of Mary, Hail Holy Queen, and Immaculate Mary. Choose one of your favorite Marian songs and sing it with love to Mary with all your heart.
9. STUDY! If we really want to love Mary then we should strive to get to know her by reading about Mary. Make it a point to read some good books, articles, documents, encyclicals on Mary for the month of May.
10. TRUE DEVOTION TO MARY, ST. LOUIS DE MONTFORT. Of all of the treatises on Mary with respect to consecration to her, True Devotion to Mary by Saint Louis de Montfort is a world classic. Read, learn, love and live it! It will change your life! Indeed, Mary is the shortcut to Jesus!
11. GLORIES OF MARY. Another universal Marian classic is GLORIES OF MARY. The author is one of the greatest Doctors of the Church, Saint Alphonsus Liguori. Of all of the many wrings of this great saint, this was his masterpiece. This literary Marian Masterpiece simply takes the prayer, the HAIL HOLY QUEEN, and explains it word for word, taking from the rich resources of the Bible, the Doctors of the Church, and the saints. This masterpiece will move you to tears of emotion for love of Mary.
12. TOTAL CONSECRATION TO JESUS THROUGH THE MYSTERIES OF THE ROSARY. Author? Yours truly, Fr. Ed Broom, OMV. Get to know the riches of Mary by plumbing the depths of the most Holy Rosary through the treasures of Sacred Scripture—available at Sophia Press!
13. MAY 13th. Get to know and love Mary through the message of Our Lady of Fatima. May 13th was the first of six apparitions of Our Lady to three Shepherd children—Saint Francisco, Saint Jacinta, and Lucia de los Santos.
14. MOVIES. View some good movies on Our Lady. There are many! A classic that recounts in a marvelous fashion Our Lady of Lourdes and her 18 appearances to St. Bernadette has the title: “The Song of Bernadette.”
15. FOLLOW UP… More recently, as a follow up to the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes and her appearances to Bernadette, would be the life of Bernadette after she entered the convent to become a Religious Sister in Nevers. The title of this movie is “The Passion of Bernadette.” The “Passion” is rightly titled because once Bernadette entered the convent of Sisters, the rest of her life was basically one of suffering—therefore, “The Passion of Bernadette.
16. SHORT PRAYERS TO HONOR MARY DURING THE DAY. During the course of the day shoot fiery arrows, short prayers of love for Mary, through the skies so as to enkindle your love for Mary. We must constantly fan the flames of our love; otherwise, love extinguishes. An example: “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
17. ANOTHER SHORT PRAYER: “Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation.“
18. ENTHRONE THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY, WITH THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS. A devotion very pleasing to both Jesus and Mary is that of the double enthronement: the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and alongside, the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Many graces will flow from honoring publicly in your homes these two Hearts which are clear symbols of their love for us.
19. SCAPULAR. Have yourself enrolled in the brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel—many graces flow from this formal and official enrollment. Once enrolled, you are enrolled for life and receive many blessings from the Carmelite Order.
20. KISS THE SCAPULAR. Interesting note: the kissing of the Scapular with devotion results in receiving a partial indulgence that can be applied to the souls in Purgatory. The kiss is a concrete sign of our love for Our Heavenly Mother.
21. GARMENT OF GRACE. Purchase and read the small booklet “GARMENT OF GRACE.” As a brief, concise and clear explanation of the Scapular this little booklet is a gem! It explains the history of the Scapular, the miracles that have been attributed to it, and a brief catechism at the end of the booklet. Buy it! Read it! You will never regret it!
22. MIRACULOUS MEDAL. Wear this as a sign of your devotion to Mary. Saint Maximilian Kolbe had great devotion to Our Lady under the title of the Immaculata! He formed the Militia of the Immaculata to fight against the pernicious diffusion of the Masons one hundred years ago. He said of the Miraculous Medal: “This is truly our heavenly weapon, a bullet with which a faithful soldier hits the enemy, i.e. evil, and thus rescues souls.”
23. GIVE OUT THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. Once again, Kolbe would carry these medals and give them out as his spiritual bullets. Study the symbolism and upon giving the Medal as a gift take advantage of the opportunity to give a good catechesis on Marian devotion.
24. MARIA COGITA, MARIA INVOCA. This is a classical emblem for the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a Congregation dedicated to spreading devotion to Mary. (I actually belong to this Congregation!) The Latin phrase translated means: “Think of Mary, Invoke Mary”. Why not spend a day in May striving to think about Mary during the course of the day and invoke her frequently. This day will result in many graces!
25. FIRST SATURDAY OF MAY. Look up and carry out the requests of Our Lady of Fatima to the world and once again many blessings will be showered upon you!
26. FIRST SATURDAY REQUESTS OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA as listed:
1) Sacramental Confession; 2) Mass and Holy Communion of Reparation; 3) Reparation for the sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary; 4) Pray the Rosary; 5) Meditate upon the mysteries of the most Holy Rosary.
27. COMMUNION OF REPARATION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY. FIVE SPECIFIC AREAS OF REPARATION TOWARD MARY’S HEART:
1) Sins against the Immaculate Conception.
2) Sins against her Perpetual Virginity.
3) Sins against her Divine Maternity.
4) Sins of those who have profaned and desecrated her images.
5) Sins of those scandalizing children.
28. MARIAN LITURGICAL FEASTS FOR MAY. Honor Mary in the month of May by attending Mass in her honor for the two Marian Feast-days in May. May 13th—the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima; May 31st—the Visitation of Mary to St Elizabeth.
29. HOLY COMMUNION. Receive Holy Communion through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. If done with love, the effects of your Holy Communions will be much more efficacious. A short prayer before receiving Holy Communion: “Jesus, come to me through the Heart of Mary.”
30. HOLY ROSARY. Of course the month of May would be incomplete if we did not mention the importance of praying the most Holy Rosary. Our Lady of Fatima said six times: PRAY THE ROSARY!!! In the words of the Rosary priest, Father Patrick Peyton: “The family that prays together stays together” and “A world at prayer is a world at peace”.
31. SPEAK TO OTHERS ABOUT YOUR LOVE FOR MARY. If we truly love a person then we cannot help talking about that person with great enthusiasm. This should apply to Jesus, Mary, and Saint Joseph. Proclaim the greatness of Mary and you will glorify the Lord.
The Words of Mary in the Magnificat say it all, Mary said: “My soul does magnify the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior”. Friends in Jesus and Mary, let us all honor Mary in a special way in the month of May. Following in the footsteps of Saint John Bosco, let us try to do some concrete gesture, prayer, sacrifice, homage to Mary every day of May. In return, she will attain for you the choicest graces in this life and in eternal life in our life to come!