May is Mary’s month, a time in the Church when we reflect on our relationship with the mother of Jesus.
Jesus wanted us to know that his mother was our mother. It is one of his last teachings, words he spoke from the cross: “Behold your mother.”
We need our Blessed Mother Mary to help us understand the beautiful mystery of our life in Christ.
Jesus took on our humanity in the womb of the Virgin Mary. We are able to call him the Son of Man because he is the Son of Mary.
As we try ourselves to live truly as sons and daughters of God, we need to understand that like Jesus, we are also children of Mary.
The 20th-century spiritual master, Blessed Columba Marmion, said, “We ought to imitate Jesus in all things. The Eternal Word chose Mary for his mother; in like manner we should choose her for our mother and have a childlike devotion to her.”
This is beautiful advice. All of us need to find ways to grow in our love for Mary.
Blessed Marmion used to consecrate himself to Mary every morning after receiving Communion. Knowing that Jesus was with him in the holy Eucharist, he would pray, “Behold your Son! O Virgin Mary, I am your child … accept me as your son as you have accepted Jesus.”
And like all the saints, Blessed Marmion had a deep devotion to the rosary.
The rosary is the prayer of the saints. Through this prayer we follow the example of Jesus, who taught us that unless we become as little children, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
During this month of May, let us try to rediscover the power of the rosary.
The goal of our life is to follow Jesus and become more like him. And when we pray the rosary, we are joining our Blessed Mother in turning our eyes with loving attention toward Jesus — to the mysteries of his life, the mysteries that reveal the meaning of our own lives.
Some people object that the rosary is repetitious. But that is part of its beauty and power.
When we observe the ways of nature — the song of a bird, the mighty waves of the ocean, the rising of the sun and its setting — we see that the order of God’s creation is all repetition. Patterns that repeat, day in and day out. Our own lives depend on the repetition of our hearts beating, our breathing in and out.
When we pray the rosary we are not just repeating empty words with our lips. The rosary is a prayer of the heart, a contemplative prayer.
For me the rosary is like the “Jesus Prayer” that so many Christians pray — repeating words from the Gospel, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
The rosary, too, is a scriptural prayer. In the Hail Mary we are repeating the words of an angel — words that brought about the Incarnation, words that invite us to join our lives to the mystery of God’s plan of salvation.
As we pray with our lips, our minds and hearts enter into a rhythm that allows us to meditate on the mysteries of Christ’s life, as seen through the eyes of his mother.
The scenes that pass before us in the joyful, sorrowful, luminous, and glorious mysteries — are all scenes that Mary saw with her own eyes.
In the rosary, we are learning how to look at Jesus the way Mary looked at him — with wonder, with love. The Gospels tell us that Mary “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”
The rosary is a prayer of remembering, in which we keep the memory of Jesus’ words and his example present and alive, pondering these mysteries until they come to fill and shape our own heart.
Through his joyful mysteries, we learn his humility. Through his luminous mysteries, we share his zeal to bring God’s light to the world. Through his sorrowful mysteries, we learn that love requires sacrifice. Through his glorious mysteries, our confident hope for heaven grows.
Each decade of the rosary begins with the prayer that Jesus taught us, the prayer of God’s children. And this prayer opens our hearts to our Father’s plan, his loving will for our lives.
At the heart of the rosary are Mary’s words from the wedding feast at Cana, the second luminous mystery — “Do whatever he tells you.” We find this same spirit at the heart of the Our Father — “Thy will be done.”
Pray for me this week and I will pray for you.
And let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary in this beautiful month of May to help us grow in our love for her and in our desire to live as children of God.