The custom of dedicating the month of May to the intercession of the Virgin Mary dates back to the end of the 16th century in Rome. St. Philip Neri (1515-1595) is at the origin of this practice. At the time, he asked the children gathered around the altar of the Blessed Virgin to offer spring flowers as symbols of the Christian virtues that would also blossom in their lives. “The month of Mary has been, from the beginning, not only a beautiful act of piety towards the Virgin Mary, but also a commitment to sanctify oneself day after day,” says Father Renaud Saliba, rector of the Pontmain shrine. This practice, which spread with the Jesuits, was approved by Pope Pius VII in 1815, thus encouraging its widespread diffusion throughout the Church.
If the month of May coincides each year with the Easter season, this month of Mary does not overshadow it, quite the contrary. It is rather a moment that contributes to better living this Easter season by taking up the three great stages: the Resurrection, the Ascension and Pentecost. “It is an opportunity to practice the virtues that manifest the new life in the strength of the Spirit,” concludes Father Saliba.
It is the month of Mary, the most beautiful month of all.
To our beloved Mother, let us sing a new song.
But “What loves do we still treasure?” What about our love for Mary
and our way of expressing it today?
The following is a poem offered for our reflection. It is called Bellezza (The Beautiful One)
God is intriguing and God’s works are beyond our imagination.
God bent down and fixed his gaze on a particular woman.
God found beauty in her heart and loved her.
God looked at this woman –
this humble, poor, vulnerable member of the human race.
God looked in wonder at her and found her beautiful.
God chose her so that, through her, God could offer his Son to the world.
And from that time on,
all generations have proclaimed her blessed.
God gazed on this woman whose name was Mary
and this woman believed despite the darkness
and the doubts that filled her mind.
And so, through her body, God Himself was born,
bringing with Him both salvation and peace.
Now her name is forever praised
because God chose her, Mary,
one of us, our sister and mother.
Hail Mary, full of grace!