Tuesday, May 24, 2016

May the month of Mary

WE may still be reeling from the heat of summer, but the month of May somehow regales us with its distinctively Marian character. Like a flower in full bloom, this Marian month exhibits a very special color and air of exuberance as it lives out the Marian devotion in many places.

Just the other day, for example, I already saw little boys and girls, accompanied by their mothers or some elders, troop to their parish church with flowers in hand. Obviously, they are doing the “Flores de Mayo” devotion.

In many parts of the country, there will be the extravaganza of the Santa Cruzan that commemorates the finding of the Holy Cross by Sta. Elena. Of course, she has to be escorted by her little son who became emperor, Constantine.

Fiestas galore will also take place all over the country. In Bohol, for example, it’s legendary that the island province is said to sink a little during this month, as many of her children from different places here and abroad, and some say, even from heaven, come home to celebrate the feast of their town’s patron.

There’s indeed a great reason to be happy and thankful. What we have in May is not just a natural phenomenon, but rather a divine gift that has managed to sit well with our temperament and the way we are.

We just hope and pray that as these festive annual celebrations occur, the devotion to our Lady also deepens. Let’s hope that this affection to Mary becomes purified, becomes more theological than emotional, more operative than just nice words and good intentions.

I believe that with what is happening in our country and everywhere else in the world today, we need to identify ourselves more with our Lady, for she is the surest, safest, quickest and shortest road to Jesus.

Yes, we have to understand that rather than becoming obsolete, she in fact is becoming more urgently relevant. We just have to look around, and we cannot deny that signs are aplenty that many people, especially the young ones, and girls at that, are plunging into a new paganism disguised as expressions of freedom.

I, for one, got a bit shocked when even in the social networks, postings were made of pictures showing risqué situations. And I thought I have filtered my network friends quite well.

The other day, for example, a young couple, still in their teens, and using their own cellphone camera, posted a picture of themselves in bed—ok, still covered and hopefully made just for fun—but that picture already tells a lot about what can be inside young people’s minds these days.

And all the comments from their friends simply expressed mirth and fun. No one even went as much as to hint that such pose was not proper at all. It crossed my mind that I must have drifted to another planet or that some creatures have mutated radically as to be beyond recognition. I don’t think this is just a case of generation gap. There are things that have to be upheld no matter what generation we belong.

We need to go back to Marian devotion. Devotion to our Lady will recover and strengthen our commitment with our Christian faith, with our calling to follow what Christ has told us about how we ought to live and behave.

Mary is the epitome of how we ought to be toward God and toward one another. She is God’s most perfect creature. Higher than her, a saint once said, there’s no one else except God himself.

She teaches us, first of all, how to be humble, a very fundamental virtue without which many other virtues would fail to sprout and grow. In the beautiful prayer of the Magnificat, it is precisely said that it was because of her lowliness that all generations will call her blessed.

It was her humility that attracted God to her, making her nothing less than to be the mother of the Son of God, thereby making her, though only human and without contributing at all to the divinity of Christ, the Mother of God herself, since precisely the son who was born of her was/is the Son of God.

We need to know more about our Lady and to deal with her more frequently, if not, abidingly. We can say the rosary everyday, or go on pilgrimages to Marian shrines from time to time, or pray the Angelus at noon time, or cultivate the habit of looking with piety at images of our Lady, accompanying it with ardent words of affection.

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