10 Mary’s May - Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ

posted May 23, 2018, 10:17 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 23, 2018, 10:17 AM ]
The month of May has always been a special month dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus, the mother of God. As children, we looked forward to the 'May Devotions'; during our vacations, a never-failing ritual was the daily recitation of the Rosary and the prayers at the little grotto of Our Lady that was in a prime place in the courtyard of my grandparents in Mangalore. Today, one can only reminisce about such devotions; it is certainly not easy to explain to a world which is caught up in crass materialism, of how these simple ordinary devotions deepened our spirituality and helped form us.

The big surprise, however, is that there is still so much happening all over in this month of May, all centred on Mary. As one looks back at the month of May, one cannot help but acknowledge that Mary's role in the life of the Church and the world will never ever diminish.

Mary, Queen of the Apostles:

On the Feast of Pentecost, we need to appreciate Mary's unique role in the lives of the Apostles and the disciples. For fifty days after the suffering, death, and Resurrection of her beloved Son, she accompanied the followers of Jesus in a way only she could. She was endowed with God's spirit from the moment she said an unconditional "yes" to His will. In the Cenacle, she continued to motivate, inspire and help them to become true witnesses. When they received the Holy Spirit, they courageously went out to the whole world to preach and live the 'good news.'

Mary, Queen of Flowers: The 'Flores de Mayo' is a special festival in the Philippines in the month of May in honour of Mary. The festival climaxes with the 'Santa Cruzan', a religious-historical pageant to celebrate the finding of the Holy Cross in the year 326, by Queen Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine. It was truly a moving experience to witness this pageant in our Jesuit church in Beirut recently. More than forty women (mostly Filipinas, but also some Sri Lankans and Africans) came beautifully dressed (tiara and all) as 'Reinas' (Queens). Each one of them represented various women of the faith from the Old and the New Testaments. The various titles and attributes given to Mary (like Queen of Peace, Queen of Justice) were also represented. In essence, it was a truly Marian devotion.

Mary, Our Lady of Lebanon: