Since the 13th century, the Church has set aside May as a month to celebrate Mary, the Mother of God. Some say this tradition has Roman and Greek pagan roots, who celebrated their gods of fertility during this time of year. The new life of the springtime accompanied by the flowers remind us of Mary's purity. There have been hundreds, if not thousands of books written on Marian devotion, it is not the goal to recite any of them here today. However, to remind us of the importance of devotion to Mary, in this the month dedicated wholly to her, and hopefully to inspire us new ways to grow in a relationship with our Blessed Mother.
We can look to many Popes and Saints to see the importance of loving Our Lady. Pope Pius XII officially solidified May as Mary's month in 1945 when he named May 31st as the feast of the Queenship of Mary. The Queenship feast has been moved to August while May 31st celebrates the Visitation.
"God wills that all his gifts should come to us through Mary" -St. Bernard
Why is devotion to Mary so important? On the Cross, Jesus said to St. John and Mary "Woman, behold your son, son behold your mother". This moment is for us too, so we may embrace Mary as our mother, caretaker, intercessor. She is the Mother of the Church, and she desires each of us to come to her in time of need. Many ask-why can't we simply go to Jesus for our needs- we can! Mary is there to be a helper and mediator for us to the Lord. How can her prayers be refused by Jesus? He cannot refuse His mother! We can let our Holy Fathers speak on Mary, because they know a lot about her and speak so eloquently towards her. “Dear friends, what an immense joy to have Mary Immaculate as our Mother! Every time we experience our frailty and the promptings of evil, we may turn to her and our hearts receive light and comfort. Even in the trials of life, in the storms that cause faith and hope to vacillate, let us recall that we are her children and that our existence is deeply rooted in the infinite grace of God. Although the Church is exposed to the negative influences of the world, she always finds in Mary the star to guide her so that she may follow the route pointed out to her by Christ.” – Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus, December 8, 2009
“Devotion to Mary is not spiritual etiquette; it is a requirement of the Christian life. Looking to the Mother, we are asked to leave behind all sorts of useless baggage and to rediscover what really matters.” Pope Francis on the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God 2018
How Can We Grow our Relationship with Our Lady?
Regina Caeli/Angelus Both of these prayers are specific to Mary's life. Typically they are prayed at 6:00 am, 12:00pm, & 6:00pm. The Regina Caeli is specific to the Easter season, while the Angelus is prayed the rest of the year. The Holy Rosary “To pray the Rosary is to hand over our burdens to the merciful hearts of Christ and His mother.” Saint John Paul the Great Litanies of Mary The Litany of Loreto is specifically a catch-all Marian devotion. Consecration Many Popes and Saints have highly regarded entrusting ourselves to Mary via consecration. From St. Maximillian Kolbe's Militia Immaculata, to St. Louis de Monfort- there are may examples of consecrations to Mary. Miraculous Medals Miraculous medals are a sign of devotion and trust in the maternal protection of Mary.