The month of May is the perfect time to celebrate our devotion to Mother Mary. During May, in line with Mother’s Day, we commemorate the Blessed Virgin Mary’s extraordinary role as a mother to both Jesus Christ and the whole Catholic Church.
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” -Luke 1:26-34
Why is Mary Important in the Catholic Faith?
Mary is a central figure in the Catholic Faith and her life illustrates how our Almighty Father works in our lives. Mary came from a simple background and yet she was called by God to fulfill a very extraordinary role; that of becoming the mother of Jesus Christ.
This role was no easy feat. During Mary’s time, women did not have equal standing as men in society. Second, when Jesus was born, King Herod ordered infants everywhere to be slaughtered so Mary had to flee to Egypt to escape the massacre and save her child.
Despite the hardships she had to go through, Mary became an instrument of faith and stayed committed in her role of bringing to life God’s promised son.
In our Catholic Faith, we are taught the three core values of Mary. These were embodied by the Holy Mother in the way she lived her life. As her children, we, too, should aspire to embrace these values in our own lives and in the way we treat others.
1. The Value of Humility
Humility is one of the most fundamental values we should have as Christians. We can only receive Christ when we are humble and meek. Mary teaches us that pride and selfishness is something that we must avoid. She had an extraordinary role as the Mother of God and yet she remained humble in her ways and continued to serve the Lord with devotion.
We live in a world that is self-obsessed and this makes us be self-centered in our decisions. We do things that make us happy even if it hurts others.
Being humble is not always easy. The Marian value of humility teaches us to put others first. When we are humble, we let go of our selfish, human ways and become in tune with the ways and will of God.
2. The Value of Simplicity
Mary lived her life in the simplest way. Despite having found favor in the Lord, she accepted what was given to her with grace and humility. Our world puts a premium on material wealth. We become blinded by material pursuits, the latest gadgets, fancy cars and expensive vacations. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying these gifts per se, it is important to remember that being obsessed with these things can distract us from God. It makes us believe that true happiness can be found in the physical world rather than in the spiritual.
Being simple encourages us to trust more in God and to use His divine standards as our yardstick for life rather than our own shallow and superficial standards.
By living simply, we realize that there is more to life than pursuing meaningless ambitions.
We are reminded that this world is not our permanent abode and that eternity is waiting for us at the end of our earthly journey.
Finally, when we live simply, we become closer to the people who are needy because we understand their plight. We learn to have God’s heart for those people in need.
3. The Value of Charity
Charity is at the heart of everything that Mary did. Being a mother involves being charitable and deeply generous in one’s actions. It is an act of sacrifice. In our Catholic Religion, “love” and “charity” are often frequently interchanged and with good reason since the value of charity is a kind of love. Charity is a theological virtue that lets us love God above all things.
Practicing all other Catholic virtues is animated and inspired by charity and it is the value that binds everything together in perfect harmony.
By being charitable, we exhibit other fruits of the spirit like joy, peace and mercy. We receive more when we give. It is an act of sacrifice that nourishes our soul.
How do we celebrate our love for Mother Mary?
In our Catholic Faith, devotion to the Blessed Virgin is called the Marian Devotion. We practice several traditions and events during the month of May to express the love we have for our Holy Mother. This is a wonderful time to give thanks to Mary for the grace and bounty that we received after Lent.
We offer beautiful garlands and vibrant flowers as a way to praise Mary as the Queen of Heavens and the Earth. We also respect and honor her through religiously praying the rosary.
In the Philippines for example, there is the popular “Flores de Mayo” which is celebrated every third week of May. During this festive event, towns across the Philippines parade the image of the Blessed Virgin adorned by fresh and beautiful flowers. For many Catholic devotees, this is an opportune time to offer their intentions and prayers and they do this during the parade.
Mary is a beautiful example of how God can transform us from ordinary people to extraordinary ones. Aside from being an important symbol in the Catholic Faith, Mary is a significant influence in our personal journey as Catholics.
How has Mary touched your life? How do you express your love and devotion to our Holy Mother?