Let’s start together dear, this month to live with an open heart towards our Heavenly Mother. It’s May, a wonder of light in the dark, a happy news!
Today is the month dedicated to Our Lady and very dear to popular piety. Many parishes and families, in the wake of well-established religious traditions, continue to make May a “Marian” month, multiplying fervent liturgical, catechetical and pastoral initiatives!
The devotion to Mary was one of the guiding and characteristic threads of the pontificate of John Paul II, who chose as the “motto” of his ministry the expression Montfortana Totus tuus. The Pope deeply desired that every believer can use Mary to get more quickly to Christ. In fact, as the ancient hymn recites, Mary is the star of the sea, she who in the navigation of faith helps us never to lose the compass, and to always turn towards Christ. Our Lady is a teacher of truth and a sign of true faith in her Son “.
John Paul II in the autobiographical book “Gift and Mystery” recounts: “There was a moment in which I questioned my cult for Mary, believing that it, excessively expanding, ended up compromising the supremacy of the cult due to Christ. Then the book of St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort came to my aid, bearing the title of Treaty of true devotion to the Blessed Virgin “. Thus it was that the Pope realized that not only “Mary leads us to Christ”, but “that Christ also leads us to his Mother” ( Gift and Mystery , pp. 37-38).
The most important Marian event of this century was undoubtedly the Second Vatican Council, because it gave rise to a Marian perspective that invests the doctrinal, liturgical, pastoral and devotional fields. The Council wanted to return Mary to the point of departure and to the very center of the mystery of salvation. The inclusion of Mary in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church can be considered a sign of the relationship of exemplarity that exists between Mary and the Church: the Virgin is the type and fulfillment of the Church. Moreover, the Virgin is Mother of the Church, since she is the Mother of Christ and of the whole People of God, both of the faithful and of the Pastors. Paul VI had the solemn proclamation of him at the conclusion of the third session of the Council, offering in this title a summary of the Mariology of the Council (see DC, 6.XII.64, with 1544).
Therefore, there are two keys to a renewed Marian devotion in line with the Council: the discovery of Mary in the contemplation of that woman who freely gave herself in faith to God’s plans and designs, and the discovery of the Mother who loved us in seeing his Son to give himself as a sacrifice for us. In these directions are inserted the Marian documents of the last Pontiffs and individually the Apostolic Exhortations Marialis Cultus of Paul VI (1974), Redemptoris Mater (1987) and Rosarium Virginis Mariae (2002) of John Paul II.
But the devotion to Mary in this month of May must not be limited to pure sentiment or mere emotions; must translate into prayer. May there be a month of intense prayer with Mary every day with the daily recitation of the Holy Rosary . It is a simple prayer, apparently repetitive, but very useful to penetrate into the mysteries of Christ and his and our Mother. It is, at the same time, a way of praying that the Church knows how to be pleasing to Our Lady herself. We are invited to appeal to it even in the most difficult moments of our pilgrimage on earth.
In this regard Pope John Paul II writes: “The Rosary, although characterized by its Marian physiognomy, is a prayer from the Christological heart. In the sobriety of its elements, it concentrates within itself the depth of the whole Gospel message , of which it is almost a compendium. It echoes the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation begun in her virginal womb. With it the Christian people put themselves at the school of Mary, to allow themselves to be introduced to the contemplation of the beauty of the face of Christ and to the experience of the profound depth of his love “. [ Rosarium Virginis Mariae]
How providential the pious tradition had been established in Christian families! After a day of intense work, gathered in the peaceful quiet of the home, parents and children gathered around an image of the Holy Virgin to pray the Holy Rosary. The old men raised their prayer at the height of their maturity, the children learned, by praying, to love the family, the first domestic church. And Mary’s blessing rained abundantly on everyone’s hearts. The Rosary in the family was one of the most solemn and precious acts of family life.
The Rosary was the means of raising the mind, reassuring the hearts, finding comfort in suffering, educating children and, above all, uniting the hearts of family members and turning them all to God. The Rosary was truly the family prayer par excellence.
Of course, today we have to ask ourselves if all the Christian families still appreciate or even if they know the prayer of the Rosary! Many, perhaps the majority, consider it a custom now outdated and this is certainly not a comfortable sign for the Christian life.
The invitation not to neglect the recitation of the Rosary especially in the month of May comes from afar. In 1951, Pope Pius XII wrote: “… it is above all within the family that we desire that the custom of the Holy Rosary is everywhere widespread, religiously guarded and increasingly developed. In vain, in fact, we will try to remedy the faltering fate of civil life, if domestic society, the principle and foundation of the human consortium, will not be brought back to the norms of the Gospel. To obtain such an arduous task, we affirm that the recitation and the holy Rosary in the family is a very effective means “ (Enc. Ingruentium malorum1951).
Also Pope Paul VI attributed an extraordinary importance to the Rosary recited in the family: “There is no doubt – he wrote – that the Crown of the Blessed Virgin Mary is to be considered one of the most excellent and effective ‘common prayers’ that the Christian family is invited to act. In fact, we love to think and warmly hope that, when the family gathering becomes a time of prayer, the Rosary is the most appreciated expression “ (Marialis Cultus 53).
With the recitation of the Holy Rosary, the Christian family, following the example of that of Nazareth, becomes a home of holiness and a very effective school of Christian life. The consideration of the mysteries of the Redemption, in fact, teaches adults to reflect daily in the examples of Jesus and Mary in the domestic life of Nazareth (joyful mysteries), to derive from their comfort in adversities (sorrowful mysteries) and to strive constantly towards the heavenly goods, always looking for “things up there” (glorious mysteries) . Furthermore, the Rosary brings the little ones to know the main truths of the faith, causing their love for the Redeemer to sprout in their souls, almost naturally.
Pope John Paul II, which many photos portray with the rosary in his hand, reminds us from heaven: “the Rosary has always been a prayer of the family and for the family . At one time this prayer was particularly dear to Christian families, and certainly favored communion. It is necessary not to disperse this precious heritage. We must go back to praying in the family and praying for the families, still using this form of prayer …. The family that prays together, remains united. The Holy Rosary, by ancient tradition, lends itself particularly to being a prayer in which the family finds itself. The individual members of it, just looking at Jesus, also recover the ability to always look into the eyes again, to communicate, to solidarity, to forgive each other, to share with a pact of love renewed by the Spirit of God. To this prayer is also beautiful and fruitful to entrust the journey of growth of children …. Praying with the Rosary for the children , and even more with the children , educating them from the tender years to this daily moment of “prayerful pause” of the family, is certainly not the solution to every problem, but it is a spiritual aid that should not be underestimated. .
Resume the rosary crown with confidence , rediscovering it in the light of Scripture, in harmony with the Liturgy, in the context of daily life.
“O Blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet chain that will bind us to God, bond of love that unites us to the Angels, tower of salvation in the assaults of hell, safe haven in the common shipwreck, we will never leave you again. You will comfort us in the hour of agony. To you the last kiss of life that goes out. And the last accent of our lips will be your sweet name, or Queen of the Rosary of Pompeii, or our dear Mother, or Refuge of sinners, or Sovereign consoler of the professions. Be everywhere blessed, today and always, on earth and in heaven “. (see Rosarium Virginis Mariae)