Mary’s Month!

Luke 1:38
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

May is Mary’s month.  It is a month, like Mary, which is not so much necessary (as if God is under the iron rule of some grim law of economics or physics) as radically unnecessary, gratuitous, and lavish.  People often ask why Mary is “necessary” to Catholic piety.  But this is like asking whether flowers or galaxies or beautiful weather are “necessary.”  It’s a fundamentally tone deaf way of hearing God.  None of creation was “necessary” to God.  It exists because God just thought it was a good idea and loved it into being.  But having loved it into being, He chose also to redeem it after it was afflicted by sin, not in any old way, but in a very particular way, by taking our humanity up into His divine life.  And to do this, He chose Mary — again not because He needed her, but because He loved her gratuitously.  We, who have been loved with the same gratuitous, inexplicable, lavish love, have little reason to cavil at this.  God has loves far more than reasons.  But the fact that He does so does not mean that we can’t and shouldn’t be grateful for His gratuitous love.  And it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be grateful to Mary too.  She had a lot of guts — a lot more than we have — to freely say, “Let it be to me according to your word.”  So honor her this month.  If we can honor the soldiers who laid down everything for the love of country on Memorial Day at the end of the month, surely we can honor the young girl who laid down her will and her dear Son for the love of God and the whole world.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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    In my parish, we  have a May procession the first Sunday of May, and before each weekend Mass this month, a man from the Knights of Columbus leads the congregation in a Marian devotion (a decade of the rosary, a litany, the Hail Holy Queen, The Memorare, etc.)

    It reminds us all that it is Mary's month and also teaches many of the under-educated faithful some of these beautiful prayers. Plus, seeing a young, virile, devout man in the leading role reminds us all that this is not some little old lady thing, either!

    (no offense intended to the wonderful little old ladies out there!)


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