Let’s all be Marian
May 8, 2014
WE have to count our
blessings! In spite of how the world today is plunging headlong toward
secularism and worldliness where God has hardly any place or is
treated more as an ornament than for what he truly is, we still have
certain practices that lend themselves easily to deep popular piety.
One of them is the “Flores
de Mayo.” In practically all the parishes of the country in the month
of May, little girls, with a generous sprinkling of little boys too,
usually donning white dresses with angel wings and halos as props, go
to their respective chapels and parish churches to offer flowers to
our Lady, Mother of God and our Mother as well.
It’s a very beautiful and
moving sight to see these children making their baby steps in
developing a Marian devotion, and on the side learning how to pray and
continuing their study of the catechism of the doctrine of our faith.
I have often wondered why
this practice has survived up to now, considering that the world, if
not occupied with very absorbing worldly affairs, is beset with all
sorts of problems, some of them crying to heaven for immediate relief,
and theoretically should weaken people’s devotion and piety.
I have no other explanation
than that it’s a working of the Holy Spirit who makes use of a local
custom already deeply rooted in our culture. There’s also what I call
a certain Filipino temperament that seems to be quite receptive to
truths of faith and practices of piety.
I know that there are people
who consider these traits of ours more of a weakness than a strength.
Still the fact is hardly anyone is complaining, at least loudly. How
can the little children, with their parents and elders, be faulted if
they want to have such devotion to our Mother Mary?
This heart-warming custom
should remind us that we too, all of us, in fact, should try our best
to develop a deep Marian devotion, making use of this Marian month of
May to make a few more steps in that direction.
Mary is indispensable in our
life. She is not just a kind of decoration in our life of faith and
piety. She is no mere incidental or optional character in our
spiritual life. She is integral to our faith, and therefore, somehow
And this is mainly because
Christ himself, on the cross just moments before his death, gave his
mother to the disciple John – “Woman, behold your son...Behold your
mother” – a gesture that the Church interprets as Christ giving his
mother actually to all of us also.
We can somehow understand
why Christ did so. Being the epitome and the very pattern of our
humanity, his mother must also be our mother. That’s because what is
his is also ours, even as what is ours, including our sinfulness, he
made also as his own, a divinely-initiated exchange generated by pure
love. And this principle applies well to our relation with Mary.
Besides, Mary has all the
qualities of a mother to the max. She was and is always caring,
understanding, ever willing to defend the children before the justice
of the father. As a woman and a human person, she embodies all the
virtues proper to us.
All of this wrapped up in a
motherly fashion that is alien to showiness and self-seeking. She
knows how to pass unnoticed even if she also knows how close she is to
God, how effective and powerful her appeals are before God. When Mary
speaks, God listens. When Mary asks, God grants.
This was how the saints have
looked at Mary. Thus, in their most intense trials, they managed to
remain calm, because they knew Our Lady was with them, reassuring them
that everything, including their sufferings, was worthwhile.
In this age of rapid
developments, we should make an effort also to deepen our devotion to
our Lady, our Mother. She will do nothing to hinder us in our
legitimate pursuit for progress.
But she will make sure that
we remain childlike before God and before her, full of faith and
trust, able to keep our spiritual and supernatural outlook in spite of
the worldly things we are immersed in.
This is important if we do
not want to get astray in our worldly affairs. And since we are not
little kids anymore, somehow disqualified to do “Flores de Mayo,” we
can always do many other things to mature in our Marian devotion.
We can pray the rosary, the
Angelus or Regina Coeli, do a pilgrimage, etc.