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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 essential.

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.