By Fr. Roy Cimagala
MAY is closely associated with our Lady, the
Blessed Virgin Mary. Tradition, now so complicated to
trace, has forged it that way. And we are happy about
There's the Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo as
beautiful expressions of such tradition. And there
are also the numerous fiestas celebrated precisely in
the merry month of May that somehow bring the figure
of Our Lady to the fore.
We have good reason to feel quite blessed with
this tradition. While many countries appear to be
languishing under different forms of paganism and
worldliness, our Marian tradition has kept us,
inspite of obvious defects, a believing and pious
To maintain the impulse and momentum of this
tradition, however, it is important that the devotion
to our Lady is ever nourished with relevant doctrine
As much as possible, we should not allow our
Marian devotion to remain idle and passive. Such
state of affairs could easily turn that devotion into
mere sentimentalism, quite empty inspite of its
pageantry, quite sterile and useless inspite of the
flashes of ardor and fervency.
The truth is Mary occupies a very important part
in our lives, both personal and collective. She is
the mother of Christ, and for that reason and under a
specific sense, she is called also the mother of God.
With Christ, only breaths away from his death,
entrusting her to the disciple John and vice-versa
with the words, "Woman, behold your son,"
and "Behold your mother," she is
effectively made mother of each one of us and each of
us is also called to take care of her.
This is the mind of Christ. That's why the Church
can only preach it and encourage everyone to develop
a deep Marian devotion. It is quite true that no one
can be quite Christian if he is not quite Marian.
The two always go together. The Catechism
underlines this truth when it says that "what
the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on
what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches
about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ."
Any attempt to separate the two, for fear of
confusion and the possibility of an exaggerated and
erroneous sense of devotion, should be overcome.
Certainly, the valid concern for such fears should be
properly resolved, but it does not justify making
As taught by the Church and professed by many
saints and holy men and women down the ages, Mary can
only lead us to Christ, and Christ wants us to go to
Our Lady will make sure that our belief in and
love for Christ does not get entangled with the
trappings of formalism and appearances. She will see
to it that we hit the real thing, the very substance
of our faith, hope and charity.
Pope Paul VI had it in bull's eye when he said
once: "Knowledge of the true Catholic doctrine
regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary will always be a
key to the exact understanding of the mystery of
Christ and of the Church."
Let's listen to a holy man, Blessed Josemaria
Escriva, speak about this point:
"'In me is to be found every grace of
doctrine and of truth, every hope of life and of
virtue.' (Ecclus 24,25). How wise the Church is to
put these words on our Mother's lips so that we
Christians do not forget them. She is our safety, the
love that never fails, the refuge ever open to us,
the hand ever ready to caress and console.
"One of the Fathers of the early Church said
that we should try to keep in our minds and in our
memories a clear summary of the life of the Mother of
God...We should often meditate, in the calm and quiet
of our prayer, on all we have heard about our Mother.
The reward will be that the story of her life will
become engraved on our souls; we will find ourselves
going to her without hesitation, especially when we
have no one else to turn to." (Friends of God,
The man and woman of today, buffeted with all
sorts of pressures and temptations around, should
find solace in this truth.