For the month of May, Catholics worldwide are asked to pray with Pope Francis. He asked the faithful to add two extra prayers at the end of each rosary. The coronavirus crisis continues to affect all aspects of society around the world. Catholics are discouraged that lockdowns have been repeatedly extended and many churches remain closed.
As the faithful are barred from physically attending Mass and receiving Holy Eucharist, many have instead dedicated themselves to devotions such as the daily Rosary prayers.
Why Turn to Mary this May?
The month of May was named for Mary. The month of warm breezes and fragrant blooms has always been associated with Our Lady. This month reminds us of how Our Mother is our consolation after the frost and the dormancy of winter. Liturgically, we are well into the Easter season, however, our hearts are still experiencing the bite of the COVID pandemic and the resulting economic stagnation.
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Warm breezes blow, yet, homebound, we are not allowed outside to enjoy them. Fragrant flowers bloom, yet, masked, we are prevented from smelling them.
People worldwide have missed numerous celebrations as COVID has ravaged countries during the prime celebration time of May. Graduations have been canceled. Weddings have been postponed. Baptisms and Confirmations have been delayed. And the many of our beloved dead have had minimalistic funerals.
The Holy Rosary is the main consolation and primary spiritual weapon available to us during these times of uncertainty and sorrow.
The First of Two Rosary Prayers: Oh, Mary, you shine continuously on our journey…
In the first PRAYER, the Pope addresses Mary as “a sign of salvation and hope.”
Mary was the first person to consecrate herself to God. Think of the Annunciation: Mary was going about the business of her day when an angel appears and asks if she will agree to be the mother of God the Most High. The angel Gabriel offered no details as to how this would happen. He did not map out a revision of plans regarding her relationship with Joseph. Gabriel did not even give her a few days to think about it and get back to him with her decision.
Emulate Mary’s Fiat
Despite the enormous uncertainty, Mary immediately entrusted herself to God’s plan, responding, Fiat voluntas tua. “Thy will be done.” Pope Francis addresses Mary as “Mother of Divine Love”, asking her to help us “conform ourselves to the will of the Father” which always leads to greater peace and happiness.
Throughout Jesus’ ministry and passion, Mary retained to this motto. She understood that Christ freely offered Himself for the salvation of souls. And so, she remained with Him in His suffering. In this way, Our Lady gave great consolation to Our Suffering Lord. Yet also, by offering the sufferings of her own heart as her Divine Son submitted Himself to Death, Mary joined in Christ’s mission of salvation.
Join in Christ’s Mission of Salvation
Pope Francis refers to her as “Health of the Sick”, noting that she stood at the foot of the cross and persevered in faith.
We too can stand with Mary at the foot of the cross and offer our sufferings in exchange for saving graces.
- We offer our sickness and our efforts in caring for the sick.
- We offer our confinement to our homes and our separation from our families and friends.
- We offer the sorrow of not having the Sacraments of the Church.
Remember that the Angel Gabriel called Mary Full of Grace. Though human, she was infused with the grace of the Holy Spirit and lived perfectly in accordance with God’s will.
- Mary gave a steadfast gaze of consolation as Jesus suffered.
- Mary confined herself to the Upper Room with the Apostles while waiting upon the Descent the Holy Spirit.
- Mary maintained faith and trust even during Christ’s stark absence before the Resurrection.
In fact, Mary is honored on Holy Saturday as being the sole member of the Holy Church before Jesus’ Easter appearance provided evidence of his divinity which thus provoked faith. In 1945, Pope Pius XII established the feast of the Queenship of Mary on May 31st. Let us enthrone her as queen of our homes and our hearts during this trying time.
Pope Francis implores the people to trust that the Blessed Mother will provide, “So that, as at Cana in Galilee, joy and celebration may return after this time of trial.”
The Second of Two Rosary Prayers: We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God…
In the second prayer, Pope Francis describes the state of the world as “prey to suffering and anxiety”. Normally, the faithful would flee directly to Jesus in the Eucharist for graces, encouragement, and consolation. However, bishops around the world have closed their church doors and prohibited the faithful from receiving the Most Blessed Sacrament. Therefore, we are confined to making spiritual communions, and must rely chiefly upon the graces procured through reciting Our Lady’s Rosary.
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Many who have had to bury loved ones in recent weeks have been grieved that their dearly departed have expired without Last Rites, without a funeral Mass, and without a family gathering exceeding the confining limit of 10 persons. Pope Francis refers to this dire situation, asking the Virgin Mary to “Comfort those who are distraught and mourn their loved ones who have died, and at times are buried in a way that grieves them deeply.”
Pray with Pope to Support our Leaders
Pope Francis acknowledges the prevalent uncertainty, economic worries, and feelings of utter helplessness as people endure their political leaders’ policies. In this second prayer, the Pope asks Mother Mary to “Support national leaders, that with wisdom, solicitude and generosity they may come to the aid of those lacking the basic necessities of life and may devise social and economic solutions inspired by farsightedness and solidarity.”
Only God Everlasting can foresee how this tragic pandemic will wound our Church and countries. The COVID virus and our response to it will have severe physical, spiritual, and economic repercussions. Thus, all are invited to pray with Pope Francis for the healing of the world.
We now beseech Mary’s Immaculate Heart, intimately united with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to intercede for us.
Blessed Mother Mary, we offer you our rosary prayers this May. “Make us strong in faith, persevering in service, constant in prayer.”