The month of May is traditionally dedicated to our blessed Mother.
I love the words of some of our timeless hymns to Our Lady:
“O Mary we crown thee with blessings today
Queen of the Angels
And Queen of the May.”
The words of these hymns, the titles with which we address Our Blessed Mother, are heart-rending and inspire us to so much love and devotion:
“On this day, I beautiful Mother
On this day we give thee our love.
Near thee Madonna, fondly we hover,
Trusting thy gentle care to prove.”
“…Our full hearts are swelling..
“Queen of angels, deign to hear,
Lisping children’s humble pray’r….
“Rose of Sharon, lovely flow’r,.... Cherished lily of the vale… Tower of strength in that dread hour…”
We express our trust:
“ Daily, daily, sing to Mary
Sing my soul, her praises due…….
Call her Mother, call her Virgin,
Happy Mother, Virgin blest”
” Jesus will give if thou wilt plead…”
We ask for her help:
“O teach me Holy Mary,…”; “Get me the grace to love thee more…”
“Bless dearest Lady, the land of our birth..”
” O Mother of Sorrows, hail!
We mourn for our evil done
O soften our selfish hearts
And lead us back to thy Son.”
“Queen of the world and Queen of Peace,
Help us in sorrow and pain
By penance and prayer
For sin to atone…”
Our Lady is a powerful Intercessor:
“For this is the month during which Christians, in their churches and their homes, offer the Virgin Mother more fervent and loving acts of homage and veneration; and it is the month in which a greater abundance of God’s merciful gifts comes down to us from our Mother’s throne”
– Pope Paul VI, Mense Maio, Encyclical on Prayers During May for Preservation of Peace.
Georgette Bechara on May 1, 2020, in an article wrote:
“Just as though perpetual darkness would engulf the earth if the sun ceased to rise, so too would desolation overshadow the world if no one implored Our Lady’s aid in times of need.
She is our powerful mother, queen, protectress, hope, refuge and the Mediatrix of All Graces.
She is the “woman clothed in the sun, with the moon under her feet” (Revelation 12:1), who by giving birth to Christ, the Source of Life, has also given humanity the gift of new life.
In the words of St Bernard of Clairvaux, “Take away the sun, and where will be the day? Take away Mary, and what will be left but the darkest night?”
“Remember that in this world you are tossed about on a stormy sea; you are not walking on solid ground. Remember that if you don’t want to be lost at sea, you must keep your eyes fixed on this bright star and call on Mary.” …
“To obtain the efficacious favor of Our Lady so that she is moved to pray for us and receive us under her mantle, we must also seek to imitate her example by practicing the virtues that she perfectly and heroically practiced in her own life.
These virtues include humility, charity towards God and our neighbor, faith, hope, chastity, poverty, obedience, patience and a spirit of prayer.”
We must run to our Mother:
At all times, we need our dear Mother. What would we do without her? Jesus gave her to us on the Cross. We must run to her and turn to her for all our needs. Jesus is sharing His Mother with us. “To Jesus, through Mary”
In this time of plague, we must turn to her to help us. We must increase our devotion to her. The Rosary, especially; the Regina Caeli (in lieu of the Angelus at this time); Litanies, Novenas.
The Miraculous image of Our Lady was used in times of Plague
The Shrine of Our Lady (Salus Populi Romani),is at Santa Maria Maggiore. The original basilica of the Blessed Virgin was built about A.D. 350. The location of the church was determined by the appearance of snow on the Esquiline Hill on a summer day.
This miraculous image of the Madonna with the Infant Jesus is traditionally said to have been painted by St. Luke – the same painter who painted the image of our Lady of Perpetual Succour.
In 597, Pope Gregory I carried the painting in solemn procession to St. Peter’s when Rome was being decimated by the Black Plague;
Pope Pius XII said his first Mass before Mary’s altar in this cathedral,
“The Greek initials ΜΡ ΘΥ on the two corners of the image indicate “Mother of God,” which was bestowed by the Council of Ephesus in 431.
The Salus Populi Romani, meaning the “Salvation of the Roman People,” is venerated for such crises that we face in the most recent days. …
In the year 590, a great plague took many lives of the Romans, including the bishop of Rome Pelagius II. Gregory the Great (Pope from 590-604), who was still a deacon, succeeded Pelagius II. In the midst of the battle with the epidemic, he organised a procession with the Salus Populi Romani image with groups of people. Historical accounts tell us that this was probably unusual at the time as the people of Rome believed in St Peter’s protection over the city. In the year 593, Pope Gregory again carried out a procession with this icon in the streets of Rome.”
The prayers were answered and the plague ceased.
“The image became important for the whole city of Rome at the height of World War II. Afraid that the war would reach the city, the Roman people begged the priests and the pope to take the image from its sanctuary to the Church of St. Ignatius in the middle of Rome. When the Allies liberated the city on June 4, 1944, Pope Pius XII declared the Mother of Divine Love as Rome’s savior. “https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2020/03/22/our-lady-coronavirus
Since then, other popes have taken this image in procession against other mass illnesses like cholera.
There is a special Rosary with a prayer before each decade which was especially designed for this time:
This is the normal Rosary, but before each decade a special prayer is said, which has been designed for this time, we are going through:
Before the 1st decade: Prayer for the Suffering and Dying
Before the 2nd decade: Prayer for the Workers
Before the 3rd decade: Prayer for Gratitude
Before the 4th decade: Prayer for Understanding
Before the 5th decade: Prayer for Courage
Some inspiring images of Our Lady to meditate upon:
Our Lady Help of Christians
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour
Our Lady of Pompeii
“O Mary conceived without sin,
pray for us who have recourse to thee,’
and for those who do not have recourse to thee,
especially the enemies of Holy Church.