May is the Month of Mary
May is the Month of Mary
May is the month dedicated to the Blessed Mother
when Catholics all over the world pay homage to Mother Mary
both in church and at home.
This practice began at the end of the 13th century.
The church did this partly to take attention
from the olde traditions still practiced by many at that time.
By the 1700s many students of the Jesuit Order
made this 'devotion to Mary' popular and
they brought it to Rome where it spread to the rest of the Church.
Devotion to Mary
The Blessed Mother is considered
the Mother of the Church and
is revered as a model, guide and inspiration
to those who attempt to be a servant of God,
man and the Holy Spirit.
Mary and Our Spiritual Life
There are many practices that can be offered
to honour the Blessed Mother during this month
set aside for her. They include: The Regina Coeli,
The "Akathistos" Hymn, The Rosary,
Litanies of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Metals, Consecration and Entrustment to Mary,
the Brown Scapular and other Scapulars.
In the eighteenth century the month of May
was chosen as the celebration of
the flowering of Mary's female spirituality.
The nature symbolism from the Old Testament
was first applied to Mary by the Church Fathers.
Orginally in Isaiash's prophecy of the Virgin birth
of the Messiah under the Blossoming Rod
or Root of Jesse, the flower symbolism of Mary
was lengthened by the Church and
in the Liturgy by attributing her
the flower figures of the Sapiential Books -
Canticles, Wisdom, Proverbs and Sirach (Ecclesiasticus).
This was primarily verbal and poetic
rather than commemorated in nature.
During medieval times,
the rose became the flower symbol of the Virgin Birth.
The strawberry became the symbol of Mary's.
Virgin Fruitfulness through its bearing of fruit
even while it was still flowering.
Mary Month - Why May?
May is regarded as the beginning season
of new life. In fact,
May first is considered the beginning of new growth.
In Roman culture May was dedicated to
Flora, the goddess of bloom, of blossoms.
The Romans celebrated ludi florales
(literally: floral games) at the end of April,
asking the intercession of Flora for all that blooms.
This was related to the medieval practice
of expelling winter. In Greek culture,
May was attributed to Artemis, goddess of fecundity.
Eventually the whole month of May
had devotions organized for every day for Mary.
A Mary-month was once independent from May.
The old tradition Tricesimum or
Thirty Day Devotion to Mary
was also called Lady Month.
It was held from August 15 to September 14.
Some still practice this.
This veneration was known since baroque times
and included 31 spiritual exercises to honour Mary.
Ways to Celebrate Mary's Month
Besides the traditional prayers
a whole parish honors Mary by the crowning of Our Lady's statue.
A statue of Mary is honored with a wreath of blossoms
to illustrate Mary's virtues.
These virtues are examples to be imitated by the faithful.
The ceremony usually takes place
in the context of a public parish devotion.
Individuals can set up a special Mary altar
in their home either in May or for the whole year.
Mary as Goddess
Mary is the female divinity.
When the olde traditions were replaced
by the Christian faith, Mary became the replacement
for the Goddess.
The new faith was supposed
to do away with anything that was unkind.
Therefore Mary became the new Goddess
who now represented purity and love.
As mother of the Master Jesus,
Mary is, in her own rite, also a Master.
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Updated July 27, 2011
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