Newsletter – 3rd Week Of Eastertide
May is traditionally dedicated in a special way to honouring and seeking the intercession of Mary as the Mother of God and Mother of the Church.
“She is that woman who rejoiced in the presence of God, who treasured everything in her heart, and who let herself be pierced by the sword. Mary is the saint among the saints, blessed above all others. She teaches us the way of holiness and she walks ever at our side. She does not let us remain fallen and at times she takes us into her arms without judging us.” —Pope Francis, Gaudete et Exsultate, no. 176.
As the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary has a unique position among the saints, indeed, among all creatures. She is exalted, yet still one of us. As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI reflected in Deus Caritas Est (Dec. 2005): “Outstanding among the saints is Mary, Mother of the Lord and mirror of all holiness. Mary’s greatness consists in the fact that she wants to magnify God, not herself. She is lowly: her only desire is to be the handmaid of the Lord (cf. Lk 1:38, 48).”
Mary, more than anyone, can show us Jesus, lead us to him and teach us to know and love him better, so that we too can become capable of true love and witness to that love in all the situations of our daily lives. When we think of Mary, we should think of her great humility and humanity, and recognise the power of her belief and faith in God. It is in her faith that she is blessed and holy and through such faith and humility, she became the perfect instrument of God’s will and was the obedient and willing servant of God.
1. Get to Know Mary: during this month – and beyond! – we can try to be a little more like Mary. If we love someone, we will want to try to get to know them better and follow in their ways. St Louis de Montfort created a list of 10 virtues which he felt Mary embodied and we can try each day to follow Mary in her: Deep Humility, Lively Faith, Blind Obedience, Unceasing Prayer, Constant Self-Denial, Surpassing Purity, Ardent Love, Heroic Patience, Angelic Kindness, and Heavenly Wisdom! These are not all easy virtues to do and certainly not all the time! But we can perhaps try especially hard during May to become better people, less focused on self and more focused on others and their needs.
2. Call on Mary for Strength: we can call on Mary to help us and ask God for strength and courage. St Francis de Sales called on Mary in his darkest hour and she answered his prayers and saved him from giving in to despair – something many of us may be feeling right now as we look ahead to the months ahead.
3. Read and Reflect: Read about Mary in the Gospels and in Pope Saint John Paul II’s letters as he asks us to see Jesus through the ‘eyes and heart of Mary’.
4. Pray the Rosary: In Fatima, in 1917, Mary appeared to three children and asked them to pray the Rosary to help save the world. We can pray the Rosary during this special month of Mary at home on our own, or maybe with our families or with a friend, as we pray for peace in our troubled world and ask our Lady’s special intentions for all who suffer.
Through looking up to Mary we can all learn from her example and as Mother of the Church, Mary can become our guide and inspiration. Many people aim to live by the example of Mary as they recognise how she can fill them with courage and strength. Mother Teresa was inspired by and devoted to our Lady, and she said:
“Mary, give me your heart: so beautiful, so pure so immaculate; your Heart so full of love and humility that I May be able to receive Jesus in the Bread of Life and love Him as you love Him and serve Him in the distressing guise of the poor.”
Looking ahead: I will be away from Sunday afternoon 8th May until the morning of Wednesday 11th May taking a little time to reflect and to pray. I will be staying with the community at Ampleforth Abbey. This will mean that there will be no Public Worship on Tuesday 10th May. On Wednesday 11th May there will be a period of Adoration from 6 pm, concluding with Benediction at 6.45 pm. Mass will be celebrated in the evening that day at 7 pm.
With prayer and best wishes,
Your parish priest and friend,
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