THE MONTH OF May is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The entire month falls within the season of Easter, which is the original liturgical season of joy and hope. However, many people and places around the world have been hard hit by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
When we look back on the life of Mary, Mother of God, she initially felt the burden of God’s call was unbearable, but eventually overcame this and acted according to God’s will. In the face of suffering in society, her motherly love reminds us to comfort one another.
Pope Francis has urged us to pray the Rosary at home in the month of May. He said, “The restrictions of the pandemic have made us come to appreciate all the more this ‘family’ aspect, also from a spiritual point of view.” He also said that “contemplating the face of Christ with the heart of Mary our Mother will make us even more united as a spiritual family and will help us overcome this time of trial.”
When we contemplate the face of Christ, the Rosary, as a summary of the entire gospel, helps us to look back on the mystery of the life of Jesus. From the Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, the Glorious Mysteries to the Luminous Mysteries, we, along with Jesus, experience trials and suffering while modelling ourselves after Mary to remain loyal and faithful under unknown circumstances. In this way, by praying the Rosary, we entrust the pain and joy of the individual, family and society to Christ.
Pope St. John Paul II cherished the veneration of Mary and the Rosary and his experience has helped us to engage in the prayer.
In 2002, Pope John Paul II, in his apostolic letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, stressed that the Rosary helps the faithful to cope amid bewilderment and chaos. He pointed out that for the peace in the world and the cause of the family, “the revival of the Rosary in Christian families … will be an effective aid to countering the devastating effects of this crisis typical of our age”.
Furthermore he wrote, “the Rosary is also a prayer for peace because of the fruits of charity which it produces. When prayed well in a truly meditative way, the Rosary leads to an encounter with Christ in his mysteries and so cannot fail to draw attention to the face of Christ in others, especially in the most afflicted.”
During this pandemic, the faces of patients, families which are in pain, medical staff and first responders, have all become objects for meditation.
Pope John Paul II advised that the recitation of the Rosary calls for a quiet rhythm and a lingering pace, helping the individual meditate on the mysteries of the Lord’s life as seen through the eyes of Mary who was closest to the Lord.
In the present pandemic, Pope Francis has also indicated the importance of contemplation in order to pray for those suffering most greatly.
Praying for Mary’s intercession may be an act of solidarity embracing the entire diocese. On the May 1, the bishops of Canada and the United States consecrated their individual dioceses to the care of Mary for her continued protection of the faithful amid the pandemic.
Let us pray for those who are suffering in this pandemic, as well as our families and the Church. May we learn from Mary endure the hardship with bravery. SE