Tuesday, 1 May 2012
Image source: http://www.knock-shrine.ie/uploads/images/headers/noFlashBanner.jpg
The first of May – a day packed with great importance; the feast day of St Joseph the Worker, a year since Pope John Paul II was beatified, Claz’s birthday, Edna’s Baptismal birthday and the first day of a whole month dedicated to Our Blessed Mother Mary! This month gives us a chance to reflect on Mary, her life, and our devotion to her. It is a great opportunity to deepen our relationship with Mary. Mary is the perfect model for us in living a life faithful to God, even through struggles. At the Annunciation Mary gave her ‘fiat’, her great 'Yes', to God and through all her sorrows she maintained this 'Yes' even to the foot of the Cross.
Mary is not only our Mother but also our Teacher. She teaches us everything about her Son, especially through reciting the Rosary which is a Marian prayer but at the heart of it is the message of the Gospel, the life of Jesus. Each set of mysteries takes a different aspect of the life of Jesus; Joyful: Childhood of Jesus; Luminous: Public life; Sorrowful: Passion and death of Jesus; Glorious: Resurrection and Glorification. By praying the Rosary Mary holds our hands guiding us through the life of Jesus, pointing us to Jesus and offering guidance in our own lives.
Our Blessed Mother played a big part in me starting to return to my faith nine years ago. I had the opportunity to go on a pilgrimage to Lourdes in France. The atmosphere of prayer and love of Our Lady really impacted me. For the next six years I went to Lourdes and each year I learnt more and more. I was growing in my faith and in my relationship with God and Our Lady. I began to pray to Mary more, especially the Rosary. Through praying the Rosary I felt God answered many questions I had and decisions I needed to make.
Another shrine to Our Lady that I now love to visit is Knock. Our Lady appeared on 21st August 1879. As a child my family would visit Knock quite regularly, probably at least once a year, but it meant nothing to me until a few years ago. Spending a few days in Knock, taking proper time to pray, I began to truly appreciate the beauty and significance of this small village where Our Blessed Mother truly appeared. It blew me away that I had this place, where Mary had appeared, so close to me.
Our Blessed Mother Mary is so wonderful and beautiful that there just aren’t words to describe her and all she does for us. During this month dedicated to Mary I would encourage everyone to turn to Mary in prayer and intercession. Take time to learn about Mary, to look at her life and allow her to show you how to live your lives centred on her Son. Let her teach you about her Son, for no one is closer to the Son than His Holy Mother.
Prayers and God bless