Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

May is Mary's Month

For what other reason do we continually turn to Mary except to seek the Christ in her arms, to seek our Savior in her, through her, and with her?

Since returning to the Church, I discovered that the month of May is set apart to honor Mary, the mother of God. This particular focus of devotion has been present in the Church since the 13th century and several popes since then have encouraged increased Marian devotion during May including Pope Paul VI* and John Paul II.

Why the month of May? The ancient Roman and Greek cultures celebrated the rites of spring by feasts dedicated to Artemis and other female goddesses. The Catholic Church has always taken the profane and pagan and transformed it to the sacred and holy dedicating these things to Christ for the glory of God alone. The pagan basilicas of Rome during the early days of the Church were converted to Catholic Churches for use by the converts. In the same way, the Church saw the pagan feast days and rites of spring and redeemed them by honoring the Mother of God, not pagan goddess! Perhaps this is one of the reasons Catholicism is often accused of having its roots in a pagan mystery religion. Mary doesn't take the place of pagan goddess worship because we don't worship Mary. Instead we redeem the pagan feasts days of May by dedicating this time to honor Mary and to fulfill Scripture by us calling her blessed. Scripture doesn't say how or when we should call her blessed so the Church has chosen May!

So how does honoring Mary more this month bring us closer to Jesus? First, we again meditate on the mystery and majesty of the Incarnation. God coming to earth as a man, being born in the flesh to a woman full of grace and virtue. Secondly, we look to Mary as a model of the perfect Christian life, being obedient to God. Thirdly, we take her words spoken at the feast of Cana; "do whatever He tells you to do" to heart and further ask for grace to love, serve and obey Him. Finally, we can seek her intercession for us since Catholics believe that though Mary was a created being like the rest of us, she shares a special place in heaven beholding her Son. Why shouldn't she? She was the God-bearer, Theotokos.

I hope to spend more time in prayer this month, in particular with the rosary meditating on the events (mysteries) of the gospels and asking Mary's intercession for some key concerns of mine. The Church states that there is an extra measure of grace to be afforded to the faithful in the month of May. I like to think of this month of Marian devotion as my honoring the Scripture to be part of the generation that calls her blessed.

*"We are delighted and consoled by this pious custom associated with the month of May, which pays honor to the Blessed Virgin and brings such rich benefits to the Christian people. Since Mary is rightly to be regarded as the way by which we are led to Christ, the person who encounters Mary cannot help but encounter Christ likewise. For what other reason do we continually turn to Mary except to seek the Christ in her arms, to seek our Savior in her, through her, and with her? To Him men are to turn amid the anxieties and perils of this world, urged on by duty and driven by the compelling needs of their heart, to find a haven of salvation, a transcendent fountain of life."


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