The Blessed Mother

Fr. Joseph Noonan O.F.M.

The month of May is one of two months in the Church year dedicated to the Blessed Mother. The Church has encouraged for many years the praying of the Holy Rosary throughout the year, but especially during these months in her honor. Numberless books, documents and articles have been written about her, and understandably so.

The titles which have been bestowed upon her are numerous, but none greater than Mother of God, for this title is the reason for all the rest. This singular position is evidence of the great graces which were given to her. Graces, indeed, which placed her above everyone else. Graces, too, which compelled her to practice the deepest humility.

As our spiritual mother she possesses a genuine concern for all of her children. This concern is expressed in different ways. One which is most necessary to us as individuals is that of the example of virtue which she so heroically practiced. All the virtues are present in her in a superabundant manner, but the ones which Holy Mother Church present to us as constant examples are humility, purity and charity.

Anyone that wishes to follow the example of the Blessed Mother must necessarily practice these virtues. How odd and contradictory are those that call themselves followers of Mary, but yet know nothing of her virtues.

Her life is one beautiful demonstration of a person who was given so much while thinking so little of herself. What a contrast to those who are blessed with less, yet think so much of themselves!

Her degree of purity may perhaps be exemplified best in the fact that the Church calls upon her sinners to go primarily to Mary in an effort to overcome temptations. For those who heed this advice they will not be let down, for she is a faithful mother.

Her charity (love) is a reflection of the infinite love which her Son has shown to all men. Unlike the earthly love of mothers which may waver, hers is one that is constant through the sorrows and joys. It is also this love which she uses to lead all willing followers to her Son.

Her desire to intercede for her spiritual children is demonstrated in her titles of Queen and Mediatrix of All Graces. Any queen of the past that had a true concern for her subjects would do all within her power to mediate between them and the king. She would go to great lengths to see that any reasonable request was not only heard, but met by the king. Does not this describe the efforts of the Blessed Mother toward her children? She is truly tireless in her designs to assist faithful souls in their desire to attain the Beatific Vision.

She has also desired to help her loved ones by appearing to them on different occasions. These apparitions have occurred in numerous places and times.

Her appearance at Guadalupe in the 16th century resulted in a total reversal of planned events. The Indians were ready to revolt against the Spaniards, wanting to massacre these people. As a result of Mary's appearance, the Indians converted to the Catholic Faith in large numbers, thus making the conversion of Mexico possible.

On Saturday, September 19, 1846, in LaSalette, France, she appeared to two children. Why? As a warning from her Son because men refused to honor the sacredness of Sunday by not working, and the dishonor that was shown by using Our Lord's name in vain and that of taking offensive oaths.

France suffered a famine and worse yet, a notable loss of Faith. Several prophecies were made, including those that would seem to refer to our own day about the Antichrist.

Lourdes, France, was the sight of still another appearance by the Blessed Mother in 1858. She wished to establish devotion to herself under the title of the Immaculate Conception, a dogma which had been proclaimed just four years prior to these apparitions. A place of pilgrimage has resulted from her appearances.

The most well-known of these recent apparitions would seem to be that of Fatima, in Portugal, in 1917. The Blessed Mother's plea for prayer and penance has basically fallen on deaf ears. The results have been calamitous wars and a worldwide loss of the Faith.

Anyone that understands what is happening in the Church and world today, will conclude that we are very much still experiencing these effects.

These examples ought to remind us of the love and concern that the Blessed Mother has for all of her children. They, also, should enkindle in our souls a true devotion to our ever faithful Mother. If we may prove as faithful to her as she is to us, then we may rest assured that one day we will experience the Beatific Vision as she has since her assumption into heaven.

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