During the month of May, we will be sharing a different passage from some of our books about Our Lady. We hope they help deepen your knowledge of, and love for Mary, the Mother of God!
This passage is from the beginning of St. Josemaria Escriva's homily To Jesus through Mary, which can be found in Christ is Passing By.
If we look at the world, at the People of God, during this month of May, we will see devotion to our Lady taking the form of many old and new customs practised with great love. It makes me very happy to see that this devotion is always alive, awakening in Christians a supernatural desire to act as "members of God's household."
Seeing how so many Christians express their affection for the Virgin Mary, surely you also feel more a part of the Church, closer to those brothers and sisters of yours. It is like a family reunion. Grown-up children, whom life has separated, come back to their mother for some family anniversary. And even if they have not always got on well together, today things are different; they feel united, sharing the same affection.
Mary continually builds the Church and keeps it together. It is difficult to have devotion to our Lady and not feel closer to the other members of the mystical body and more united to its visible head, the pope. That's why I like to repeat: All with Peter to Jesus through Mary! By seeing ourselves as part of the Church and united to our brothers in the faith, we understand more deeply that we are brothers of all mankind, for the Church has been sent to all the peoples of the earth.
My own experience and yours are proof of the effects of sincere devotion to our Lady. I remember how in 1933 I went to visit a shrine in Spain, the shrine of our Lady of Sonsoles. It wasn't a pilgrimage in the normal sense: nothing noisy or elaborate, just three of us. I respect and love public demonstrations of devotion, but I must admit I prefer to offer Mary the same affection, the same enthusiasm, in private visits or with very few people — a more intimate sort of thing.
During that visit to Sonsoles I was told the origin of the name of the shrine. The statue had been hidden during the wars between Christians and Moslems in Spain, and after a number of years it was found by shepherds. According to the story, when they saw it they exclaimed: "What beautiful eyes; they are suns!" [Spanish: son soles].
Since 1933, during many visits to shrines of our Lady, I have often reflected and meditated on the wonderful affection which so many Christians have for the Mother of Jesus. And I have always seen it as a response of love, of filial love and thanksgiving to our Lady, a sign of a child's affection. For Mary is closely tied to the greatest sign of God's love — the Word made flesh who took upon himself our sins and weakness. Faithful to the divine purpose for which she was born, Mary continues to spend herself in the service of men, who are all called to be brothers of her son Jesus. The Mother of God is also truly the mother of men.
Our Lord wanted it to be this way. So that future generations might know it, the Holy Spirit inspired St John to write:
"Now there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother and his mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus, therefore, saw his mother and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he said to his mother 'Woman, behold your son. 'Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold your mother.' And from that hour the disciple took her into his home."
John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, brought Mary into his home, into his life. Spiritual writers have seen these words of the Gospel as an invitation to all Christians to bring Mary into their lives. Mary certainly wants us to invoke her, to approach her confidently, to appeal to her as our mother, asking her to "show that you are our mother."
But she is a mother who anticipates our requests. Knowing our needs, she comes quickly to our aid. If we recall that God's mercies come to us through the hands of our Lady, each of us can find many reasons for feeling that Mary is our mother in a very special way.