A May sharing by Father Paul Mark Schwan: "The month of May has arrived. Memories from childhood flood my mind of the close of the school year, a flurry of outdoor activities to clean flowerbeds, prepare the vegetable garden for planting, work the fields, plant the crops, and watch the cows as they calved. I also remember the annual May crowning of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the parish church. This was done with great pomp on Mother’s Day, a special feat and privilege for the president of the Sodality of Mary. I remember the president, a high school girl, dressed in her very best, removing her high heel shoes, to ascend the ladder to crown the statue of Our Lady of Grace on the side altar dedicated to the Mother of God. I wondered if that girl would slip and fall from the top of the ladder. Perhaps it wasn’t the most edifying of thoughts at such a poignant moment but this is how the mind of a six-year-old kid works.
The month of May remains a month in popular Catholic piety dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In our austere Cistercian rite there is no annual Marian crowning nor a month set apart for special devotions to the Blessed Virgin but just the same every day a Cistercian monk renews his consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary by the chanting of special Marian antiphons that conclude each hour of the Divine Office, the ringing of the Angelus three times daily, and the solemn chanting of the Salve Regina every night to conclude the monk’s long day.
Medieval monk theologians stated that Mary is the Rule of the Monk. Her dedication to God, humility, attentiveness to God’s word, readiness to do God’s will, shows any Christian how to live the Gospel. May you have a Mary month!"
Blessings from your brothers of New Clairvaux!
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