May: Birthdays, Mothers' Day, and Mary
Happy May! Amongst other things, May is the month of Mother’s Day, my mom’s birthday, my birthday, and Mary. When I chose my Confirmation name last year, I thought about my family. Specifically, I thought about how my family is a matriarchy, consisting of my grandma, my mom, and myself. My grandma’s name is Gloria (“Glory”), my mom’s is Maria (“Mary”), and mine is Marie-Anne (“Mary and Anne” -- the mother and grandmother). Even the month “May” is one letter away from Mary. To add to the serendipity, my birthday is the same day as The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. My nickname amongst friends is “bee”, and bees are symbols of Our Lady. Needless to say, I feel very connected to our Mother, especially in this month.
Recently, a friend let me borrow his copy of 33 Days to Morning Glory. It is a “do-it yourself retreat in preparation for Marian Consecration”. It refers to Mary as a new dawn in our relationship with Christ, and I’ve been needing some extra help lately praying. How appropriate, then, that today’s prayer is “Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary—Help me to give myself entirely to Jesus through Mary.”
I know that other people might be struggling too, given that many of us have not physically been to a church in a bit (I think my family has been live-streaming Mass for about eleven weeks at this point?) and that perceived loss of community can make it hard for us to feel connected. I wanted to share this prayer, to remind us that even though our Church is spread further than we’re used to and we can’t physically be present to comfort one another right now, Mary is always with us and looking out for us. This is a Prayer to Our Lady of Perpetual Help:
Behold, O Mother of Perpetual Help, at thy feet a wretched sinner, who has recourse to thee and trusts in thee. O Mother of mercy, have pity on me; I hear all men call thee the refuge and hope of sinners: be therefore my refuge and my hope. Help me for the love of Jesus Christ: hold out thy hand to a fallen wretch, who commends himself to thee and dedicates himself to be thy servant forever. I praise and thank God, who of His great mercy hath given me this confidence in thee, a sure pledge of my eternal salvation. Alas, it is only too true that in the past I have fallen miserably, because I did not come to thee. I know that with thy help I shall conquer; I know that thou wilt help me, if I commend myself to thee; but I am fearful lest in the occasions of sin I shall forget to call upon thee and so I shall be lost. This grace, then, do I ask of thee; for this I implore thee, as much as I can and know how to do; namely, that in the assaults of hell I may ever run to thy protection and may say to thee: Mary, help me; Mother of Perpetual Help, permit me not to lose my God.
Marie-Anne Barrón is a sophomore concentrating in Cognitive Neuroscience and Education Studies and sent us this post all the way from Katy, TX.