May is the month of Mary,  and “of Mary one can never say enough”. It is all the more true when May coincides with paschal tide, as it always does and therefore with the victory of Jesus over death.

Yesterday morning at the Priory we celebrated the Saturday Mass of Our Lady, and I pointed out to the brethren that the Gospel reading takes us back to Calvary. It is St John’s account of Our Blessed Lord’s last moments, when looking down from the Cross, He saw His poor Mother standing there in distress. One of His last acts in this mortal life was to entrust her to the beloved disciple John: Behold thy mother, behold thy son. 

The historical significance of the event is, among other things, that this passage clearly indicates that Our Lord had no siblings. If he had, they would obviously had been the ones to look after Mary, and He would have had no reason to entrust her to John. But He did entrust her to John, which is indirect proof that He was indeed an only Son and that Mary remained a virgin after giving birth to Him, as the Holy Church teaches us as part of our faith.

But perhaps more importantly for us, is the significance of the words He spoke. Jesus saw in John each of His future disciples, and in the person of John He therefore saw each one of us. By entrusting Mary to John and John to Mary, He was essentially entrusting each one of us to the maternal care of His own Mother. And she who in the virginal birth of Jesus had not suffered, in giving birth to each of us on Calvary undergoes excruciating spiritual birth pangs. Our Mother was in anguish on Calvary, and it was with tears that she gave birth to us in the order of grace. Be not unmindful of the birth pangs of your mother. We who have been engendered to the life of grace thanks to the cooperation of Our Lady in the salvific redemption of the world, would do well to remember what we cost our Mother.

Another useful consideration is that the evangelist tells us that, after that word of Our Lord, St John took her into his home, or literally, took her into his own, that is to say, that henceforth she was at home with him, not only in the house where he lived, but more importantly, in his own heart. And that should be the case with each one of us. Having consecrated ourselves to Mary Immaculate, she should be in our hearts as in her own home, meaning that she can do as she pleases. And what pleases Mary is to help us grow in the likeness of her Son. That is why anyone who consecrates himself to Mary and gives her free rein in his heart can expect to be led along the path of more intense configuration with the Word Incarnate in his life, passion, death and resurrection. And that means quite simply that Mary seeks to make us more like Jesus in offering ourselves as a holocaust to the divine Majesty, thus making reparation for sin and spreading the kingdom of Christ on earth, a kingdom which the Church tells us is one of truth and life, sanctity and grace, justice, love and peace.

As we approach the feast of the Ascension, which is the climax of our Blessed Lord’s triumph, we must constantly remind ourselves of this truth which the apostles continually bring to our minds in their epistles: if we wish to be glorified with Christ, we must suffer with Christ. This morning at Matins, it was St Peter telling us: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy hath regenerated us unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: unto an inheritance, incorruptible, and undefiled and that cannot fade, reserved in heaven for you, who, by the power of God, are kept by faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein you shalt greatly rejoice, if now you must be for a little time made sorrowful in divers temptations: that the trial of your faith (much more precious than gold which is tried by the fire) may be found unto praise and glory and honour at the appearing of Jesus Christ (1Pe 1:3-7). You must for a little time be made sorrowful, says the apostle. You must. There is no other way. You cannot have your cake and eat it. You cannot enjoy a prosperous pleasure-filled life in this world and expect to have eternal glory in the next. You must make a choice: either you follow Jesus, who is the the way to life, by bearing the cross with Him in this life and receiving the eternal crown of glory in the next, that is to say, very very soon; or you seek your own satisfaction for a few fleeting moments in this wretched life, and you endure eternal torments. 

This reality was brought home to a young monk among the early desert Fathers. The novice asked one of the hermits why he was suffering boredom. The elder replied: “You have not yet seen the resurrection for which we hope, nor the torment of fire. If you had seen these, then you would bear your cell without boredom even if it was filled with worms and you were standing in them up to your neck”. Indeed, the sufferings of this life bear no proportion with the glory to come. The sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that shall be revealed in us (Rom 8:18).

And that brings us back to the Mother. For in the order of grace we remain forever little children before God. And just as little children depend entirely on their mother, so in the realm of grace we depend entirely on Mary, who is the Mediatrix of all God’s gifts. “God so willed that we should have all things through Mary”, says St Bernard. He came to us through Mary and it is His will that we should return to Him through Mary. And as was shown at Cana of Galilee, it is She who intercedes for us and dares ask what we would never have dreamed of.

Go then to the Mother, with unlimited confidence, tell her of your difficulties. Good Mother as she is, She will soothe your pains and give you renewed strength and courage to continue along the path, whose end is near, for before God and in light of eternity, a thousand years are like one day and one day a thousand years.

May is the month of Mary, and de Maria numquam satis (“of Mary one can never say enough”)? It is all the more true when May coincides with paschal tide, as it always does and therefore with the victory of Jesus over death.

Yesterday morning at the Priory we celebrated the Saturday Mass of Our Lady, and I pointed out to the brethren that the Gospel reading takes us back to Calvary. It is St John’s account of Our Blessed Lord’s last moments, when looking down from the Cross, He saw His poor Mother standing there in distress. One of His last acts in this mortal life was to entrust her to the beloved disciple John: Behold thy mother, behold thy son. 

The historical significance of the event is, among other things, that this passage clearly indicates that Our Lord had no siblings. If he had, they would obviously had been the ones to look after Mary, and He would have had no reason to entrust her to John. But He did entrust her to John, which is indirect proof that He was indeed an only Son and that Mary remained a virgin after giving birth to Him, as the Holy Church teaches us as part of our faith.

But perhaps more importantly for us, is the significance of the words He spoke. Jesus saw in John each of His future disciples, and in the person of John He therefore saw each one of us. By entrusting Mary to John and John to Mary, He was essentially entrusting each one of us to the maternal care of His own Mother. And she who in the virginal birth of Jesus had not suffered, in giving birth to each of us on Calvary undergoes excruciating spiritual birth pangs. Our Mother was in anguish on Calvary, and it was with tears that she gave birth to us in the order of grace. Be not unmindful of the birth pangs of your mother. We who have been engendered to the life of grace thanks to the cooperation of Our Lady in the salvific redemption of the world, would do well to remember what we cost our Mother.

Another useful consideration is that the evangelist tells us that, after that word of Our Lord, St John took her into his home, or literally, took her into his own, that is to say, that henceforth she was at home with him, not only in the house where he lived, but more importantly, in his own heart. And that should be the case with each one of us. Having consecrated ourselves to Mary Immaculate, she should be in our hearts as in her own home, meaning that she can do as she pleases. And what pleases Mary is to help us grow in the likeness of her Son. That is why anyone who consecrates himself to Mary and gives her free rein in his heart can expect to be led along the path of more intense configuration with the Word Incarnate in his life, passion, death and resurrection. And that means quite simply that Mary seeks to make us more like Jesus in offering ourselves as a holocaust to the divine Majesty, thus making reparation for sin and spreading the kingdom of Christ on earth, a kingdom which the Church tells us is one of truth and life, sanctity and grace, justice, love and peace.

As we approach the feast of the Ascension, which is the climax of our Blessed Lord’s triumph, we must constantly remind ourselves of this truth which the apostles continually bring to our minds in their epistles: if we wish to be glorified with Christ, we must suffer with Christ. This morning at Matins, it was St Peter telling us: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy hath regenerated us unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: unto an inheritance, incorruptible, and undefiled and that cannot fade, reserved in heaven for you, who, by the power of God, are kept by faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein you shalt greatly rejoice, if now you must be for a little time made sorrowful in divers temptations: that the trial of your faith (much more precious than gold which is tried by the fire) may be found unto praise and glory and honour at the appearing of Jesus Christ (1Pe 1:3-7). You must for a little time be made sorrowful, says the apostle. You must. There is no other way. You cannot have your cake and eat it. You cannot enjoy a prosperous pleasure-filled life in this world and expect to have eternal glory in the next. You must make a choice: either you follow Jesus, who is the the way to life, by bearing the cross with Him in this life and receiving the eternal crown of glory in the next, that is to say, very very soon; or you seek your own satisfaction for a few fleeting moments in this wretched life, and you endure eternal torments. 

This reality was brought home to a young monk among the early desert Fathers. The novice asked one of the hermits why he was suffering boredom. The elder replied: “You have not yet seen the resurrection for which we hope, nor the torment of fire. If you had seen these, then you would bear your cell without boredom even if it was filled with worms and you were standing in them up to your neck”. Indeed, the sufferings of this life bear no proportion with the glory to come. The sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that shall be revealed in us (Rom 8:18).

And that brings us back to the Mother. For in the order of grace we remain forever little children before God. And just as little children depend entirely on their mother, so in the realm of grace we depend entirely on Mary, who is the Mediatrix of all God’s gifts. “God so willed that we should have all things through Mary”, says St Bernard. He came to us through Mary and it is His will that we should return to Him through Mary. And as was shown at Cana of Galilee, it is She who intercedes for us and dares ask what we would never have dreamed of.

Go then to the Mother, with unlimited confidence, tell her of your difficulties. Good Mother as she is, She will soothe your pains and give you renewed strength and courage to continue along the path, whose end is near, for before God and in light of eternity, a thousand years are like one day and one day a thousand years.