May is Mary’s Month
The Lord has placed in Mary the fullness of all good. So that if there is anything of hope in us, if anything of grace, if anything of salvation, we may rest assured it has overflowed into us from her. With every fiber of our being, every feeling of our hearts, with all affections of our minds, and with all the ardor of our souls let us honor Mary because this is the will of God, who would have us obtain everything through her hands.
–Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermon 6: For the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Mary allows her life to be wildly interrupted by God’s desire. Her wholehearted “yes” gives God a home, a body in which to dwell. Mary gives God her flesh. Because of her, he has hands that will heal and bless and be nailed to the wood of the cross. Because of her, he has a heart to love with.
As the current pandemic frightens and isolates us, as so many throughout the world are afflicted, we trust in the prayers of Our Blessed Lady. She is never far from us, always attentive to our needs. Mary protects us and accompanies us; we trust in her powerful intercession. She is everywhere in the Abbey watching over us, her images and icons in sacred spaces as well as the workplaces. And so in the monastery we go often to Mary. She is Gate of Heaven, our Way to Christ her Son, our Mother and our Refuge in all tribulation. We are greatly consoled by her words to Saint Juan Diego in 1531:
Do listen, do be assured of it, my littlest one, that nothing at all should alarm you, should trouble you, nor in any way disturb your countenance, your heart. For am I not here, I, your mother? Are you not in the cool of my shadow? In the breeziness of my shade? Is it not I that am your source of contentment? Are you not cradled in my mantle, cuddled in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?
We commend our friends, relatives, benefactors and all the peoples of our world to the love and protection of the Virgin Mary in these days. We plead for an end to the pandemic and for the healing of the sick, for healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, and all those working in these days to guarantee the smooth functioning of society. We remember the numerous victims of the pandemic and pray for the consolation and comfort of their families and friends.
In a spirit of compunction and intense desire, monks devote themselves frequently to prayer. While dwelling on earth, their minds are occupied with heavenly things, desiring eternal life with all spiritual longing. May the Blessed Virgin Mary who was taken up into heaven, the life and sweetness and hope of all earthly pilgrims, never be far from their hearts.
–Constitutions of the Order