May is the dreaded month for most students, it’s the time to cram and pull all-nighters, the final stretch before that coveted summer holiday; no wonder some say May is a month of stress. Consequently, because busy students = busy teacher, May is always a super busy month for me. With all my students asking for extra tutorial time, I’ve barely had any ‘me time’ to indulge in my hobbies or read the seven pending novels currently sitting patiently on my shelf (the result of overspending at an international book fair a few weeks ago #sorrynotsorry). No worries though, that’s what summer breaks are for.
In the Catholic calendar, though, May is known as the month of the Virgin Mary. Catholic is a unique branch of Christianity in that we pray to Mary, I think we might be the only ones. Other Christians (Protestants etc.) recognise her as the Mother of Jesus but do not really pray to her because they see it as a deviation of one of God’s commandments in that we should not worship anyone or anything other than God. So why do we Catholics pray to Mary?
When we pray to Mary, we do not worship her in place of God, we are still praying to God and Jesus (they are one and the same) but through Mary. Why? Why not just pray straight to Jesus and eliminate the middle woman? We also do of course, but the answer to that particular question lies in the very first miracle that Jesus performed, which was also one of his most famous. It was when He turned water into wine at a wedding in Cana, and if you go back to the Bible and re-read that particular Gospel, you might see something you missed the first time round. Everyone remembers the central focus of the story – the miracle. But I’m going to quote the excerpt just before the water miraculously turned into wine.
“Now on the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no wine left.” Jesus replied, “Woman, why are you saying this to me? My time has not yet come”. His mother told the servants, “Whatever he tells you, do it.”
– John 2:1-5
The tale continues with Jesus telling the servant to fill six stone jars with water and the rest is, as they say, history. But let’s back up a little, Jesus didn’t think it was time yet for him to perform a miracle in front of the public eye – “My time has not yet come”, but because it was Mary, his Mother, who asked him to do so, he obliged. This is why we pray through Mary. We hope that Mary will hear our prayers and relay it to Jesus, and we know that Jesus loved his mother and will not turn down her requests.
Nothing is stronger or more powerful than a mother’s prayer, they say that if you want anything in life, ask your mother to sincerely pray for you and it will come true. I certainly like to believe that I’ve gone through my life so far without any major glitch thanks to my mum’s prayers, and I know that she will continue to keep me (and my two brothers) in her daily prayers. So even though May is almost over, and even though it’s a hectic month for most of us, keep praying those Hail Mary’s, they really can do wonders.
p.s. happy (very) belated mother’s day to my supermum!