Meditate on Mary during month of May and special Fatima year Print E-mail
Bishop's Column
Written by Bishop Robert C. Morlino   
Thursday, May. 18, 2017 -- 12:00 AM
This column is the bishop’s communication with the faithful of the Diocese of Madison. Any wider circulation reaches beyond the intention of the bishop.

Dear Friends,

This month of May is, as always, a month for honoring and devoting ourselves to Mary, the Mother of God.

And in a particular way, as was marked by Pope Francis last week during his Apostolic visit to Portugal, we commemorate 100 years since the Blessed Virgin appeared several times to the three “shepherd children.” The two of those children who died in their youth are now Saint Jacinta and Saint Francisco Marto, having been canonized by Pope Francis on Saturday, and the third, Servant of God Sr. Maria Lucia, who only passed from this life in 2005, has her cause for canonization underway.

Please God, you have had the opportunity for May Crownings or other special devotions to Mary in your parishes or in your homes. May is usually a very busy month, but perhaps that is all the more reason to slow down and to spend a bit more time in the silence, contemplating the love our Lord has for us and, in a particular way, the love He demonstrated from the Cross when he said to St. John and, by extension, to each of us, “behold your mother.”

God as the gardener

As this month of May winds down, let us take time to meditate on Mary, our Heavenly Mother. One of the images of heaven that has been used is the image of God as the gardener of the most beautiful garden that could ever be imagined. This harkens back to the Garden of Eden, and it’s certainly easy to imagine a beautiful garden during the beautiful spring weather we’ve been having.

In addition to the imagery of the Garden of Eden, the Church Fathers also reflect on the imagery of the garden in light of one of the first moments of experience of the Resurrection.

In John’s Gospel, we hear of the Risen Lord first appearing to Mary Magdalene, and who does she mistake him for? The gardener! She thinks that He’s the gardener! It wasn’t that she was in a state of shock. It WAS the gardener! For it is the case that Jesus is, among so many other things, the gardener of the garden of life.

Mary is the gardener of the gardener of life

However, the Church Fathers have also called Mary the gardener of the gardener of the garden of life. In other words, as Jesus raises this beautiful garden according to the flesh, Mary raised the beautiful garden of Jesus Christ. Both in her womb and thereafter, she tended to Jesus, she nurtured Him and cared for Him. A true mother!

And so, Jesus is the gardener of the garden of life, preparing a place for us. And Mary is the gardener of the gardener of life. What a beautiful title that is! And how much beautiful reflection this title can bring to us in prayer. It’s a magnificent way to think about the Lord and to think about His mother, and to think about the beauty of Heaven wrapped all into one.

First, how beautiful is the garden of life? How beautiful and magnificent is the glorious, risen Christ? The gardener of the garden of life! And just imagine the tremendous privilege conferred upon our Blessed Mother to be the gardener of the gardener of the garden of life, to have some participation in the way by which all of humankind was to be returned to the garden of life.

There is a beautiful prayer from the Eastern Church addressed to the Blessed Mother, and it ends with the following words: “Rejoice, oh Mary, you who carried Him Who carries all!”

Mary: Model of Christian discipleship

Mary was called to be the perfect human being, the greatest Christian, the most magnificent follower of Jesus Christ and the model of the special genius of womanhood. “Blessed are you among women!”

As I like to say, it was not any pope, not any bishop, not any male, but Mary, the woman, who was the greatest and model Christian disciple. How beautiful that is! Rejoice, oh Mary, you who carried Him Who carries all.

The gift of being mother

To women God has given the special gift of the capacity to be mother. They know what it is to carry a child in a way that no male ever can. That’s part of the gift of being mother.

Women can identify with and imitate Mary, who carried Him Who carries all. Women, out of their own beautiful experience can go a lot farther than we men can in appreciating Mary the Mother, Mary the gardener of the gardener of the garden of life.

Let us pray about that beautiful image as we celebrate Fatima during this special anniversary year. Praised be Jesus Christ!