Praying for peace: Imploring Our Blessed Mother’s intercession Print
Written by Mary Uhler   
Thursday, May. 09, 2013 -- 12:00 AM

Our country and our world continue to experience violence, war, and unrest every day. This past month we’ve witnessed acts of terrorism in the United States and abroad, along with murders, kidnapping, and bombings in many parts of the globe.

May is the month traditionally dedicated to Mary, Our Blessed Mother. She has been called the “Queen of Peace,” so it might behoove us to implore her intercession for peace in our world.

Encyclical issued in 1965

On April 29, 1965, Pope Paul VI issued an encyclical called Mense Maio, “The Month of May,” which was dedicated to the “preservation of peace.” The document was published five months after the promulgation of the Second Vatican Council’s Apostolic Constitution, Lumen Gentium. It has been said that the political struggle with communism was the underlying cause for Pope Paul VI writing this encyclical, which still resonates with us today.

In this encyclical, the Holy Father said, “Our heart rejoices at the thought of the moving tribute of faith and love which will soon be paid to the Queen of Heaven in every corner of the earth. For this is the month during which Christians, in their churches and their homes, offer the Virgin Mother more fervent and loving acts of homage and veneration; and it is the month in which a greater abundance of God’s merciful gifts comes down to us from our Mother’s throne.”

He continued, “Since Mary is rightly to be regarded as the way by which we are led to Christ, the person who encounters Mary cannot help but encounter Christ likewise. . . .  To Him men are to turn amid the anxieties and perils of this world, urged on by duty and driven by the compelling needs of their heart, to find a haven of salvation, a transcendent fountain of life.”

Powerful incentive for prayer

Pope Paul VI pointed out that the month of May is a powerful incentive to more frequent and fervent prayers. It is a time for “urging the Christian people to offer up public prayers whenever the needs of the Church demanded it or some grave crisis threatened the human race.”

In 1965, he said, “We in turn feel compelled to call for such prayers from the whole Catholic world. Looking at the present needs of the Church and the status of world peace, we have sound reasons to believe that the present hour is especially grave and that a plea for concerted prayer on the part of all Christians is a matter of top priority.”

The pope prayed for the Second Vatican Council: its final session and the aftermath, “so that the seeds sown during the Council may bear tangible, salutary fruit.”

Appeal for peace in the world

He also appealed for peace in the world, noting that the present state of international affairs “is extremely troubled and uncertain. The supreme benefit of peace is again being placed in jeopardy. Today we see tensions worsening gravely between nations in certain parts of the world, as if no lesson had been learned from the bitter experiences of the two world wars which caused so much bloodletting in the first half of this century.”

Above all, Pope Paul VI said that peace is a gift from God. “Peace comes from heaven. It will truly reign among men when we have finally proved ourselves worthy to receive this gift from Almighty God.” We will obtain peace “by praying, in particular, for the intercession and protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is the Queen of peace.”

Today, we should follow Pope Paul VI’s advice to offer our pleas to the Mother of God. “May she graciously lend an ear to the devout pleas of those all over the world who beg her for peace. May she enlighten the minds of those who rule nations. And finally, may she prevail on God, who rules the winds and storms, to calm the tempests in men’s warring hearts and grant us peace in our day.”

In 1965, the Holy Father asked for special prayers in every diocese and parish during the month of May, including praying of the Rosary. I would suggest that we follow his example today. Let’s pray personally and in our families and parish communities to the Blessed Mother for peace in our world, not only during May but throughout the year.

Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.