Ave maris stella,
Dei Mater alma,
atque semper Virgo,
felix caeli porta.
Hail, bright star of ocean,
God's own Mother blest,
ever sinless Virgin,
gate of heav'nly rest.
With the month of May we ushered in the month of Mary, Mother of God and great mediatrix of all graces. Having been devoted to Our Lady for some time, our family finds much solace and fortitude turning to Mary in all things, great and small. Many saints exhort us to turn to her with confidence, and the Church's traditions teach us of her purity and holiness and the trustworthiness of her advocacy for the sake of the salvation of our souls, poor sinners in this valley of tears that we are! She withholds nothing from the Lord, Our Savior, interceding on our behalf, and reflects God and shows us how to walk His path in all her ways. We pray the rosary daily and meditate upon the mysteries of faith, binding ourselves to Our Lady and her promises, and gaze with our hearts upon her loveliness - like the beauty of the shining moon, upon which we gaze with our living eyes, among the stars at night. In our Easter joy, as we rejoice that He is Risen, Alleluia! then, we gladly welcome the month dedicated to honoring the holy mother of Jesus. His vessel, by her fiat and her role in God becoming Man, is Mother of the Church and perfect model of the virtues to which we should aspire. God took the greatest care in creating the woman who would carry Him and bring Him forth into the world, and we freely turn to her in our need and ask her to guide and help us on our pilgrimage to heaven.
On our First Sunday gathering in May, like last year, we constructed a litter for Our Lady - bedecked with flowers and carried by four strong young men. Young and old joined in prayer and song and in the march. We began with the Fatima Angel's prayer and raised up the Fatima Ave as we traversed the farm behind the statue of Our Lady of Fatima - on a beautifully sunlit and blue-skied day, trees swaying in the breeze, and birds on wing and chiming in with their own small but clear voices. Rural Georgia is a far cry from Eden, but springtime can be something to behold here, and the green things and wild things played their parts duly! Our farm animals took part too, as the rooster's crow and the curious calls of the goats could be heard interspersed amongst our prayers and songs throughout the afternoon. Our oldest son helped bear the litter; one of our younger sons (preparing to receive his first Holy Communion at our TLM parish this June, Deo gratias) had the honor of crowning our garden statue after the procession. After these past months, now years indeed, of worldly calamity, confusion, anxiety, and strife, and even as crises continue to manifest themselves in myriad ways, these occasional respites are good for the soul. The feasts and occasions afforded to honor the saints and Our Lady and Our Savior, the Immaculate and Sacred Hearts - they serve as formative and set experiences as we make our way through the year, whatever the world presents. The face of Our Lady is indescribably lovely, but it is always marked with sorrow - a reminder of our fallen state and the hope we should hold in the ultimate happiness that lies beyond the boundaries of this earthly existence. And thus we should wear the world like a loose garment, store up our riches not here but in heaven, and ever strip ourselves of the things that impede us from closeness with the Savior.
But - the yoke is easy and the burden is light! The sounds of singing, the simple gladness that comes with it, and the smiles and laughter of children playing outdoors - all unsullied by the trappings of modern contrivance and convenience (as much as we can render) - give us, as we are inclined to say, glimpses of that better place somewhere just beyond the horizon. May we find in Our Lady a sure guide no matter our troubles, and may God bless us on our way!
On this little homestead our family aspires to work the land and hand on the Catholic Tradition, walking in wonder and learning to live by the fruits of our labor, in honor of Our Lady of Fatima, who guides us to Him.