"Behold now is the acceptable time, behold now is the day of salvation." - 2 Corinthians 6:2
Christians, be you just or sinners, this is the favourable time for you to recur to the Divine Mercy; these are days offered you by Mary in her ardent desire to promote your salvation and perfection. "Behold now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation." Mary invites you to avail yourselves thereof in these touching words placed on her lips by Holy Church. "Come over to me all you that desire me, and be filled with my fruits." Eccles 24:26 "He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord." Proverbs 8:35 Not the life of a day in which so many ills are crowded, but of that life of bliss of which no created intellect, how vast soever its capacities, can form any conception. "Today if you should hear her voice, harden not your heart." Psalm 94:8 Though Mary invariably comes to the aid of her suppliants at whatever time or season they may invoke her, she is pleased, nevertheless, to render these days an especial period of grace, during which she showers down the most signal favours on mankind. Now is the time to ask, to obtain all. We do not form to ourselves a sufficiently ample idea of Mary's omnipotence, of her desire to grant our petitions. We ask little, and even in asking this little, we are neither confiding, importunate, nor persevering.
Let us then dilate our heart, Mary will fill it - "Open thy mouth, and I will fill it." Psalm 80:11 Let us ask great graces during this month, let us ask them with confidence, and persist in urging our request during all these days of mercy; we shall see if the arm of Mary be shortened, if her power, her love for us, are not to-day such as our fathers have described them to be.
If the Lord has deigned to promise, that where two or three are gathered together in His name, He will be in the midst of them, what may we not expect from the Mother of Mercy, now that she sees the entire Catholic world prostrate at her feet, imploring her aid, offering a sweet violence to her maternal Heart? Wherever the Name of Jesus has penetrated, the sweet name of Mary resounds this lovely month. All over Europe, amid the numerous and fervent missions of Asia and of the coasts of Africa, throughout the length and breadth of America, it is invoked. From the midst of lands a prey to heresy, the voices of many fervent Catholics blend with those of their brethren in other climes, so that we may say, from the east to the west an uninterrupted concert of prayer ascends to the Mother of Mercy the whole month long, whilst from the maternal Heart innumerable graces descend upon her children. Who would remain silent and refuse to join in this universal supplication? Who would remain with empty hands and hearts in this abundance of spiritual goods? Let us, then, present our homage at the feet of our Queen, of our Mother; let us rival in zeal the many souls devoted to Mary, and let us endeavour not to be surpassed in love, in fidelity, in generous sacrifices.
Poor abandoned souls - learned, ignorant, great, lowly, weak, ill, sinners - come! All ye children of Adam, whatever your rank and condition, come all, from pole to pole! Come, for the salvation of souls, have recourse to the liberal and omnipotent providence of Mary; implore the intercession of her who was chosen to impart temporal life to the Divine Word. Come, and delay not, lest the gates of Heaven be closed against you, for your sins place bolts on the divine mercy. Come, press on in haste, since it is the intercession of God's Mother that alone prevents those bolts from closing the portals of Heaven; for Mary alone is sufficiently powerful to plead for and to obtain your salvation; she is Heaven's open gate, which even your iniquities cannot close - Qua pervia coeli porta manes. O nations redeemed by the Blood of a God, hail your liberatrix, and applaud the homages rendered to her. Gentes redemptae plaudite! If you possess true faith, to her you owe it; have you forfeited it, she invites you to embrace it anew, she extends her arms to you, and longs to fold you to her Heart; are you still seated in dark ness, in the shadow of death, take courage, it is she who urges on the steps of those apostolic men who are destined to introduce you one day into the fold of her Divine Son.
Enter on this month with renewed fervour, and contribute, as much as lies in your power, to promote this solid Devotion to Mary, especially in those places where it has not hitherto been observed. Assist, if possible, at the exercises publicly carried on in the church; but if this be inconvenient, erect an altar to Mary at home, and go there daily, to pay her your tribute of homage.
Wherever the Devotion of the Month of Mary has been established, the results have been most striking. Hear what an ecclesiastic wrote a few years ago to the Curé of Notre Dame des Victoires - "Placed by Providence at the head of a parish numbering nearly four thousand souls, I struggled with but little success against the torrent of iniquity which had invaded, and was gradually sapping, the foundations of religion among my flock. For eighteen years had I presided over them, and all my efforts had been nearly fruitless. What to do I knew not; when suddenly the thought occurred to me that my parish was under Mary's protection. It occurred to me, I say, for to my confusion be it confessed, my devotion to this tender Mother had been, up to this time, very superficial, and, like many young people of ardent temperament, I relied too much on my own weak efforts.
"The more promptly to repair the harm my presumption had inflicted on my flock, I hastened to instruct them concerning the mercies of this good Mother, and I established the 'Month of Mary.' From that moment the face of things became quite changed. During this month of benediction, every evening saw my church thronged by from fifteen to eighteen hundred persons of every age and sex, some of whom came from the most distant parts of the parish - sometimes two leagues - to join in canticles to Mary, and hear a sermon on her benefits and virtues. The custom of swearing was abolished, licentious discourses and songs were no longer to be heard. Under Mary's patronage I gave my young men a little retreat. Nearly all have approached the Holy Table, and have persevered for more than a year in their good resolutions. I also gave a retreat to the young girls, and every Sunday after Vespers I have the consolation of seeing more than three hundred assemble in a private chapel to hear a special instruction from me. Each rivals the other in zeal to acquire those virtues which form the ornament of their age and the happiness of life."
Sing, ransomed nations, sing and own,
Your ransom was a Virgin's Son.
At the termination of each exercise sing, or recite thrice -
Exert for us a Mother's care,
And us thy children own; Prevail with Him to hear our pray'r
- taken from The Month of May Consecrated to the Glory of the Mother of God, The Queen of Heaven