The whole month of May is dedicated to Mary in the Philippines. This is the time when kids, who are in their school holidays are taught Catechism in their own parishes, while some of them are preparing for their first confession and communion. This is also the month when the Santacruzan is held, when ladies would put on their best gowns as they portray the different gifts of the Holy Spirit and some other elements of the Catholic Faith. The highlight of this Santacruzan is the Reyna Helena and her Son Constantine. But all of these are all Spanish influences to us.
There is however, uniquely Filipino in this tradition. We call it the FLORES de MAYO (translated FLOWERS of MAY). It is said that it originated in Malolos Bulacan. It is so because it is in this month that the flowers would blossom on their best, for the typhoons or storms are quite minimal at this month. So, the kids, would pick the flowers, offer it to Mary, to thank her for interceding for us for the good weather and for the blossoms. Thus, came the term “FLORES de MAYO.” This has been a practice among Filipinos for sometimes now. Not only the children but all sorts of people would come to the Church, even everyday for the whole month of May, to pray the rosary and to offer flowers to our Lady. We don’t worship Mary as our God as some Christian groups accused us, but we look at her as our model of faith. We venerate her because “many Filipino Catholics learn more about the faith from their devotion to the Virgin Mary than in any other way.” (Catechism for Filipino Catholics 155). Thus, we all have many images of Mary…Just take a moment to look at this…
This song is pleading Mary, our Mother to bring us closer to her Son, our brother….
Jesus, before he died has left us WORDS that summed up his mission. As God, he forgave our sins. As human, he felt thirst. As a friend, he entrusted us to Mary, His mother. As a teacher, he taught us to humble ourselves before God, even if it means CROSS for us. As a saviour of the world, he taught us to acknowledge our sinfulness before God, so as to be able to be with him in Paradise. Let’s then reflect on his 7 last words and ask Jesus to help us listen with an open heart.
1.”Father, forgive them; for they do not know
what they are doing.” Lk. 23: 34
Pater, dimitte illis, quia nesciunt, quid faciunt.
2. ”Truly I tell you, today you will be with
me in Paradise.” Lk.23:43
Hodie mecum eris in Paradiso.
3. ”Woman, here is your son;
Here is your mother.” Jn. 19: 26-27
Mulier, ecce filius tuus.
4. ”My God, my God, why have you
forsaken me?” Mk. 15:34; Mt 27:46
Deus meus, Deus meus, utquid dereliquisti me?
‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’
5. ”I am thirsty.” Jn. 19:28
6. “It is finished.” Jn 19:30
7. ” Father, into your hands
I commend my spirit.” Lk 23: 46
In manus tuas, Domine, commendo