Brothers and sisters in Christ,
Several weeks ago, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, I joined Pope Francis in consecrating Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Holy Father called it a spiritual act of trust by God’s children who “turn to their mother, reposing all their fears and pain in her heart and abandoning themselves to her” to protect and watch over us.
Our conflict-ridden world is in great need of the Blessed Mother’s loving care and peaceful presence. We need her in our own lives, too, as we face daily trials and struggles. Through it all, Mary offers us hope and helps us grow closer to her Son. She shows us what it means to trust in God and live a life of holiness.
When the angel Gabriel came to Mary to announce that God had chosen her to bear a son — Jesus, the Son of God — she was at first troubled and confused by the angel’s words. But he told her: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30). This is God’s plan, and nothing is impossible with God. Mary courageously said “yes” to God’s will for her. She is the model of true discipleship, who reminds us, as she told the servers at the Wedding at Cana, to “do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5).
Saying “yes” to God’s will and answering the call to discipleship in our own lives takes similar courage. It requires a conversion of heart — one that leads us to foster peace in our families and communities, to care better for our neighbors and to live out the Gospel message in every aspect of our lives.
This level of conversion requires a commitment to regular prayer and participation in the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist. The month of May is a time when we honor Mary in a special way; therefore, I invite you to pray the rosary during this month, especially if it’s new to you or hasn’t been a regular part of your spiritual life. Focused on events in Christ’s life, this Scripture-based prayer offers abundant graces. For me, the repetition of the prayer encourages contemplation and helps me to be more open to hearing what the Spirit is calling me to do in my life. You can pray it alone or in a group and choose a special intention. You also can choose which set of mysteries to pray: joyful, sorrowful, glorious, luminous.
This month, let us turn to Mary in a special way as a spiritual role model to emulate and as a loving mother who faithfully brings all of our cares and concerns to her Son, Jesus, our Redeemer and Savior.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Donald J. Kettler
Bishop of Saint Cloud