The Month of Mary with St. Francis de Sales

“Let us run to Mary, and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence.”
Saint Francis de Sales

As we head into a May weekend, I am posting a bit of information on a book which was written in 1890 by Don Gaspar Gilli, and is titled, The Month of Mary According to the Spirit of St Francis de Sales. This book details Marian devotions specifically for the month of May according to the teachings of St. Francis de Sales (b. 1567- d. 1622). It is a wonderful work, and may be read online. Unfortunately, I have not been able to source a physical copy. If you happen to, please email me with said information.

The following is an excerpt from the book, and is Don Gilli’s advice, using the writings of St. Francis de Sales, on how a Catholic might approach the month of Mary:

  • examine what is the principal passion that you will sacrifice to Mary during the course of the month, and the grace or virtue that you propose to obtain from God by recurring to her intercession. Do not fear to ask too much, she is the Mother of God, and our Mother also.
  • approach the holy Sacraments more frequently than usual during the month, and never leave the altar of Mary without having made a spiritual communion.
  • let no day pass, or, at least, no Saturday, without practising some mortification, sanctified and directed by obedience. Our devotion, however small, said Saint John Berchmans, is always pleasing to Mary, provided it be constant. But let us not forget that interior mortifications are the most perfect; such as to abstain from speaking or looking about without necessity, etc., because in such mortifications there is less danger of vain glory, and they attack our passions in the innermost depths of the heart.
  • endeavour also to become familiar with ejaculatory prayers to Mary. This kind of prayer, says Saint Francis of Sales, may supply for every other kind, but no other kind of prayer can supply for this. Spiritual exercises without aspirations are like a firmament without stars, or a tree without leaves.
  • conclude May by an offering of the heart to Jesus and Mary after Holy Communion. And that you may more securely persevere in the service of the best of all Mothers, let it be your care to renew your resolutions every Saturday, to examine in what manner you have kept them, and by a protestation of sorrow for past omissions, and a determination of greater fidelity for the future, to repair the failings of the week.

The following is another excerpt from the book. It is the meditation for the twentieth day of May, where the author, with St. Francis de Sales, speaks of the prayer, the Hail Mary:

Let us glory, says a pious author, in repeating this salutation with the Angel Gabriel, the Apostles, the Martyrs, and all the Christian world. Let this Ave Maria, which comes to us fragrant as a Canticle of heaven, and repeated by as many echoes as there are faithful souls on earth, be sweet to our lips, and sweeter still to our hearts. It is a rare and enviable favour indeed to be able to salute a queen, and yet every day, at every moment, men and women, old and young, all of every condition, can salute the Queen of heaven and earth, who contains in her hands all the treasures of God, and can be sure of being always heard, and that each salutation addressed to her will meet with a corresponding benefit. . . . But can the sinner also dare to approach her? Yes, certainly; let him also come with humble confidence and salute her who is his refuge, for she will in no wise be offended by his prayer; and if the Hail Mary from his lips be a cry of sorrow and repentance, it will become omnipotent, and will obtain mercy, pardon, grace, and salvation. Hail Mary ! Ave Maria / . . . A sweet and
beautiful word it is, which heaven sent to earth,, and earth again returns so frequently
to heaven!

Yes, as Catholics we have the privilege of saluting a queen in the recitation of the Hail Mary; and, this is no mere earthly queen, but the Queen of heaven and earth; and each salutation addressed to her will meet with a corresponding benefit (paraphrase from above quote).

Hail Mary!

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

May you have a good weekend in the glorious month of Mary.