The Month of May
In many Christian communities the month of May is especially linked to the cult of the Virgin Mary. The "prayer of flowers" is an exercise in popular piety, an invocation addressed to the Mother of Jesus: "Come, and let us all go with flowers to Mary, who is our Mother."
Christian people, with the wisdom of the simple, has related the month of May, in which the fields are dressed in splendour, with Our Lady; she herself wanted to appear to the little shepherds in Fatima on May 13, 1917.
I have read Vicente Haya's interpretation of the passage about the Annunciation of the Angel to Mary. From the root of the Gospel text in Aramaic, comes to the conclusion that God seeks in the Nazarene Virgin his garden. The intimate, protected place, a figure that evokes the first garden of creation.
I was surprised with the interpretation he makes of the expression: "And the strength of the most high will cover you with its shadow", by which not only does God seek in Mary his garden, but, in turn, Mary finds her protection and her garden in God.
At the beginning of the month, I travel to Fatima in the centennial year of the death of the pastor Francisco San Martos, along with fifty pilgrims, to thank the Virgin for her special protection and intercession during my fifty years as a priest, during which I have lived intimate moments.
I keep some memories alive in my relationship with the Virgin of Fatima. It happened to me on October 8, 1985. That year I had the desire to forge a community of priests in Buenafuente. For different reasons it did not happen. Some friends from Lisbon questioned me, as the cause of the community project failure. But that day, I visited Fatima, and when I saw the chapel of the apparitions I felt in an unmistakable and certain way a promise: "Do not be afraid, I will do it". And very soon the community of priests came to be, which lasts until today.
On October 13, 2007, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the apparitions, I was sitting on the stairs of the Basilica of Fatima, praying Vespers, and a man approached me, I thought he would like to confess. In the dialogue that we established, I asked him where he was from, and on learning that he was from Fatima, and because of his age, I expressed my admiration, because he sure, as a child, would have heard about the apparitions, to which he answered affirmatively . It turned out that he was a nephew of the little shepherds, and he gave me the signed book in which the facts were best described, just as he heard them from his father.
How can I not remember the morning when, when I got up, a thought was imposed on me, as dictated by the Virgin: "Invite me, invite me, invite me!" I was so shocked that I mentioned it to my Bishop, and it was the origin of the visit that the pilgrim image of Our Lady of Fatima made to our diocese, during the month of May 2017, centenary of the apparitions.
I invite you to find each day a moment of prayer, in which you make a small offering to the Virgin, in the manner of a flower. I promise to pray at Fatima for all of you.