Mary Help of Christians

By Zoe Cannon

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” — Genesis 3:15

The “New Eve” — Mary, the Mother of God — is the woman mentioned in Genesis, and we know whose head is crushed. We read in Scripture about the powerful role Mary played in the Incarnation of Jesus, by fulfilling the prophecy of salvation for the world. God safeguards everything He created from opposition to His love.

In Ephesians 2:15, Christ is said to have “abolished in His flesh the enmity,” through the victory of the Cross. We need to understand the meaning of absolute Truth from the Word of God to challenge the declining morality in our society. Relativism has influenced the world with hostility toward God. It is sad that people have lost the ability to understand unconditional love or accept that suffering is redemptive. The Catholic Church offers grace in the Sacraments and many ways to empower us for the battle against evil.

There are many reasons we honor the Blessed Mother during the month of May, and every Saturday is dedicated to Mary through the Mass and the Office of Readings. These weekly Saturday devotions have been an ancient custom since the early days in the Church of Rome when St. Mary Major was built under Pope Liberius in 352- 366.

The Feast of Mary Help of Christians is celebrated on May 24. St. John Chrysostom was the first to use this Marian title in the year 345. During the Middle Ages, this title was established as a defense from non-Christian peoples for Christian Europe, the north of Africa and the Middle East. Victory was achieved through the intercession of Mary when Pope Pius V encouraged the Christian armies to pray to Our Mother during the invasion of the Ottoman Empire. On May 17, 1903, Pope Leo XIII granted a Canonical Coronation and enshrined the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin, Italy.

In 1917, the Blessed Mother visited three children at Fatima; and during one of the six apparitions that year, they saw a vision of the reality of hell. One of the visionaries, Sister Maria Lucia of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart, wrote in a letter, “The final Confrontation between the Lord and Satan will be over Family and Marriage, but do not be afraid. Our Lady already crushed his head.”

In 1925, Our Lady appeared again to Sister Lucia and revealed The Five First Saturdays Devotion, also known as the Act of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In this message, Our Lady told Sister Maria Lucia, “I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, recite the Rosary, and meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation to me.”

Our world needs the friendship of Jesus and Mary’s help! Christians are persecuted every day, the attack on family and marriage in our culture is real! The First Saturday Devotion is available every month at Sts. Mary and John Parish on Cherry Street in Evansville with Father Benny Alikandayil Chacko. Plan to attend with your family, and invite a friend to this Saturday morning devotion of prayer. Since the beginning of creation, God has loved us! Pray for a world free of hostility toward our loving Father in Heaven. He is our salvation! Amen!