Acts 1:12-14, Luke 1:26-38.
As April comes to an end and we are preparing for May devotion, the church in Africa, uses this opportunity to remind her children of the need to have recourse to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is the time to pray with Mother Mary.
Africa is a continent blessed with abundant natural resources but ravaged by insecurity, problems of leadership, war, and ethnic divides.
Through this feast, the church reminds us that we have a mother to whom we need to run to. We need our mother Mary in times of trouble to pray for us.
A Little Historical Background.
When Bishop Antoine-Adolphe Dupuch, the first bishop of Algeria was appointed in 1838 to minister to the French colonists who lived in Algeria. At a point, he felt called by God to restore Christianity to the whole population, hoping that in time it would spread from Algeria to the whole of Africa.
In the beginning, Bishop Dupuch found it very difficult to build a church because the people were hostile to the French. He went back to France for assistance.
The group in Lyon offered to the bishop a bronze statue of the Immaculate Conception and prayed that the Blessed Mother Mary would be His Protectress.
The statue was brought from France in 1840 and was entrusted to the Cistercian monks of Staueli. Later, Cardinal Lavigiers, founder of the White Sisters, enshrined it in the new basilica at Algiers. This bronze statue, very dark in colour, was known as Our Lady of Africa.
After a few years, people discover that healing and miracles occur whenever they pray before the statue. Later, Pilgrims began to come to venerate the image where the lame, the blind, and the crippled were miraculously healed, and sailors came also to beg for protection of their long and perilous voyages. Because of this, the veneration given to Mother Mary among the Muslims began to increase.
In fact this gave rise to the respect the Muslims give to Mary to this day. It is from here that the feast of our Lady of Africa began to spread. In essence, it shows the love, care and motherly kindness the blessed mother Mary has for the African continent.
In the Midst of the Unknown Pray with Mary.
Before the ascension of Christ into heaven, Jesus tells His disciples not to leave Jerusalem until they receive the Holy Spirit, (Acts 1:4).
Immediately Jesus ascends into heaven they proceed from there to the upper room. The first reading says that they joined in continuous prayers with Mary the mother of Jesus.
All the times the apostles are waiting for the gift of the Holy Spirit, they remain in prayer with His mother. This calls to what happened at the foot of the cross in John 19:25-19.
At the foot of the cross, Jesus tells His disciple who was with his mother at that time “behold your mother”. The Greek reference says Ἴδε ἡ μήτηρ σου (Ide hē mētēr sou), meaning “behold the mother of you. “Of” here denotes what belongs to someone.
Thereby, Jesus is telling his disciple, this woman here belongs to you as your mother. You have to take her as a mother. Or this is your mother, take her as one and treat her as one”
This is a command. It is not under probability. This then means that anyone who calls himself or herself the disciple of Jesus must take the mother of Jesus as a mother.
So, it is not wrong to pray with Mary or ask Mary to pray for us. You can read my post on “Ten Reasons it is not wrong to ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to Pray for us.
The disciples of Jesus kept to this. Hence, in Africa, especially in this time of crisis, let us not forget that we have a mother, who is always ready to intercede for her children.
The apostles were in the state of the unknown and they were with Mother Mary. Let us also do the same.
Jesus came to the world Through Our Lady.
The gospel is all about the annunciation of the Lord. The angel Gabriel announces to the Blessed mother that the salvation people are awaiting has to come through her.
Thereby the blessed virgin Mary became the vessel and the avenue through which Jesus came to the world. Let us also go to Jesus through her. There is no saint, no apostle that hated Mary. Let us love her. Pray with Mary often, you will see a very big change. Many saints were strong devotees to her.
Through Jesus, Mary brings forth salvation, peace, and eternal life to the world. In the same way, she can help us achieve salvation, peace and eternal life. She knows Jesus more than you do.
Mary lived with Jesus and was very close to the heart of Jesus. Thereby the easiest avenue to Jesus is the Blessed mother Mary. She makes salvation easier. She proves this at the wedding at Cana (John 2).
So, let us always remain with Mary and pray constantly with her. Our union with her will bring us close to God, make miracles easy and win our heart to Jesus.
The apostles prayed with her, the angel Gabriel visited her, Elizabeth praised God with her etc, let us also pray with Mary, sing with Mary and walk with mother Mary.
If Jesus loves His mother, then we are to do the same. Africa should have recourse to her mother . Our Lady Mother of Africa, pray for us.