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An American friend of mine defined a multilingual as somebody who speaks many languages. A bilingual person is somebody who speaks two languages. What do you call somebody who speaks only one language? American.

The need to speak a common language is evident if we want business to prosper, politics and government to be stable, and people to be brothers and sisters. Perhaps, we can attribute the economic prosperity and political stability of the United States to the fact that Americans speak a common language. The accents may differ, but the language is the same from east to west, from north to south.

The Philippines is composed of approximately 7,200 islands. Many dialects prevent us from communicating from region to region. English and Filipino are spoken nationwide. However, if you scratch the tongue of the Filipinos, you will find a common language spoken… it is the language of Mary. No matter what dialect you speak or what type of accent you put into the English language, the love of Mary is the common language that unites the Philippine archipelago.

It is true that there have been abuses in the exercises of Marian piety in the past. But these abuses are the objects of the Church’s constant call for reform. In a few days, the month of May will come to a close. May is the Marian month in the Philippines. May is the month of the Flores de Maria, the Filipino devotion of offering flowers to the image of At the heart of every Filipino is a woman. Mary is the language that we Filipinos speak and understand. We do not adore Mary because adoration belongs to God. We cannot kneel down to worship Mary because worship belongs to God. But we are grateful, we are proud, of a beautiful sinless woman like her because she is one of us.

Mary was chosen, sinless and stainless. We are proud of her. Mary gives us every opportunity, every occasion, to stand ten feet high because she is one of us.

Perhaps we can no longer imitate Mary in her innocence–we have lost our innocence. Perhaps we can no longer imitate Mary in her sinlessness–we have committed innumerable sins. But even if we cannot imitate Mary in her innocence, we can still imitate Mary in her obedience.

Her obedience made her even more beautiful before God. She was beautiful by herself, but she was made even more beautiful by her obedience to the will of the Father.

We, who have been made ugly by sins, who have so many bruises, so many scars of sins, can still be made beautiful if we follow Mary’s obedience.

No longer innocent; we do not ask the Lord to restore our innocence. That is too late. But we can ask the Lord to make us more obedient so that in being obedient, we become more beautiful before God and before the Church.

Let me share with you the little story I read from Gilbert Chesterton. It seems some people were walking one day on the rocky wastes of Donegal in Ireland as daylight was ending and the night was about to fall. Unexpectedly they met a young mother, a beautiful peasant woman, carrying a child in her arms. Curious, they stopped and asked her who she might be. She answered them in words they would not forget:

I am the Mother of God
and this is Himself,
and this is the boy
you will all be wanting at the last.
This is my hope.

Jesus Our Light

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