We've had some hot weather in the last couple of weeks. The summer in Rome is even worse when it comes to heat. I think of this as we approach August 5, the feast of the Dedication of St. Mary Major, one of the four major basilicas in Rome. Legend has it that a Roman patrician and his wife were without heirs and wished to give all their possessions to the Blessed Virgin Mary. They prayed, asking for her intercession that she would show them how to honor her. On August 5, in the midst of the brutally hot Roman summer, snow fell on the Esquiline Hill. Following a vision they had, they built a basilica in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the spot where the snow had fallen. That basilica is the Basilica of St. Mary Major, found in Rome today on that very spot. Hence, we honor Our Lady under the title of Our Lady of the Snows. We especially this feast at St. Mary of the Snows.
May has traditionally been called the month of Mary, and October has been called the month of the Rosary. August is in many ways a month of Mary as well. We celebrate the aforementioned feast of August 5. We have the Holy Day of Obligation and Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15, and we celebrate the Queenship of Mary on August 22. Additionally, we celebrate the feasts of saints who had strong devotion or promoted devotion to Mary: St. Alphonsus Liguori (August 1), St. John Vianney (August 4), St. Dominic (August 8, legend has it that Mary gave the Rosary to Dominic to promote), and St. Bernard of Clairvaux (August 20, legend has it that he composed the prayer the Memorare).
Perhaps we could all pray a 54 day Rosary novena, praying the Rosary everyday for 54 days, beginning on the Assumption (August 15) and leading up to the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7. May we all grow in devotion to Mary, asking that she lead us closer to the heart of her Son, Jesus Christ. Have a great week!