May for Mary

Today we had a traditional May crowning of Mary at school. Thirty students representing the thirty households at school brought flowers forward in procession. I read e.e.cummings’ poem, ‘i thank you god for most this amazing day’ and spoke from the heart about Mary and May.

We celebrate Mary in May because May reminds us of Mary. The freshness, the deep down things are so alive in Mary and in May. The trees blooming and in bud, the birds chasing each other around because they are in love, the blue sky, the showers, the wet alive earth in Spring. Like Mary and May it is all alive and radiant and abundant and full of life and full of grace.

This, I told the children, is why I love working in a school, for I see Mary and May alive in them. I see it in their eyes, their laughter and their innocent zeal. I see the hope, the life, the potential and the grace in them, and so I thank God that I work in a school, and not in an office with rooms full of boring grown ups. I never would have chosen the work I have been given, but having been given this work I would not now choose anything else.

The prayer for the May crowning says that Mary is our destiny. She shows us what we should be, shows us what we could be, shows us what we shall be if we simply follow the way, the truth and life of her Son.

Against all this the worldly old world seems so sordid and swampy and smelly and small. What, shall we indulge in the sots and thralls of lust? When we could exalt instead in the purity and power of Mary and her Son? Shall we engage ourselves in flickering screens with shallow images when we can walk in the open air and love all that is abundant in life? Shall we plunge needles in our arms, powders up our nose and bottles to our throat for cheap and degrading pleasures when we have Mary and May and all that is abundant and free and pure and radiant and good and finally full of everlasting life?

This is Catholicism. It is real. It is full. It is alive. It is abundant. It is hilarious and free and great and good.

For me, as a priest and as a Christian man, humbly trying to follow the Master, all else is illusion.

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  • margi

    Hopkins said it beautifully. “This ecstasy all through mothering earthTells Mary her mirth till Christ’s birthTo remember and exultationIn God who was her salvation.”But you do a very good job too :-)

  • Paul Stilwell

    The dearest freshness deep down things.

  • truthfinder

    The May crowning in our parish will be this Sunday, Father — a Mother’s Day crowning for Our Blessed Mother. I will be remembering this post and the comments on that day. As a former Protestant, I have come to an appreciation of Our Lady late in my life, but I have come. Thank you for the beautiful photos!