Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What's the Deal With Mary and the Month of May?

It is May.

That means Catholic schools and parishes will all be having May Crowning.

About two years after my conversion, the whole Mary-and-the-month-of-May thing hit my radar. So what's with the month of May and Mary? My friend explained that the Church has set aside the month of May to honor the Blessed Mother.

Hence, May Crowning ceremonies, where living rosaries are prayed and flowers presented to the Blessed Mother and a lovely floral crown is placed upon the head of Mary.

Try explaining that to your Protestant family & friends.

You do what?

We pray the rosary...

[You've already lost them and you haven't even gotten to the part about the crown.]

Have you ever read that book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? It's kind of like that.

If you mention May and the Blessed Mother, you have to mention May Crowning.
If you mention May Crowning, you have to explain how Mary is the Queen of Heaven & Earth.
If you mention that Mary is the Queen of Heaven & Earth, you have to talk about the Assumption.
If you talk about the Assumption, you have to explain that Mary was received into Heaven, body and soul, without suffering corruption.
If you make it through all of that, you have to explain that Jesus loved her and wouldn't the perfect Son want to do that for the Mother who bore Him and loved Him and was there at the beginning of His public ministry and stayed with Him even when He was crucified on Calvary.
If you explain that she is full of grace and lived out her calling perfectly, you have to talk about the Immaculate Conception.
If you talk about the Immaculate Conception, you are going to have to talk about the Ark of the Covenant and how no man could touch it and how it prefigured Mary and how she is the New Eve and why that's all scriptural and the Book of Revelations and the Women Clothed with the Sun and how she was like Hannah, and Ruth, and Queen Esther, and Judith.
And if you make it to Judith, you are going to have to explain why Judith is not in their Protestant Bibles--but they don't know what they are missing because it is an AWESOME book.
And if you make it past the Septuagint, you are going to have to explain why the Protestant Reformers rejected it.
If you mention the Protestant Reformation, you are going to have to talk about Indulgences and the Papacy and praying to the Saints and the Rosary.
And if you talk about the Rosary, you are going to have to talk about why the prayers come right out of the Bible and the Our Father was prayed by Jesus Himself and the Hail Mary is a combination of the words of Archangel Gabriel and Saint Elizabeth.
And if you manage to explain why we pray memorized prayers, you will have to explain that we pray in many different ways and it all comes together in the Mass and the Mass fits into the Liturgical Calendar and the Liturgical Calendar takes us from Advent to Christmas to Ordinary Time to Lent to Easter to Pentecost to...
To the Blessed Mother.

And... if you mention the month of May and the Blessed Mother, you'd better put on another pot of coffee because you are about to cover the same ground all over again.

Our Faith is organic. It all fits together. It cannot be reduced to one sound byte. It lives and breathes and has a complexity and beauty that is as mysterious and glorious as the Body of Christ.

And the month of May is connected to that living, breathing complexity.

It is May. And the best way to experience Mary's month is to become as a little child. Don't try to figure it all out at once and be able to take the test on it and ace it on your first try.

Just go cut some flowers and lay them at her feet.

Pick up you rosary and pray the Glorious Mysteries.

Or simply plan to learn the Hail Mary if you have never even tried to do that before.

Sometimes, the best way to discover Jesus is to let His mother lead you to Him, to show you the stable & manger, to let you catch a glimpse of Him in the Temple when she finally found Him, to listen as she tells the apostles to do whatever Jesus says and then to watch as those same apostles fill the jars with water and pour out wine, to hold her trembling hand as she watches her Son die in agony before her eyes, to pray with her in the upper room, to stand with her when the Holy Spirit comes.

Sometimes, the best way to find Christ is to let yourself find Mary, the one who magnifies the Lord.

Embrace the simple elegance of it.



  1. As an early child educator, I love how you used the analogy of 'If You Give a Mouse a Cookie' and yet these cookie crumbs lead us on a much more gratifying and glorious trail to Jesus through Mary! Excited for May and our Blessed Mother :)

  2. Beautiful post! Thanks a lot for sharing this! It is through the Mother Mary that I learned more about Jesus Christ. I am really looking forward to celebrating this month all for our Blessed mother. :)

  3. I just found your blog and love your writing style and content. This was a delightful blog on the Blessed Mother. I'm a revert from evangelical Christianity, so could so identify trying to explain this to protestant friends! :)