It is May. That means Catholic schools and parishes will 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 Mary and the month of May?” I asked my cradle Catholic friend. She explained that the Church has set aside the month of May to honor the Blessed Mother – hence, May Crowning. It’s time to pray the rosary and present the Blessed Mother with flowers and a crown, she said.
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 the children’s book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff? 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, the Immaculate Conception, the Ark of the Covenant, the New Eve and why that's all scriptural. You’ll have to crack open the Bible and look at the Book of Revelations and the “women clothed with the sun” and explain how Mary was prefigured by Hannah, Ruth, 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 Judith is the most amazing widow in Salvation History.
And if you find yourself back to the Bible, you are going to have to talk about the rosary again and how those prayers come right out of the Bible because Jesus prayed the Our Father, and the Hail Mary is a combination of the words of Archangel Gabriel and Saint Elizabeth.
And if you manage to explain why Catholics 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, and then 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 bite. 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 intricacy.
Let’s face it. The best way to experience Mary's month is to become a little child. Don't try to figure it all out at once like someone cramming for a final exam.
Just go cut some flowers and lay them at her feet. Pick up your rosary and pray the Glorious Mysteries. Or simply plan to learn the Hail Mary if you have never tried to do that.
For you see, it all comes down to this:
Sometimes, the best way to find Christ is to let yourself find Mary. Embrace the simple elegance of it and the organic complexity will fall into place.