For those of us who were raised up North, May is a month of wonderful memories. Winter is finally, certifiably as dead as the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz. Down here in Houston, spring came and went in February or March and is now a distant memory.
No matter where in the USA you live, May is the month for graduations, weddings, Confirmations, First Communions, and Mothers’ Day.
May is also traditionally the month of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Since May is officially spring time in our hemisphere, it should be no surprise that new life, fertility and motherhood are especially honored. It’s fitting that Mary, as THE mother in the Christian tradition, should hold a place of honor.
One of the cultural traditions in the Church is the May Crowning. According to this ritual, children process with fresh spring flowers to the image of Mary and one lucky young girl is tasked with placing a spring crown on the brow of the statue.
Now this may sound strange to some or pagan to others. But think about it.
What do we use to honor deceased loved ones? What do we place at the scene of remembering? What do we use to decorate the sanctuary on the big feast days? What do the members of wedding parties wear to distinguish their special role on the happy day? How do we speak love on Valentine’s Day, joy at homecoming, get well after surgery?
From the cradle to the grave, flowers touch us with their beauty, bring back memories with their scent, comfort us, and bring us joy.
This May, I invite you to remember the gift of healthy motherhood. I invite you to recall that Jesus came among us and was formed in his growing up years by a wonderful, healthy human mom. I invite you to remember that Mary was not only his mother, but his gift to all of us to be our mother, too (John 19:25-29).
This May, place a statue or an image of Mary in your home or your room. Remember her as the one who birthed Life himself and who helped God to bring a springtime of hope and new life into the darkness of sin and death. Find a fresh flower, a bouquet or a potted flowering plant and place it near the image of Mary. Flowers are good for the soul. They also remind us that the image of the Mother is a representation of one who is alive and beautiful.
Ask Mary to help you by her prayers to do the one great thing she did best: follow in the footsteps of her Son (Luke 1:38; 11:27-28).