Today and next weekend I would like us to reflect on Mary and month of May.
The month of May is traditionally dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. May is a month of growth, when nature is reborn. This month normally belongs to the Easter season, between Easter and Pentecost. Many Catholics may be aware that May is consecrated to Mary, but it may be unclear why this month was selected for this particular distinction. Other months have more important feasts dedicated to Our Lady, such as August (Feast of the Assumption) and December (Feast of the Immaculate Conception). What is it about this month that makes it a fitting time to reflect on the Virgin Mary’s role in salvation and to honor her as the Mother of God?
The tradition of dedicating the month of May to Our Lady is centuries old, dating back at least 700 years. Blessed Pope Paul VI wrote an encyclical on the month of May, focusing on the Virgin Mary. He wrote that the piety of the faithful has long dedicated the month of May to the Mother of God. He stated in his encyclical, Mense Maio:
We are delighted and consoled by this pious custom associated with the month of May, which pays honor to the Blessed Virgin and brings such rich benefits to the Christian people. Since Mary is rightly to be regarded as the way by which we are led to Christ, the person who encounters Mary cannot help but encounter Christ likewise.
The reason for dedicating May to Our Lady is associated with the particular season of the year. May is certainly known for its springtime beauty (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). It is associated with flowers and blossoms, with trees which spring back to life, and grass which sprouts. It brings to mind the idea of promise and hope, of new life. Blessed John Henry Newman offers various reasons why May in particular is dedicated to Our Lady in “Meditations and Devotions”. He states:
The first reason is because it is the time when the earth bursts forth into its fresh foliage and its green grass after the stern frost and snow of winter and the raw atmosphere and the wild wind and rain of the early spring. It is because the blossoms are upon the trees and the flowers are in the gardens. It is because the days have got long, and the sun rises early and sets late. For such gladness and joyousness of external Nature is a fit attendant on our devotion to her who is the Mystical Rose and the House of Gold.
Viva Cristo Rey!
Download: 2021-05-23 St Pats Bulletin