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May is Mary's month, and I
Muse at that and wonder why:
Her feasts follow reason,
Dated due to season-
Candlemas, Lady Day;
But the Lady Month, May,
Why fasten that upon her,
With a feasting in her honour?
Is it only its being brighter
Than the most are must delight her?
Is it opportunest
And flowers finds soonest?
Ask of her, the mighty mother:
Her reply puts this other
Question: What is Spring?-
Growth in every thing-
Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
Grass and greenworld all together;
Throstle above her nested
Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin
Forms and warms the life within;
And bird and blossom swell
In sod or sheath or shell.
All things rising, all things sizing
Mary sees, sympathising
With that world of good,
Their magnifying of each its kind
With delight calls to mind
How she did in her stored
Magnify the Lord.
Well but there was more than this:
Spring's universal bliss
Much, had much to say
To offering Mary May.
Bloom lights the orchard-apple
And thicket and thorp are merry
With silver-surfed cherry
And azuring-over greybell makes
Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes
And magic cuckoocall
Caps, clears, and clinches all-
This ecstasy all through mothering earth
Tells Mary her mirth till Christ's birth
To remember and exultation
In God who was her salvation.
May Magnificat by Gerard Manley Hopkins
I believe I have come to the conclusion that May is my favorite month, and Hopkins explains why. With all her splendor, the earth is magnifying the Lord, proclaiming the glory of God her creator. As the sun finally breaks out of the winter clouds, creation comes to life. All the vegetation that has been dormant revives. May is Mary’s month for this very reason. Just as the Blessed Virgin Mary magnified the Lord with her life, so May in a special way proclaims the glory of God and all creation rejoices in His salvation.
God came down to earth to take on our humanity, a little babe in the womb of Mary, to take that same humanity to the heights of heaven. All creation proclaims His glory and rejoices in His salvation. Another Hopkins poem begins, “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.” Charged with His divine life, humanity, made in His image and likeness is charged, full of grace die to the wonderful gift given her through the Blessed Virgin Mary. May we bask in this light, delight in His love, and ponder the wonderful things that are happening around us as our Lord ascends to the heights of Heaven and we prepare ourselves to receive the gift of the Spirit, the giver of life, which He will send down upon us in just one week.
Come Holy Spirit, spouse of the Virgin Mary!
Fr. Jack D. Shrum
For more of Father Jack's reflections click here