Have you ever wondered why the month of May is dedicated to Our Lady? In many churches, statues of Our Lady are crowned and wreathed with flowers and there are processions to honour Our Lady. Cardinal Newman speaks of May as the 'month of promise and of joy'. May is a time of Spring, when 'the earth bursts forth into its fresh foliage and its green grass... blossoms are upon the trees and the flowers are in the gardens... The days have got long, and the sun rises early and sets late'. After the bleakness of Winter, the promise of something new. The prophet Isaiah spoke too of this hope: 'There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise out of his root'. After the long wait, hope springs again: the bursting forth of nature provides a metaphor of God's life bursting forth into our world through Mary's Yes.
Gerald Manley Hopkins, the famous nineteenth Century Jesuit Poet, writes these beautiful words in his poem, 'May Magnificat':
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-surfèd 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.