We are now in the fifth month of the year: May. The grass is green, flowers and plants of all kinds are flourishing, and animals are awake, ready for another few months of warmth. May is a month of beauty and new life. But more importantly, it is the month of Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mother. How did this come to be?
Let’s start with the ancient Greeks and Romans. May was dedicated to the goddess Artemis by the Greeks, and the goddess Flora by the Romans. Each people had their own ways of celebrating this month of warmth and beauty. As often happened in ancient times, the Church then took the pagan tradition and converted it into a Christian devotion. Mary brought the Son of God, life Itself, into the world. It was fitting, then, for Mary to supersede the old, pagan springtime goddesses as the true mother of new life. In this way, May, through the spread of the Catholic Faith, came to be the month dedicated to the Mother of God.
Some say that it was not until the thirteenth century that people began to really appreciate the significance of May as the month of Our Lady. It was due to the efforts of the Jesuit order that the devotion spread worldwide in the eighteenth century. Over the years many popes, too, have preached on this devotion.
What a beautiful practice! We have an entire month dedicated specifically to honor our loving mother. During May we should take time to honor Our Blessed Lady, asking for her intercession and help. Since this is her month, let us use this time wisely that we may, through the Blessed Virgin Mary, obtain eternal life in Christ her Son.
“O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today, Queen of the Angels and queen of the May” – From a traditional Marian hymn: “Bring Flowers of the Rarest”