“The Child Christ lives on from generation to generation in the poets, very often the frailest of [mortals], but [mortals] whose frailty is redeemed by a child’s unworldliness, by a child’s delight in loveliness, by the spirit of wonder. Christ was a poet, and all through his life the Child remains perfect in him. It was the poet, the unworldly poet, who was king of the invisible kingdom; the priests and rulers could not understand that. The poets understand it, and they, too, are kings of the invisible kingdom, vassal kings of the Lord of Love, and their crowns are crowns of thorns indeed.” ~Caryll Houselander (b. 1901- d. 1954)
We are well into May, and what a glory she is! The leaves are fresh, the grasses lush, and new flowers seem to pop out overnight, always bringing an unexpected joy amidst events in life which are often difficult in this earthly vale. But, apart from the glories of nature, May holds an even great joy to those who bear within their souls the identity of being baptized into Christ, and, as such, are children of the Most Holy Blessed Virgin Mary: May is the month dedicated in a particular way to the honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. And, so to do a bit on this theme, I am posting the ever-glorious May Magnificat by our Catholic ancestor, the Jesuit priest-poet, Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins (b. 1844- d. 1889). It begins:
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.
As we enter the month of May, when all of nature is magnifying (Hopkins), may we, in unison with the Church, magnify Our Lady.
~top image: a Marian shrine.