Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Marian devotion

One of my first "Catholic" memories has always been the May Crowning. The songs are still—and always—in my head.

Hail, holy Queen enthroned above, oh Maria.
Hail, mother of mercy and of love, oh Maria.
Triumph all ye cherubim, Sing with us ye seraphim.
Heaven and earth resound the hymn.
Salve, Salve, Salve Regina.

One of the defining aspects of being Catholic is devotion to Mary. The Marian celebration recognizes Mary as queen of heaven and earth. To a person of any age, this is a mighty big title, but to a child, it expands to enchanting, magical proportions. How many queens does one get a chance to meet in a lifetime, much less crown?

May Crowning marked a new spiritual season. Our Mary, queen of heaven and earth, lifted us right out of the last long, cold days of winter and firmly planted our hearts in the warm and promising soil of spring.

In all of our Marianist high schools we set aside time last week to focus on Mary in a particular way. We offer the prayers of the church for bringing Mary to us, and we are grateful to Mary for bringing us her Son. We may never have discovered the gaze of Jesus if I had not first felt the maternal, nurturing, and safe embrace of our mother in heaven. That's why we crown her on our Catholic version of Mother's Day.