Her statue smiled at us. Every May, in various cultures and regions, we relive an ancient tradition of weaving a crown or small wreath of flowers that we then place upon the head of a statue of Mary with songs and celebration, honoring God's own Mother. Normally, a more solemn approach is taken in public communities, with First Communicant young girls dressing up in their sacramental white gowns and escorted by their male counterparts in white, tan and navy suits. Last year, however, one of our young daughters asked to organize a private ceremony at our home, all by herself. We agreed, and she promptly invited friends and went about organizing the day. The morning of our May Crowning, she wandered around the landscaping of our small California backyard, collecting white rose petals into baskets. When she had gathered the small group of guests around the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe in our back patio, she proceeded with her friends to lead probably the wildest most joyful party of a May Crowning I had ever participated in. They launched loads of petals in the air; sang the most upbeat songs accompanied by tambourines, bells, and drums; danced like whirling ballerinas and King David before the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 6:14); somehow managed to place a crown on Our Lady's cement head with no mishap, and then continued it all some more. Think - "The Greatest Showman", as opposed to "The Song of Bernadette". Later, our daughter came to us and filled us in on her experience, "When I put the crown on Mary's head, she smiled at me!" I know she surely smiled at us. ByTradition we believe that Mary, the quintessential Mother, was assumed into heaven at the end of her life and crowned Queen of the Universe. She is Mother of Christ who is King, and from the moment of Christ’s death on the cross where He gave us His Royal Mother to be our own, Mary, is also our Mother. She knows us personally and intimately. She knows our deep joys, and deep griefs, our virtue and our misgivings. She knows it all because she has always known His. On this day when we celebrate Mothers, we share with you this blessing which you can impart upon the Mothers in your own lives - Moms, Grandmas, Wives, Religious & Spiritual Mothers, etc. So simple in its form and pronouncement, and yet profound in its act, blessing people around us is tied directly back to our entire purpose as mankind - “to bless and be blessed” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1669). When we bless, the graces of that blessing also come back to us! When we contemplate that timeless scene of a lowly Hebrew woman receiving a crown of 12 stars at the hand of her God - man Son, with all of creation honoring her Maternal vocation and her selfless ‘yes’, we are reminded of our own purpose to love greatly in this life so that we might enjoy eternal love in the next. What higher good can we offer to the women in our lives who have loved us, healed us, nurtured us, cared for us, prayed for us? Moreover - a little secret here - Mother's day can actually be painful for a lot of moms. A day when she should feel celebrated feels the opposite. There are expectations that aren't met, activities that happen when she just wants a "day off", husbands and children that barely even notice (and still expect her to cook), a sense of self doubt and Mom guilt that pervades her soul, or even the shadows of disappointments and wounds from broken relationships with mothers and mother in laws, or worse yet, the grief at the loss of children or mothers no longer with us. The blessing is a soothing reminder that Mother's Day honors the essence of motherhood, not necessarily it's perfection. A gift to her that is worth more than anything else.
So amidst all the flowers you buy for her, the acts of love, the cards you send...remember to take the time to bless her too.
To read more on this beautiful tradition of May Crowning, go here: https://aleteia.org/2020/05/07/this-heartwarming-may-tradition-will-help-your-children-love-mary/?utm_campaign=NL_en&utm_source=daily_newsletter&utm_medium=mail&utm_content=NL_en
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