Flowers in Mary's month tie us closely to the reawakening earth. The time of Resurrection and expectant Pentecost is one of buds, blossoms, wildflowers, and greening of meadows and lawns. Days lengthen and we welcome the warmth of the sun after the long winter. Jesus is risen and is present in our midst, and so we rise and ascend with him.
Overview of May
The month of May is dedicated to The Blessed Virgin Mary. The entire month falls within the liturgical season of Easter, which is represented by the liturgical color white — the color of light, a symbol of joy, purity and innocence (absolute or restored). As Spring blossoms forth and we are surrounded by new life, we spend this month full of the joy of our Easter celebration and in anticipation of the coming of the Holy Spirit, our Consoler and Advocate.
· The world is resplendent with Spring's increased light and new growth. It is Mary’s month in the Easter season and all of nature rejoices with the Queen of heaven at the Resurrection of the Son she was worthy to bear. During the remainder of Easter time, let us endeavor through the prayers of the Holy Liturgy and the Holy Rosary to deepen our gratitude for the mystery of our Baptismal rebirth in Christ.
· "The month of May, with its profusion of blooms was adopted by the Church in the eighteenth century as a celebration of the flowering of Mary's maidenly spirituality, with its origins in Isaiah's prophecy of the Virgin birth of the Messiah under the figure of the Blossoming Rod or Root of Jesse, the flower symbolism of Mary was extended by the Church Fathers, and in the liturgy, by applying to her the flower figures of the Sapiential Books-Canticles, Wisdom, Proverbs and Sirach.
· "In the medieval period, the rose was adopted as the flower symbol of the Virgin Birth, as expressed in Dante's phrase, 'The Rose wherein the Divine Word was made flesh,' and depicted in the central rose windows of the great gothic cathedrals-from which came the Christmas carol, 'Lo, How a Rose 'ere Blooming.' Also, in the medieval period, when monasteries were the centers of horticultural and agricultural knowledge, and with the spread of the Fransiscan love of nature, the actual flowers themselves, of the fields, waysides and gardens, came to be seen as symbols of Mary…" – John S. Stokes
· Pentecost, the birth of the Church, is also among the celebrations of May. Though sprung from the side of Christ on the Cross, the Church marks as her birthday the descent of the Holy Spirit on Mary and the Apostles. At the 'birth' of the world, the Holy Spirit — the Breath of God — was the "mighty wind [that] swept over the waters" (Gen 1:2); at the birth of the Church He is present again "like the rush of a mighty wind" to recreate the world in the image of Christ through His Church (Acts 2:2).
We, the members of Christ’s Mystical Body, are the present-day disciples sent by the Holy Spirit to bring Christ to the world. May we go forth as did Mary, who set out in haste to assist St. Elizabeth (feast of the Visitation, May 31). Come upon us, O Holy Spirit, so that, with Mary, we may proclaim the greatness of the Lord who has done great things for us — for his mercy endures forever!
It is a very old tradition to make pilgrimages during the month of May to shrines dedicated to Mary. Although this author is writing about the country of England, even in America there are shrines, basilicas, cathedrals or churches that one can visit in a pilgrimage.
MAY 1 Wednesday
MAY DAY-ST. JOSEPH THE WORKER
Acts, Chapter 5, verse 26
26Then the captain and the court officers went and brought them in, but without force, because they were afraid of being stoned by the people.
The apostles were brought before the Sanhedrin for trial. These temple priests which were instrumental in causing the crucifixion of Christ were now enflamed with jealousy over the apostles; who by the resurrection of Christ no longer feared death or taxes. The people began to believe, and the world was never the same.
The apostles after their release immediately resumed public teaching, they rendered unto God what was God’s.
The apostles filled with the Holy Spirit were not afraid anymore. They practiced obedience, commitment, healthy relationships and faith. They had generous hearts.
Building Generosity into your life
Effective leaders gather for others then give it away. This is God’s economy which is radically different. By releasing our grasp and not clinging to our possessions we become more like Him who had nothing; the one who gave the only resource He had--Himself.
1. Be grateful for whatever you have.
2. Put people first.
3. Don’t allow greed to control you.
4. Regard money as a resource.
5. Develop the habit of giving.
Amoris Lætitia The Experiences and Challenges of Families-The Current Reality of the Family
The welfare of the family is decisive for the future of the world and that of the Church. Families are faced with the growing danger represented by an extreme individualism (which the world professes) which weakens family bonds and ends up considering each member of the family as an isolated unit, leading in some cases to the idea that one’s personality is shaped by his or her desires, which are considered absolute”. The tensions created by an overly individualistic culture, caught up with possessions and pleasures, leads to intolerance and hostility in families. Freedom of choice makes it possible to plan our lives and to make the most of ourselves. Yet if this freedom lacks noble goals or personal discipline, it degenerates into an inability to give oneself generously to others. It is easy nowadays to confuse genuine freedom with the idea that each individual can act arbitrarily, as if there were no truths, values and principles to provide guidance, and everything were possible and permissible. The ideal of marriage, marked by a commitment to exclusivity and stability, is swept aside whenever it proves inconvenient or tiresome. The fear of loneliness and the desire for stability and fidelity exist side by side with a growing fear of entrapment in a relationship that could hamper the achievement of one’s personal goals.
The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times, with the Floralia, festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, held on April 27 during the Roman Republic era, and with the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries. The day was a traditional summer holiday in many pre-Christian European pagan cultures. As Europe became Christianized, the pagan holidays lost their religious character and May Day changed into a popular secular celebration. A significant celebration of May Day occurs in Germany where it is one of several days on which St. Walburga, credited with bringing Christianity to Germany. The secular versions of May Day, observed in Europe and America, may be best known for their traditions of dancing around the maypole and crowning the Queen of May. Fading in popularity since the late 20th century is the giving of "May baskets," small baskets of sweets or flowers, usually left anonymously on neighbors’ doorsteps. Since the 18th century, many Roman Catholics have observed May – and May Day – with various May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In works of art, school skits, and so forth, Mary's head will often be adorned with flowers in a May crowning. May 1 is also one of two feast days of the Catholic patron saint of workers St Joseph the Worker, a carpenter, husband to Mother Mary, and surrogate father of Jesus. Replacing another feast to St. Joseph, this date was chosen by Pope Pius XII in 1955 as a counterpoint to the Communist International Workers Day celebrations on May Day.
May Day Facts & Quotes
· Roman Catholics celebrate May as Mary's month, and May Day is celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
· May Day is also recognized as International Worker's Day, or Labor Day. This day commemorates workers rights and the labor movement. One popular cause that this day commemorates is the eight-hour workday.
· During the Haymarket Affair of 1886, more than a dozen people were killed after a 3-day strike and rally. US Labor Unions had agreed upon a general nationwide strike on May 1, 1886 in support of an eight-hour work day. One such rally, held outside the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, Chicago, Illinois, became violent when police fired into the crowd of striking workers. Outraged, the worker's organized another rally the next day at Haymarket Square. The rally became violent when a bomb was thrown into a crowd of police. Seven officers were killed. A very public trial ensued which ended in the public hanging of four anarchists.
· In France, it is customary to give a sweet smelling flower called the spring of lily of the valley (a symbol of springtime) on May 1st. The tradition started in 1561 when King Charles IX of France received a lily of the valley as a lucky charm.
· All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence. – Martin Luther King Jr.
· May Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Dance around a Maypole. Decorate a tall pole with garlands of flowers and ribbons. Have a group of friends each take a ribbon and dance around the pole, interweaving the ribbons to form a braided affect. The braid can be undone by retracing one's steps.
· Have a picnic outdoors in the sunshine.
· Attend a May Day Festival.
· Visit a local fresh air market.
· Watch a film relating to worker’s rights. Our favorite films on the topic:
1) The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
2) Office Space (1999)
3) Caesar Chavez (2014)
1) The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
2) Office Space (1999)
3) Caesar Chavez (2014)
Things to Do
· May 1 is celebrated in Communist countries as the Day of the International Solidarity of Workers. Today would be a good day to pray for athesistic Communism's influence to cease and a proper application of the principles explained by Leo XIII in Rerum novarum and John Paul II in Centesimus annus to be the guide used by nations.
· Manhood of Christ Day 1, Ninth Week.
 John Maxwell, The Maxwell Leadership Bible.
 Pope Francis, Encyclical on Love.