What a Month is May

St. Mark Church Vienna VA

St. Mark Church Vienna VA

With the Feast of Pentecost less than a week ahead of us, I marvel at the fact that Easter Sunday sits roughly at the midpoint between Ash Wednesday (which seems so long ago) and today. And yet what an awesome moment to contemplate whether or not, or to what degree, this Easter Season has left its mark upon us.

People often associate Pentecost with the tongues of fire that came down upon the heads of the Apostles. Others might associate it with the rushing wind. Others still might think of the speaking in tongues. Whatever images you may have, it sounds like an event where a lot is going on.

There’s been a lot going on this month of May. In more traditional or bucolic places, May is traditionally the Month of Mary and so one thinks of Coronation processions and festivities. It is often also the time for First Communions, where often first communicants dress all in white as they process down the aisle, holy like Mary, about to receive the Word made flesh in sacrament. And of course, May is Mother’s Day, where even the secular world gives witness and honor to the origins of life.

May is also graduations. Many parishes also celebrate their Confirmations. While there is a negative side to viewing Confirmation as graduation in the sense that all that Religious Education is left behind in the past, there is also the positive side of it that points to entering into the world as an adult, in need of the Spirit’s Gifts and food for the journey, but also charged with the Church’s Mission. One graduates, so that one might do something in the world. Should this need more emphasis, we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension, in which Jesus takes leave of his disciples and returns to the Heavens. But we are not left behind, nor is his real presence. But we are left with his commissioning and the promise of the Holy Spirit.

Finally for me, May is simply “may.” It reminds me of that childhood game: “Mother, may I?” “May” points to the possibilities of what may happen or in petitions that ask “May this come to pass.” For many who work in education, after the school year and the finals and the grading period come to a close, we look upon Summer. It isn’t all vacation. In fact, it is a lot of planning for the next year ahead. So we too are at a midpoint between the past and what is ahead. It is also filled with possibilities of what we might be able to do or what we ought to ask to come to pass.

For those who entered into the Church first as Inquirers in Advent or perhaps even longer ago, they have journeyed with us through 40 days that seem so long ago, and have continued some 50 days passed Easter Sunday to come to the season’s end. The formal title for this period is MYSTAGOGY. Yet, I think all the baptized members of the Church find ourselves in this period, amazed by the mighty acts of God, speaking in tongues about all these good things that have been poured out upon us.

And for the rest we pray:

For the ugly wounds of racism that still well up,
For crimes and accidents,
For the cries of the poor amidst natural disasters or trade negotiations,
For the anniversaries of old military victories & the delicate treaties yet to be passed,
For the loved ones no longer with us or the ones here for whom we worry…

May there be pardon and peace.
May your will be done.


© Copyright 2015 Jay Cuasay
Photography: Faces, Jay Cuasay, May 2015. All Rights Reserved.


About Author

Jay Cuasay is a freelance writer on religion, interfaith relations and culture. A post-Vatican II Catholic father with a Jewish spouse, he is deeply influenced by Christian mysticism and Zen Buddhism. He was a regular columnist on Catholicism for examiner.com and a moderator and contributor to several groups on LinkedIn. His LTEs on film and Jewish Catholic relations have been published in America and Commonweal. He currently ministers to English and Spanish families at a Franciscan parish. He can be reached at TribePlatypus.com.

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