Monday, 30 April 2018

May is Mary's Month

May is Mary’s month, and I

Muse at that and wonder why

Lines from the Poem, The May Magnificat, by the 19th Century Jesuit Priest and Poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins. May is traditionally regarded as a Month of Dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church. May 31st is the Feast of the Visitation of Mary, heavy with the Divine Child, to her kinswoman Elizabeth, bearing her Son, and the Lord’s cousin, John the Baptist. It is a scene pregnant with hope and holy joy. Yet perhaps it is the Feast of Pentecost, the divine outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that really helps us to understand that this is a month of divine growth and grace, when we too, with Mary, are invited to say Yes to God.

The Acts of the Apostles gives us a picture of the Disciples gathered together with Mary the Mother of Jesus in the days after the Ascension, ‘constantly devoting themselves to prayer’ (Acts 1.14). It is a picture beautifully illustrated in one of the central Panels of the Great East Window at St Mary’s, with its mixture of medieval and Victorian glass for the disciples. The great events of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost follow on from this devotion to prayer and the common life, a reminder that we should not only expect God to do great things, but also await Him prayerfully.

Those of you who attended the recent Annual Parochial meetings would have been reminded, in the Review of the Year, of so many good things that have happened here. Yet we also needed to be realistic, and to recognise some of the things we are struggling with, not least that they are fewer of us regularly attending worship than we would like there to be. That’s one of the reasons why I have been encouraging us all, over recent months, to continue to pray that the Church in Elland will grow, in faith, in love and service to God and to one another, and in numbers, praying also that our giving will increase, and our financial needs be met. Everything has to begin with prayer; that is a divine lesson that we can truly take to heart, in this, Mary’s Month of May. 

Hopkins concludes his poem

This ecstasy all through mothering earth

Tells Mary her mirth till Christ’s birth

            To remember and exultation

            In God who was her salvation

My thanks to all who hold Office as our Church Wardens and Church Council members, and to those with particular tasks and ministries, following our Parish Annual Meetings.

May the Risen Christ grant us the Gifts of the Spirit, and may Blessed Mary and the Apostles pray for us, to the Lord our God.

Fr David