Back then I didn't know anything about Beltane or other pre-Christian May Day celebrations. What I knew was that I got to wear my awesome dress and veil again, this time at Central Catholic, home of that particular BVM statue and the same place where my mother went to high school.
I remember another May Day in which I attended a May-crowning at a cloistered convent of nuns in my hometown, the same community in which Mother Angelica was formed. They had Eucharist to go with it, but as an elderly woman was warbling "Ave Maria" in the choir loft, I was sneaking Smarties into my mouth. My mom caught me and we didn't go up to receive communion. No fast, no feast!
May, mainly in Roman Catholic circles, is celebrated as the month of Mary. I'm no longer Roman Catholic, but I belong to an Episcopalian religious community named after St. Mary of the Annunciation, so honoring her is something I do a lot.
I could crown my community's chapel statue of Mary with flowers today, but if I did, I would want to crown my Benedictine siblings with flowers as well (female and male alike!). Mary shows the Christian world what it means to dare to say yes to bearing God into the world. Mary was pregnant with God's presence well after she gave birth to Jesus. She showed Christians how to hear God's call and allow ourselves, in our unique contexts, to bear God's presence in our very bodies. We bear God into the world in our brokenness as well as our wholeness, in our failings as well as our achievements. Every bit of us, every inch of us, every act of us, every memory of us has the potential to bear God's loving, merciful presence.
Whose God-bearing presence will I honor this May Day?