Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins began a poem to the Lady Mary this way: “May is Mary’s month, and I / Muse at that and wonder why.” I read it in his own handwriting at St. Beuno’s in Wales, where Hopkins wrote it during his Jesuit formation.
Another Jesuit, Cardinal Carlo Martini, perhaps responds to Hopkins’ question – and to mine and ours, too – in a meditation he wrote. He pointed out that the Lady Mary is the first fruit of Jesus Christ’s redemptive action.
Moreover, she made real in her life and in her self the perfect union with what the Father wants done on earth. When you muse on it, Mary already achieved what the Church yearns to bring about: the presence of Jesus Christ in our flesh, on earth. Mary, Cardinal Martini wrote, “is the icon of the goal of all that is to be done, of all that is to be prayed for, of all that is to be worked toward, of all the sacrifices of the Church.”
Could it be that, for us disciples of Christ, equality does not quite catch everything about the relationship of the sexes? Clearly, there are times and moments when the woman is greater than the man. Still another Jesuit, the Bishop of Rome, pointed out that Mary is greater than all the bishops.
We men will have to get over our tensions with our mothers. My father let me make my own mistakes, greeting them only with a grimace. My mother tried to keep me from making them, and with a smile. That’s pretty much the way it is with God the Lord and holy Mother Church. Now, if we can just do it with a smile – at least during May, anyhow.