I have always been aware of the May Crowning ceremony that our school celebrates. This year, our school celebrated a May Crowning ceremony on May 4th. A young woman was selected for the honor of placing a wreath of flowers as a crown on the head of the Blessed Mother statue in the church.
This is a symbolic action that carries much meaning. The Blessed Mother was always available to serve and not to be served. This is why we pray to her so easily. As someone always available to serve, she always hears our prayers and rushes to help us. Her willingness encourages us to rely on her. Her willingness, additionally, role models for us a deeper way of living with her Son. As she does, so should we.
The Holy Family so inspired the early church that they just knew that they had to transform the world, because it just did not live this way. From this mentality came missionary activity, but, in addition to missionary orders, was an invitation from the Church for all of us to participate in missionary activity ourselves and to bring Christ to others.
This is an ongoing struggle, as sometimes the overall society sometimes transforms us, rather than the church transforming it. Examples of this back and forth movement of the Church transforming society and society returning the favor can be found throughout Church history. If one were to look at our relationship to society today, one might find current examples of this. For one example, we must note that we live in a consumer society.
Listening to Church teachings, we learn that we are invited to transform our society so that each person would love the next person for him/herself and not for what can be gotten from them. Each person ought to be perceived as a human being and not a product. Now, our society has changed, but much work needs to be yet accomplished. But, on the other hand, don’t we ourselves, both ordained and non-ordained, sometimes view our church along consumers lines? Such attitudes can easily discourage vocations.
Anything from Christ that is put into practice will always prove to be a blessing. And so, you will always find young people, men and women, eager to enter the priesthood and the religious life, if what motivates them is a hunger for God, and they find that this hunger is supported by the people around them. In a service oriented Church, as role modeled by the Blessed Mother, everyone serves and supports everyone. Priests and lay people support each other. All parishes then become a living cell, and as a living cell, we work through prayer and service to transform our society, and not transforming us.
All of this meaning lies behind the crowning of the Blessed Mother and our referring to her as the Queen of Heaven and Earth. When we place a crown on her, we are saying that her way of life is supreme and is victorious over all the lesser values that currently exist in our world and in the societies that compose it.
Peace, Fr. Walter