The May Magnificat is a poem by the Jesuit priest and poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1899). It is a beautiful meditation on why the month of May has traditionally been associated with our Blessed Mother. We are experiencing so much suffering in our world due to wars, terrorism, abortion, attacks on Christian marriage, and various other evils and natural disasters. Yet our Heavenly Father uses the beauty of His creation to keep before our eyes the goodness of creation and His eternal plan to fill us with joy in Christ forever.
This poem reminds us that God does renew the beauty of the earth every spring. Through our Mother Mary He would like to pour out His Holy Spirit on us once again, and “renew the face of the earth.”
The May Magnificat
By Gerard Manley Hopkins
May is Mary’s month, and I Muse at that and wonder why: Her feasts follow reason, Dated due to season—
Candlemas, Lady Day; But the Lady Month, May, Why fasten that upon her, With a feasting in her honor?
Is it only its being brighter Than the most are must delight her? Is it opportunest And flowers finds soonest?
Ask of her, the mighty mother: Her reply puts this other Question: What is Spring?— Growth in every thing—
Flesh and fleece, fur and feather, Grass and greenworld all together; Star-eyed strawberry-breasted Throstle above her nested
Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin Forms and warms the life within; And bird and blossom swell In sod or sheath or shell.
All things rising, all things sizing Mary sees, sympathizing With that world of good, Nature’s motherhood.
Their magnifying of each its kind With delight calls to mind How she did in her stored Magnify the Lord.
Well but there was more than this: Spring’s universal bliss Much, had much to say To offering Mary May.
When drop-of-blood-and-foam-dapple Bloom lights the orchard-apple And thicket and thorp are merry With silver-surfed cherry
And azuring-over greybell makes Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes And magic cuckoocall Caps, clears, and clinches all—
This ecstasy all through mothering earth Tells Mary her mirth till Christ’s birth To remember and exultation In God who was her salvation.
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