Sister Doreen’s Reflections
The month of May brings warmer temperatures, blooming flowers, and the fresh beginnings of summer.
Fennel Hudson wrote: “May, perhaps more than any other month of the year, wants to make us feel the most alive.” And in a very real sense this is so true for the simple reason that life is everywhere. Flowers are blooming, the bees are buzzing, and the days shine bright with just a hint of summer in the air. It can so easily draw us into being Inspired, inventive and experimental, tuned in to the energy of the aliveness.
Joyce Rupp spoke about spring and the month of May in the book “The Circle of Life”: “It seemed like everything grew fast and strong in springtime … green growing things intrigued me and gave me a happy feeling. Working in the garden brought me satisfaction … the discovery of how life could come from something so simple and plain as a seed. The amazing process of new life developing out of hard work was an astounding revelation to me.”
April and May, according to statistics, can also be a time of unhappiness for many. Suicides and depression mark the unhappiness of many for whom the terrible beauty and the terrible pain in life don’t know how to be friends. The energy of aliveness can also bring with it a time in nature of chaos: of hail- storms, tornadoes, and damaging winds.
Mirrored in our own life, what about the springtime of our own souls? Both Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr together wrote some O Antiphons for Spring that I have used as my own prayer during the periods of my life when I have felt a longing for new birth, for the coming of new life – for clearing up the debris and sludge that seems to gather during other seasons of the soul. These O Antiphons for Spring really express my own longing to be open to the truth that each new season brings: I share their Antiphons with you:
“O Midwife of Spring, Come! Come encourage what needs to be born in us,
Draw us out of winter’s nurturing womb. Teach us to believe in our unopened buds.
Accompany us into a world starved for new life. O Come!
O Seed Buried in the Soil, Come! Come die to your seed-like condition.
Break through the darkness that has cradled your life. Pierce the hard husk of all that we cling to.
Urge us to listen to the quiet sound of growing. O Come!
O Hidden Life Now Unveiled, Come! Come, welcome guest.
Set free our reluctance to live fully and deeply. Awaken us to the beauty that holds and enfolds us.
Open our eyes to all we can become. O Come!
O Spring Rising Out of Winter’s Arms, Come! Come melt what is frozen in us.
Open the buds of our longing with your gentle breezes. Soften the hard earth of our hearts with your rains. Breathe warmth upon the cold places in us. O Come!
O Green Mantle of Creation, Come! Come clothe us with the colours of spring.
Paint our fields and forests with your artist’s brush. Leap into our lives with a lover’s enthusiasm.
Fill us with boundless energy and faithful hearts. O Come!
O Child of Resurrection, Come! Come dancing out of winter’s gloom.
Enliven us with your radiant hope. Lure us through the closed doors of our doubt.
Celebrate with us the wonder of risen life. O Come!
O Laughter of the Earth, Come! Come laugh us out of our rigidity.
Lighten hearts grown weary with anxiety. Send us out to the meadows to play like a child.
Rise up in our souls with lighthearted joy. O Come!
O Awakening Dawn, Come! Come like the day star rising out of the east.
Come bearing the sparkling rays of your sunbeams. Come carrying baskets of flowers and green-laced leaves. Call forth blossoms sleeping in the garden of our lives. O Come!”
These antiphons used as a prayer have helped my inner ‘land’ thaw and be re-energized. A new sense of loving and being loved warms the interior places that were cold and dormant, the emotional clutter and old debris slowly cleared away, brings an inner freedom, confidence and creativity. May is a month that draws us into paying attention, to listening, to being fully present.
May is also a month of memories and celebrations, so many and such a full month! May Day in celebration of May as the month of Mary, and the choosing and crowning of a new May Day queen for the year; the love, thanksgiving and remembrances of Mother’s Day with family get-togethers; the multiple feast days in May – one double feast after another, the holiday in remembrance of Victoria Day. All these memories live on for us, energize us each year, bring hope. “Hope emerges most often from the place where our deepest longings [and our memories] meet our willingness to make them real. In that place hope sheds its disguises, moving with grace and freedom to point us beyond our delusions toward the landscape of possibilities.” (Jan Richardson, “Night Vision”).
“Great Miracle of greening and growth,
I turn my heart toward your light
As you resurrect my dormant gifts.
I turn my heart toward your warmth
As you draw me faithfully into fuller growth.”
(Joyce Rupp & Macrina Wiederkehr)
We all long for connections in the midst of disconnected lives – connections to ourselves, to others, to God and to the world around us. The month of May challenges us to open our eyes to what is happening in May, what it is teaching us, and how we can claim its unique grace. What outward and visible signs in May do you see of that inward and spiritual grace? God waits with open hands to gift it to you.