Queen of the May

O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May,
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.

Bring Flowers of the Rarest” is an extra-liturgical May crowning hymn that seems to be a rather sentimental nod to the ambiguity of modern May “devotion,” and perhaps (or perhaps not) an assault upon it.  It is a preconciliar hymn that I have often heard characterized as “schmaltzy” and inappropriate for the liturgy, though I have heard it many times used in traditional circles for Holy Mass.

What interests me here is its relation to the pagan or neopagan celebrations associated with May Day, the spring festival.  The “Queen of the May” or “May Queen” is a personification of Spring which is ritualized in May Day celebrations by the selection of a young girl dressed in white and crowned with flowers who leads the May Day parade. British folklore has it that of old the ritual ended with the blood sacrifice of the May Queen. Continue reading

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Theology of the Head and Heart, Part I

For if the man is the head, the woman is the heart, and as he occupies the chief place in ruling, so she may and ought to claim for herself the chief place in love (Casti Cannubii, 27).

This is the first of two posts that I want to write on the topic of head and heart, which reflect the traditional view that the man is the head of the home and the woman its heart. My point, however, is not sociological, but theological. Nor is my point of departure the question of authority, but the question of the way in which the head and heart are mutually dependent and complementary. I chose to title these posts Theology of Head and Heart, not because my comments are academic, nor principally because I want to provide an apologetic for the differentiation of the sexes, but because the head and heart need to be harmonized in the spiritual life and not polarized as is so often the case with the “theologies”and “movements” of modern Christianity. Continue reading