Anyway, if I were there I would especially want to watch my main girl Mary and how she handled everything. What did she do? What did she say? How did her peace and her virtue transform the less-than-ideal situation of having a baby in a cold stable? What can we learn from her?
Why does the Catholic Church… in the middle of Advent, while preparing for Christmas… throw in yet another holy day?
Why pause to honor Mary while we’re prepping to party with Jesus? What is the Immaculate Conception… and why is it a big deal?
God was hoping you would ask.
This month of May, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary – offers us a unique opportunity to deepen our contemplative prayer life.
Just as Mary pondered all the early events surrounding Jesus in her heart (Luke 2:19), we are invited to contemplate what the Holy Spirit chose to inspire and share with us regarding Mary – not only as Christ’s mother – but as our own (John 19:27). Below is part of a reflection I wrote some time ago that I recently rediscovered. Perhaps it will bless your own contemplative prayer life . . .
You see, Mary is our Mother, whether we want her to be or not. God, our Father has made it so through His son's words. He knew our need for a motherly presence in the spiritual realm. So, with His dying breath, 'Jesus saw His mother and the disciple there whom He loved, He said to his mother, ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâèÏWoman, behold, your son.' Then He said to the disciple, ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâèÏBehold, your mother'' (John 19:26-27).
Every year since I've been a Catholic (five years and counting!), I've really loved coming up with different challenges for Lent. One year I gave up eating any meat, last year I read the bible for 30 minutes straight each day no matter what, you get the picture . . . Over the years I've come to realize that it's not just how much we give up or what extra stuff we do, but it’s about the quality of your sacrifice and what you decide to do.
How about giving up some of your time and using it for prayer? In fact, let me make the ultimate suggestion . . .
We have a God who deals in the impossible. This is huge, life-changing, and has everything to do with Christmas. I think we’re so used to the story of “Christmas” that we can easily forget to spend time just letting ourselves be amazed by the story.
Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe! Check out the story behind the famous apparition.
According to Catholic tradition, Our Lady gave the scapular to St. Simon Stock, the Father General of the Carmelite order, in the thirteenth century. Mary appeared to St. Simon in a vision, held out a scapular and said to him, ' . . . he who dies in this will not suffer eternal fire.'
Does this mean if you wear the scapular you get into heaven no matter what your actions? Of course not!
The scapular is not a “get out of hell free” card or a magical charm. It is an exterior sign of an interior fidelity to Christ and trust in his Mother's love and intercession for her children.
But you know as well as I do that it usually doesn't last long. It usually doesn't take more than a week back at home, experiencing everyday life, for us to feel just like our regular, uninspired selves. What's the deal?
How did she do it? How did she manage to remain focused on God while she had the most unique and challenging role in all of human history? And how could I possibly be anything like her, when I get stressed out by the everyday pressures of my comfortable life? Her Immaculate life was so unlike my own awkward existence that I had no idea where to even begin if I was going to try to imitate her.
I'm a girl and I love weddings.
Growing up, I never had a devotion to Mary. I mean, I liked the idea of her . . . but I didn't have a relationship with her. The Virgin Mother was a porcelain statue, a gold-etched picture on a Christmas card. She wasn't real to me. My only connection to her, at best, was a panicked 'Hail Mary' before a pop-quiz.
What I've learned is that Mary is way more than a boring stained glass window. She lived an exciting life and did amazing things. And outside of Jesus, she is one of the greatest gifts we've been given as Catholics. Although I didn't have a relationship with Mary growing up, I have fallen in love with my mother since then, and let me tell you: OUR MAMA ROCKS!
Our friends at RosaryArmy.com have some great instructions for how to make your own rope rosary. Do something meaningful (and super Catholic) with some of your free time and get together with your friends or youth group to make a bunch of rosaries for yourselves, or to give away. You could even make small rosaries that are just one decade and wear it on your wrist as a witness and reminder to pray
Do you ever catch yourself doing or saying something exactly like one of your parents? If it hasn’t happened to you yet, trust me, one day it will and you’ll freak out. I am definitely turning into my mother. This summer, we were at Mass together during a big thunder storm. At one point a bolt of lightening that lit up the entire church. We turned to each other, then broke into a verse of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody – “Thunderbolts and lightening, very, very frightening…” at the exact same time.