41/52 – The Centennial of Our Lady of Fatima

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Today is the 100th anniversary of the Holy Mother’s final Visitation to the children at Fatima, Portugal. In the photo is a book I recently read, and a rosary given to me by a member of the RCIA team when they taught the lesson on Mary. It is from the Shrine at Fatima, and I will use it today, and on Tuesday when I participate in the LIving Rosary. (c)2017

34/52 – October

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​October.

When the real fall begins.

The colors of the leaves are changed just enough to notice on every highway; every corner.

If you have kids they will bring home fall art of trees using “fall” colors in torn tissue papers, sponge prints, fingerprints with tiny thumbs red from pressing apples onto the trees.

Rows of pumpkins appear on every church lawn, primarily Methodist for some unknown reason (to me) reason.

Harvest festivals and school fundraisers as well as my local retreat center and interfaith council.

Apple, pumpkin, and sweet potato pies fit for space on supermarket shelves.

Trying to squeeze in family applepicking before the apples are gone, but scheduling around work schedules and birthday parties.

October is also the month of the rosary. This year is a special one as we celebrate the centennial of the Marian visitation to Fatima, Portugal. The process for Sister Lucia to join her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco in sainthood has begun. Will she be beatified on the centennial of the final visit (October 13th)?

This will be my second year participating in the Living Rosary at my church.

Jack O’Lanterns, spiders, and a row of little Batmans and Disney Princesses round out the moth and usher in the holiday season from Halloween until the New Year.

October has arrived.

19/52 – Mary

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​As May soon comes to a close, I am reflective on something I heard at the beginning of the month: May is Mary’s month. There are so  many other months that involve Mary: March for the Annunciation; December for the Nativity and the Immaculate Conception; October for the Rosary; August for the Assumption. I’m sure there are others.

Maybe it has something to do with her visit to Fatima or Mother’s Day, during the same weekend this year or nearby in other years.

I never  looked for a connection with Mary, but it was still somehow there. I don’t pray all of the devotions; in fact, I don’t think I know them all. After three years, it’s still all new to me. Every day is a learning experience. I am drawn to Mary as mother and model; I pray the rosary, and as soon as I saw it, I became attached to Her as Untier of Knots. I think it’s the idea that problems can be solved if you just take the time to work them out. Untie the knots. Of course, there is the knot connection to Celtic spirituality that I lean towards.

May 13th was the centennial of Mary’s first appearance at Fatima in Portugal. October will commemorate the last appearance. It’s not my lifetime, but it’s still hard to believe that anything Mary related happened in the twentieth century. I think of Biblical and Mary and Jesus as being two thousand years old, not during my grandfathers’ lifetimes.

i think what I find so fascinating is the universality and timelessness of Mary’s intercession and influence. She is the epitome of faithfulness and free will. We all have our free will to make choices, to struggle through our beliefs, to form our psyche and our values. Looking towards Mary, her life wasn’t terribly easy. She was a mother like I am, making day to day decisions on things that affect her family and its future. How much she must have wondered about her son, and his well being when he began his public ministry. Was he eating right? Was he warm at night? Was he staying one step ahead of harm?

She didn’t have any special revelation or insight into Jesus’ future; only that he had a path to follow and whatever that was, wherever that ended, she was his mother and his support.

Maybe that’s what I like. 

Being single-minded and open-minded when it comes to our  kids. Being the best at what we do, whatever that is. And still, being Mom, like at Cana as well as at the foot of the Cross.

Motherhood is a continuum, a spectrum of every emotion, every decision, every moment that involves our kids, even the adult ones.

We watch, we wait, we love.

So, maybe May is Mary’s month, the same month we celebrate our mothers and our kids celebrate us. Mother’s Day is every day that comes with a hug or a giggle or a tearful exchange. It’s all there, and it’s all always been there.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Blessed is all of our Jesus’, our own sons and daughters, within our hearts, and they in ours, forever.