Sundays in Lent – Holy Saturday

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​I never really think of Mary as a mother. It’s right there in the Hail Mary prayer, and many if not all of the Mary prayers. And more than the Mother of G-d, she is mother to a child. She fed Jesus and taught him his letters. She told him not to run through the kitchen and to take a bath. When she asked him to assist the bridal party at Cana and his response was, ‘Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come,’ I can see the side-eye she gave hm until he relented and did as he was told. I can’t imagine how she felt watching him die on the Cross – a public renunciation of her own flesh, his pain her pain, his torture hers, never once challenging the path set out for him, but bearing it.

Last week, mys on had a medical emergency and was in hospital for three days. It felt like a lifetime. He’s an adult, but my child will always be my baby. Mismatched words became prayer and as always, G-d hears all, even what isn’t said. Not the fancy, not the prayers that come with a collection basket, not the extravagant song, but the simple. The humble. The genuine plea to set aside the pain, the heal the hurt, to comfort the parent, to help the child.

Comfort me, O Lord in my distress,
But care for my loves.
Heal the sickness;
Subside the pain.
Give rest to the weary.
As your name is on my breath,
Keep their breaths free of obstruction.
Make them whole.
Care for them as I would:
With whole being and gentle blessing.
Praise for your health restored.
Praise for your answer,
Their care and well-being.
In all this I ask
with a grateful heart,
In your name, Amen.

Sundays in Lent – 1st Friday

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Use this oppotunity to go on pilgrimage. I know that we all can’t just hop on a jet and see the world or pray around the world, but we can visit some places that inspire us to be more prayerful and draw us closer to G-d. 

Lourdes is one of those places.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VGZxmB38Sjs

Finding Mary

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Finding Mary on my UK trip: Mary, Untier of Knots medal. Ballintoy, NI. Our Lady of Lourdes replica, Dublin. Mary, Mother of G-d, Dublin. Our Lady of Dublin, Dublin. Praying the rosary at Ballintoy, NI. Tiny Saints, Mary, the Blessed Mother. Mary statue at Cranfield Church, NI. Mary, Untier of Knots color charm. (c)2017-2018

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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.

21/52 – Moms

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Finishing out Mary’s month of May with my other mothers. We celebrated Mother’s Day. I’m the only one now. This was our first without my mother-in-law, a wonderful mother and in-law. I never understood all of those stereotypical mother in law jokes. My mother in law was no  joke. Always supportive, always kind, always welcoming. Probably would have lived another decade or more if not for the car accident. We’ll be traveling to Northern Ireland to visit her home, see where she come from, where she grew up, got her values and her skills, her independence, her enthusiasm for life.

My Mom’s birthday was yeserday. She would have been seventy-four. It’s hard to believe that she’s gone twelve years now. We used to talk every day, especially after the grandkids were born. She was an advice giver, whether wanted or needed or not. But still, taken in stride. For the most part, she stayed away from “helping” us name our second son, but was secretly pleased that we chose to name him after my father. She would like that my baby girl is named for her. I remembered her mentioning that she liked the name when we were deciding. 

Kind and generous and I learned that from her. Inherited. As well has how to make a good roast beef and pot roast, and of course, her lasagna, what most poeple would call baked ziti. Still awesome, though. Sunday bagels, too much mayo in my tuna fish, and overplanning on the little things and under planning on the big ones. 

Learning as much as teaching. But always trying to do the best, and moving forward. Being mom and remembering moms.

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.