Friday, November 21, 2008

Celebrating the Presentation of Mary

Image source

Today, I found out when I started Morning Prayer, is the Feast of the Presentation of Mary.

I didn't have any idea what that meant, not really. It's the sort of feast that feels distant to me, the sort of celebration that makes Catholicism feel ancient and, well, a little hard-to-understand to me. (And I've been Catholic for seven - or is it eight? - years now!)

After reading Jean's post on the Feast of the Presentation of Mary, though, I feel a lot more comfortable with it. For one thing, I have a three-year-old girl in my life. I don't want to give her away or anything (well, most of the time), but I can imagine Mary's parents taking her to the Temple. She would have been old enough to understand that something significant was happening. They probably could have - maybe even did - discuss what was going on. Would she have asked probing questions? Were there tears?

As I've reflected on this, I am better able to think about it in terms of these people from long ago parting with their daughter. Instead of salvation history being fulfilled, great cogs in the wheel of things being plugged along as they were supposed to, it becomes a story with pain and even a little heartbreak in it.

Do go over and read about the Presentation of Mary. Then close your eyes and picture it. Think about the empty house Joachim and Anne went home to - a house that was too quiet. Consider how Mary must have felt, when she realized that she was staying at the Temple. Sure, she was excited...but maybe there was some fear, and no mother to comfort her.

Use this feast day to turn to your Heavenly Mother with some little pain of your own. Let her stroke your temple and lead you to her Son, who will comfort you in the best way possible.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Your Chance to Share

Dear Friends,

It has come to my attention that in a few short weeks, we'll be in a new year.

That means we have a whole year of Mary Moments to look forward to!

So...we're going to open comments and let you chime in with your ideas for themes for next year's Mary Moments. I have some ideas of my own, but what I'm really interested in is what kind of ideas you have for these Mary-centered carnivals.

What would you like to see?

Leave your comment, or send me a note at peerybingle [a.t.] gmail [d.o.t.] com.

Thanks in advance, and may the Blessed Mother bless you abundantly!
- Sarah

Monday, November 17, 2008

Looking for a Good Book?

Then may I recommend Mary and Me?

Maybe Mary and Me won’t be your cup of tea. Maybe you don’t even really “get” the whole Mary thing...and you’d be in good company. This book is filled with reflections and insights from Catholic women, some of whom weren’t always big fans of Mary. The author herself shares some reflections that had me laughing and grabbing the tissues.

In my world, there’s a huge value to things that make me consider life differently. I don’t always agree with the things that force my different perspective, but I do value them. It’s one of the reasons why I so value my relationships with the friends in my life I can disagree with without the tingling in my scalp that signals anger and frustration.

I found this sort of value in Mary and Me. I also found new insight into the role of the Blessed Mother in my own life.

My full review is over at my blog.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mary Moments: the Saints and Mary

Mary and the's like peanut butter and jelly, blue skies and sunshine, little boys and puppies. Among the things that go well together, Mary and the saints top the list for me.

That doesn't make it easy to relate with them, though. Sometimes, it's all too easy to get caught up in how "perfect" they are and to forget that they were - are - just as human as I am.

This month's Mary Moments is a collection of posts that help me to remember that I too am part of the communion of saints. These posts will pat your hand and remind you that Mary's role as Queen of the Saints isn't meant to intimidate's meant to help us. You'll find reflections that will make you smile and recommendations that might change your life in some small but significant way.

A special thanks to our contributors this month, and a sincere invitation to each of you - whether or not you have a blog - to join us in some small way next month, when we'll honor Our Lady of Guadalupe (details at the end).

Water and the Spirit
Ginny writes, "I used to view the saints as so horribly boring and unreal in their goodness. That was before I realized that there were real-life struggles underneath those haloes. Now, I adore the saints. They’re my advocates. They’re my posse."

Divine Mercy: What Does It Look Like?
Heidi ties in the words of the Blessed Mother as transcribed in St. Faustina's diary. "In the famous Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, the words that the saint hears Jesus speak are recorded in boldface type; those of His mother are in italics. As might be expected, the words of the Blessed Mother are few and far between – all true Marian devotion draws the heart toward Jesus."

Co-op Art: Saints!
Ana has some extraordinary artwork to share - saints drawn by junior and senior high art students. Thanks, Ana, for this visual reminder of our friends in heaven!

I learned a lesson from a friend's reflections on IM lingo. "I have no doubt that the parents (and friends!) over my shoulder are there, watching and listening, praying for me and supporting me."

Let It Be
Kate is inspired by an old Beatles song. "I know Paul McCartney is referring to his mom and not the Virgin Mary in the song "Let It Be." Still, whenever I hear the song I find myself picturing Mother Mary coming to me and speaking words of wisdom I need to hear."

Mary, Queen of Saints: Imitating Her in Humility
Jean reminds us, "The title “Mary, Queen of Saints” describes just how holy and powerful our dear Mother is. Mary, Holy Virgin, pure and perfect, gave birth to Jesus Christ and so we revere her above all saints. Because Mary was full of grace, she excelled in every virtue to a greater extent than every other saint. Each of the saints excelled in a particular virtue, but Mary possessed all of the virtues that could be expressed in any creature."

Mary and the Saints via a Great Book
Valerie shares a high recommendation for a book: "I recently read a book entitled "Mother Theresa In The Shadow of Our Lady." It is about her mystical experiences with Our Lady and is written by Fr. Joseph Langford MC, the priest who worked with her for 30 years."

Next Month: Honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe
In December, we will honor Our Lady of Guadalupe with our Mary Moments carnival. We welcome your feast day celebration ideas, traditions, recipes, or reflections. Do you have a special devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe? Have you felt a special bond with this image of Mary? Can you take a few moments to share it with us as we assemble a bouquet for Our Mother on this special feast day?

Submissions are due by December 12, using the online form or by emailing me at peerybingle [at] gmail [dot] com. If you don't have a blog, you can still participate! I'll post your entry as a guest post over at my blog. Mary Moments: Honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe will be live on December 15.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Call for Submissions for Mary Moments

In November, the theme of Mary Moments is Mary, Queen of Saints.

* How does devotion to Mary make you more saintly?
* How has her intercession changed your life?
* Do you have a special affiliation with Mary, Queen of Saints?
* What sort of reflection does this title inspire in you?

Entries are not limited to these questions, of course.

Submissions are due by November 13, using the online form or by emailing me at peerybingle [at] gmail [dot] com. If you don't have a blog, you can still participate! I'll post your entry as a guest post over at my blog.