Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mary Moments Carnival: Lent/Easter Edition!

Happy Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent!

And welcome to the Lent/Easter 2009 edition of the Mary Moments Carnival! Thanks to Twitter, we have quite a few new faces in the lineup this time. My deepest thanks to everyone who participated!

Although she was unable to post to this Carnival, our fearless administrator Sarah is offering the following "Carnival special."

Sarah says, "I have copies of each of these:

(1) The How-To Book of the Mass, by Michael Dubruiel

(2) A Guide to the Passion (100 Questions about The Passion of the Christ)"

(3) I'd also like to throw a book into the ring: Violets for Mary, by Norma McCulliss. This charming little children's book teaches children to love the Blessed Mother ... and to be kind to others. Makes wonderful family reading!

If you'd like a chance to win any of these books, just leave a comment here or drop Sarah a note at (You can get an additional entry by linking to this MM Carnival post to your own blog -- just email Sarah to share the link or leave it in the combox). Thanks for your help in spreading the word about the Carnival ... and about this blog!

And now, without further ado, we give to you ... the Lenten/Easter Mary Moments Carnival!

"Getting to Know You..."

Valerie, an adoptive mother of two young adults, sent me "A Miracle," which she had recently reprised on February 25 at "I Am My Kid's Mom." Valerie recalls the moment she first turned toward Mary ... just as her mother had. She writes:

"I was able to compose myself enough to follow TP down to the PICU unit. When we arrived, they told me I had to wait in the waiting room for about 20 minutes until they could get her situated in her bed. I kissed her hot forehead, and her eyelids fluttered in response. I went into the waiting room, and just dropped into a chair. I was aware of other people looking at me, but it didn't matter. It was at that point in time that I began to pray feverishly. I found myself talking to Mary, realizing she KNEW what I was going through, because she had watched her Son suffer so much as well. I don't remember all that I said to her or what I prayed to God, but in a matter of a few minutes, I found myself saying the Rosary."
Ginny Moyer, author of Mary and Me, contributed this piece about her trip to Lourdes while on her honeymoon in 2002. "Lourdes ended up being the catalyst for my first real, adult reflections on Mary. In the weeks following the trip, she began to figure more and more prominently in my thoughts. I won’t go into the details here, mostly because it’s just too much to fit into a blog posting. I do hope to tell that story in my next book."

"Learning to Like You, Hoping that You Like Me..."

Jane at "Philaneglus" sent in this reflection about the Holy Family. In a world where we often feel misunderstood and even judged for the decisions we make as parents, it helps to know that the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph intercede for us with understanding and compassion.

Pam Pedler sent me this wonderful story of her pilgrimage to Lourdes. "Lourdes: From Tourist to Pilgrim Guest" was first published in the "Denver Catholic Register," and Pam generously agreed to let me post it at "Streams of Mercy" and include it in this month's Carnival ... Thanks, Pam!

"...You are Precisely My Cup of Tea!"

And at "Mommy Monsters," I've posted "Limping Toward Lent" as a gentle reminder of the ultimate purpose of the season: To offer ourselves -- our strengths and weaknesses and struggles and all -- to God. This offering, even to one as holy as Mary, must have seemed an impossible task at times, simply because of the enormity of it. At such times, only by the grace of God can we hope to persevere.

Finally, at "Catholic Fire," Jean posts these practical ideas for how to observe Lent. While not strictly a "Marian" post, it addresses a theme that IS very much "in the spirit of Mary" -- how to live our lives in imitation of Christ, whose Passion and Death we recall during this holy season.

Happy Lent!

Lyrics to "Getting to Know You" from The King and I by Oscar Hammerstein

Saturday, February 14, 2009

"Mary Moments" Carnivals ... Thanks, Sarah!

One of the hardest parts of being a writer is figuring out where to spend your time. The Internet presents many wonderful opportunities ... and yet, this "virtual connecting" must be balanced with our real-life responsibilities: family, home, work ... and most important of all, time with God.

I'd like to thank Sarah Reinhard for all the wonderful work she's done this past year on the "Mary Moments" Carnivals. She has been a real gift to me, and it's been a privilege to watch her considerable writing talents showcased in my little book blog. These talents are being increasingly recognized in other venues -- she now has a regular column at "Today's Catholic Woman" on, for example -- and so it's time for her to reevaluate some priorities.

Starting this month, we'd like to reduce the "Mary Moments" Carnivals to quarterly instead of monthly --

* Lent/Easter Carnival Feb 15 (this one will be a little late this year), deadline for posts this year 2/20. I will be hosting this Carnival this year, with the intent to post it by 3/1.
* Mother's Day Carnival May 15 (these would also include Father's Day tributes to St. Joseph), deadline for posts 5/10.
* Mary's birthday/Assumption Carnival August 15 (deadline for posts 8/10), and
* Advent/Christmas Carnival in November 15 (deadline for posts 11/1).

If you would be interested in hosting one of the quarterly Carnivals -- either here at BYM or on your own blog, with a link here -- please let me know.

If you've enjoyed these Carnivals, please feel free to drop Sarah a note -- either here in the comments or to her personally at She's been feeling a bit under the weather this past week, and I'm sure she'd appreciate the "attagirls." God bless you!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Help in Healing: Faith and Family Live!

Today at "Faith and Family Live" Lisa Hendey has a lovely article in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes, whose feast we celebrate today! Read it here: Help in Healing: Faith & Family Live!

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Photo credit: Sacred Destinations

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Presentation of the Lord

Adorn thy bridal chamber, O Sion, and receive Christ the King. Salute Mary, the gate of Heaven; for she beareth the King of Glory, Who is the new Light....

Antiphon for feast of the Presentation of the Lord

On the fortieth day after Christmas we celebrate the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple, where He is offered by His Mother and St. Joseph to the Eternal Father for the sins of the world. Many prophecies were fulfilled that day, unknown at the time except to Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anna, all persons of prayer and of special consecration to God. In a time of great darkness there was suddenly and quite publicly a great light, to be received only by those whose hearts were open. A small Child is the ultimate sacrifice for the redemption of humanity, but He is not alone; He is with His family. The Holy Family stand between us and utter chaos and despair. Like the Child Jesus, we do not make our offering alone, we make it with Mary and Joseph, we make it in the context of our own families.
Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; and thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed. --St. Luke 2:34-35
The "Purification of Our Lady" as the feast is traditionally called, is a feast of the Virgin as well as the Virgin's Son. We marvel at the humility of Immaculate Mary who submits to the ritual of purification for all Jewish mothers, although she herself had no need to be purified. It is also known as Candlemas Day because since early times, candles have been blessed and carried in procession in honor of Christ, the Light of the World.

At Christmas, we adored Him with the shepherds at dawn; at Epiphany, we rejoiced in the brightness of His manifestations to the nations; at Candlemas, with the aged Simeon, we take Him into our arms. With the prophetic words of Simeon, the day also becomes a preparation for Lent and the Passion of Our Lord. We must offer ourselves with Jesus to the Father; we must embrace our own purification.

This feast day links Christmas with Lent, the joyful mysteries with the sorrowful mysteries. Mary's Heart is pierced as Simeon's prophecy is uttered, for a mother suffers for her child, especially when that Child is God. Fr Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. wrote so magnificently of this feast in his book Divine Intimacy:
O Jesus, through the hands of Mary, I wish to offer myself today with You to the eternal Father. But You are a pure, holy, and Immaculate Host, while I am defiled with misery, and sin....O Virgin Most pure, lead me along the way of a serious and thorough purification; accompany me yourself, so that my weakness will not make me faint because of the roughness of the road.