Friday, March 27, 2009

The Little Crown

Recently, I read -- no, devoured -- a great book. It was one that I would have never picked up (or not so soon, anyway), had it not fallen in my lap.

The book? True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, by St. Louis de Montfort. If you haven't read it, you should. Not only is it enlightening, it's easy to read. (That last reason is the exact opposite of what I was expecting.)

In that book, St. Louis mentions a prayer that caught my interest, the Little Crown. I shared the outline of it (from what I remembered and was using from the book) with a friend who did some research and came up with this link.

And then, because we were working on a moms dinner, she got all crafty and made up special chaplets and I made up a prayer card. We've received feedback from some of the women that this prayer has been such a blessing for them. I thought you might find it to be as helpful as they did (and as I have), so I'll share it with you here. I use my fingers, but you could also (if you're crafty) make your own chaplet.

First, pray the introductory prayer:
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle within them the fire of Thy love! Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth. Let us pray. O God, Who by the light of the Holy Spirit dost instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant us by this same Spirit to relish what is right and ever to rejoice in His consolation, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Then, pray this pattern:
One Our Father, followed by four Hail Marys, one Glory Be, and one O My Jesus.
Repeat for a total of four times.

For more information and to find the complete prayer with additional praises to follow each Hail Mary visit

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mary and Confession

I can always tell when it's time for Confession. Everything starts to annoy me, from the colors of the world around me to the smallest thing said by my preschooler. I'll find myself wondering what I thought was so great about, oh, anything really. The true litmus test is when I start getting annoyed with my husband, who isn't just nicknamed Prince Charming for his good looks but is, in fact, a charming and easygoing guy.

Lately, I've noticed that when I ask Mary for help, she is good for it. When I recently asked my Heavenly Mother for guidance, for a pointer to what I should improve, it became clear to me that Confession was what I was supposed to focus on.

Needless to say, I procrastinated. I made excuses. I got reeeaaaallll busy.

But there was no avoiding it.

But wasn't just a call to Confession. It was a call to frequent Confession. Going once wasn't going to get Mom off my back.

Lent is a great time to start a new habit, but I often find (when will I learn?) that God has a plan for me that's slightly different than the plan I have for myself. I've been talking to Mary more of late, asking for her advice and guidance and, most of all, her prayers. It's no surprise, but it's still a pleasant experience, that she leads me, time and again, back to a closer relationship with the sacraments. My new fervor for the sacrament of Confession (or Reconciliation or Penance...whatever you want to call it) has done good things for my life, and not just my prayer life (though that too).

When I'm paying attention to myself through the lens of frequent Confession, I can honestly strive to be more like Mary...because I'm trying to sin less, to grow closer to her Son, to act more in accord with how God wants me to act. Confession opens me to the graces of the other sacraments that are a part of my life, including my marriage and the Eucharist.

If it's been a while since you've been to Confession, why not consider praying a rosary for the grace to go? Mary's just waiting for you to ask for her help. She's right over there, past your elbow, eagerly waiting for you to tap into her experience and knowledge. Isn't that what a mother's for?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Annunciation: Guest Post from Ginny Kubitz Moyer

In honor of the Feast of the Annunciation, here's a guest post from Ginny Kubitz Moyer over at Mary and Me. She celebrates Mary's "yes" -- and reflects on what, exactly, might have led this very young girl to make such a very courageous choice.
"The Annunciation" by Henry Tanner.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Finding the Calm

Have you read Marialis Cultus (For the Right Ordering and Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary), by Paul VI? Don't feel badly if the answer is no...I only picked it up recently because, well, because I was doing research and it was there and...yeah, you see how it is. Church documents always seem so...intimidating, so hard-to-understand, so inaccessible to me.

I've discovered few things could be farther from the truth. Granted, I haven't attempted Aquinas or Augustine, but Marialis Cultus is a gem and Paul VI has a style that's...well, I don't know. It's deep, yes, but it's also enjoyable. I wouldn't call it easy reading, but it was well worth my time.

In paragraph 57, he writes:
Contemplated in the episodes of the Gospels and in the reality which she already possesses in the City of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary offers a calm vision and a reassuring word to modern man, torn as he often is between anguish and hope, defeated by the sense of his own limitations and assailed by limitless aspirations, troubled in his mind and divided in his heart, uncertain before the riddle of death, oppressed by loneliness while yearning for fellowship, a prey to boredom and disgust. She shows forth the victory of hope over anguish, of fellowship over solitude, of peace over anxiety, of joy and beauty over boredom and disgust, of eternal visions over earthly ones, of life over death.
How often do you find yourself torn? When do you find yourself facing the smallness of yourself, the boundaries of what you can do, the impossibility of life? Where are you divided, by a tough decision, by a faith choice, by a concern?

Paul VI reminds me to turn to Mary, who offers hope and peace. I can feel her cool hand on my fevered brow when I read that phrase "calm vision and reassuring word." Isn't that just what we all need nowadays?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Our Lady of the Links

I never expected to golf. It has always seemed like a sport that’s for, well, other people. My husband, though, expressed an interest a few years ago, found a used set of clubs, and began going to the driving range and the less expensive golf courses with his brothers.

Over the course of a year or two, I started to get curious. When our oldest daughter was toddler-aged, I started to also long for more time with him. When our second daughter was born, I started to plot and plan ways to spend afternoons together.

Enter my conversion to the world of golfing.

We’re both outside people, though hiking isn’t something we generally enjoy together. (He insists I set out to attack the trail; I maintain that he could walk faster since he has much longer legs than I do.) After I officially owned a set of very cheap golf clubs, I became Bob’s golf partner.

We’re at about the same level of expertise, somewhere between stink and laughable. When we get a few hours to golf, we’ll go to a local driving range or to the par 3 kiddie course down the road from his mom’s house, where we leave the kids.

I’ve heard people rave and rant about the game of golf. I used to make fun of it myself, but now that I understand it a tiny bit better, I am downright mocking...of myself. There’s nothing to instill humility in my day like the fourth hole. There’s nothing to inspire me to listen to the amazing man I married like the silence of the course. There’s nothing to make me rejoice like one of us beating par.

Humility, listening, and rejoicing are things I experience regularly during Mass, in church, at prayer. But it’s when the holy is inserted into the everyday that I find myself transformed a bit.

In that transformation, in that shift that’s a piece in my ongoing conversion, I am nudged closer to my Mother’s arms. She’s out there with me on the golf course, patting me on the back when I hold my tongue from the word that almost slipped out, inspiring me to look past my failure and to joke about the “net profit” of golf balls found versus lost.

Our priest, who’s an avid golfer, often tells us, before he leaves the office, that he’s going to “pray the 18 stations.” I used to laugh about that. I still laugh, but I understand it more now.

There’s praying to be done wherever we are, and the true gift is in opening ourselves to the grace to experience it, to let go of our agenda and give in to God’s.

Monday, March 16, 2009

"Irish Envy" ... Guest Post by Ginny Moyer

Today we received this guest post from Ginny Moyer, author of Mary and Me.

She writes:

"In honor of St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I have a very bad case of Irish Envy.

"I think it dates back to my Catholic elementary school days, when a girl named Maureen came to school on March 17th wearing an Irish beret. It was just so darn cool. She looked jaunty and insouciant (words that I did not know back then, but which I certainly would have used if I had). ..."

For the rest, why don't you head on over to Ginny's blog, "Mary and Me"?! Technically, it's not a Mary post ... but it certainly honors one of her favorite sons!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

We Have Winners!

Thanks to everyone who linked to the latest Mary Moments carnival and to everyone who left comments.

Winning The How-To Book of the Mass, by Michael Dubruiel...
Janet LaPlante

Winning A Guide to the Passion: 100 Questions about The Passion of the Christ...
Lisa Pate

Winning Violets for Mary, by Norma McCulliss...
Almost Empty Nester

Please email me at peerybingle at gmail dot com with your mailing address, and we'll get your prizes in the mail this week!