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Faith Formation Feast Days Ink Slingers Mary Mary S. Motherhood Vocations

The Feast of the Annunciation

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Today is the Feast of the Annunciation. Usually this is celebrated on March 25th, but since that landed in Holy Week this year, it was transferred to today. This feast is the celebration of the Angel Gabriel coming to Mary to announce to her that she would be the Mother of God Himself, and of Mary saying yes in the face of the unknown.

Ten fingers, Ten toes, and an Eternal Soul. All entrusted to my weak hands.

Being named Mary myself, Marian feasts have always caught my attention, and now that I have kids, I have even more to reflect on today. With both of my pregnancies, I knew it was likely I was pregnant when I took that first pregnancy test. Yet even though it was no surprise to see that little line, it still just blew me away to realize that there was this brand new tiny life inside of me. It’s a wonderful mixture of joy and fear, as you look forward to meeting and getting to know this little person, and also realize that this means there is a brand new soul that you are responsible for! You are not only responsible for their physical safety as they grow up and learn to ride bikes and do all sorts of heart-stoppingly dangerous activities, but for training them in the direction of Heaven – knowing that your actions as parent could have eternal consequences for them. Whoa.

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File:Rossetti_Annunciation.jpg

 

 

But today I imagine, what if instead of being 20-something, married, and trying to get pregnant, I was a teenager, unmarried, and knew I had no chance of being pregnant because I was a virgin. I imagine that instead of going out to buy a pregnancy test and happily taking it knowing it will probably be positive, I was quietly reading in my home when all of a sudden an ANGEL appears out of nowhere in my room to announce my pregnancy. And I imagine that instead of knowing this tiny person is a mix of my husband and myself, that the child within me IS GOD. Um, wow. I think I might freak out a bit, to say the least! How lucky for all of us that Mary was poised enough to ask how it is possible and then simply trust and say,

“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38)

 

So today I plan to reflect on Mary’s trust and faith. I constantly find myself worrying and freaking out about something in my life, when what I need to do is let go of the anxiety and stress, trust that God’s Will will be done, and do whatever I can actually do to help the situation. I can’t get my kids to Heaven all by myself. I need to place my worry for their physical, emotional and spiritual safety in the hands of Our Lord, while working steadfastly to keep them safe, happy and headed towards Heaven. What a joy that we have such a wonderful example, in Mary, of how to give up our own concern and anxiety and just say “Yes”.

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Christine Faith Formation Feast Days Holy Days of Obligation Ink Slingers Mary Saints

Happy Birthday, Mary!

Happy Birthday, Mary!

Today, September 8th, we recognize and celebrate the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary- our mother and the mother of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Happy Birthday, Momma.  Your birthday is always easy for me to remember because my earthly mother’s birthday is September 4th, mine is September 6th, and yours is September 8th.  I have always gotten a kick out of the fact that myself, my earthly mother and my heavenly mother make one big birthday sandwich.

While I might always recognize my mommas birthdays, I wonder how many times their acts of love towards me have gone unrecognized or unnoticed?  My mom joyfully gave me the gift of herself and her love through eighteen years of washing, cooking, cleaning, praying, guiding, and teaching. Particularly as a young child and teenager, have not my mom’s sacrifices and daily acts of love often gone unnoticed by me? Or perhaps they were noticed and seen, but not appreciated? Or perhaps appreciated, at least internally, but I did not make an effort to thank her or show her my appreciation?

And if my earthly mother, whom I can see, has often gone unrecognized by me, what about my heavenly mother whom I cannot see? Mary has joyfully given me a lifetime of praying, guiding, and teaching. Whether or not I take the time and effort to acknowledge her loving efforts to guide me to her Son, she continues her daily labor of love.  She labors for my soul, and for all of our souls. Nothing would be more pleasing to her than for each of us to believe in and love her Son, and one day be united to Him eternally in Heaven.

Appreciated for her labors of love or not, a mother will continue to labor out of sacrificial love.  May we never miss an opportunity to recognize, thank, honor, and love our mothers.  Mother Mary, thank you for all of your prayers, spiritual blessings, guidance, and assistance. Thank you for listening to my prayers and lovingly carrying my heartfelt intentions to your Son. Thank you for loving my soul so much, that when you see me take the slightest step away from your Son, you gently guide me back into His arms.  I offer you my gratitude to you as a birthday gift. Happy Birthday, Momma Mary.

Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2674: Mary gave her consent in faith at the Annunciation and maintained it without hesitation at the foot of the Cross. Ever since, her motherhood has extended to the brothers and sisters of her Son “who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties.”28 Jesus, the only mediator, is the way of our prayer; Mary, his mother and ours, is wholly transparent to him: she “shows the way” (hodigitria), and is herself “the Sign” of the way, according to the traditional iconography of East and West.