Posted tagged ‘Mary’

Be like a little Upper Room

January 11, 2013

Mary Upper RoomEveryone knows that the Christian family is a special sign of the presence and love of Christ and that it is called to give a specific and irreplaceable contribution to evangelization. … The Christian family has always been the first way of transmitting the faith and still today retains great possibilities for evangelization in many areas. Dear parents, commit yourselves always to teach your children to pray, and pray with them; draw them close to the Sacraments, especially to the Eucharist, … introduce them to the life of the Church; in the intimacy of the home do not be afraid to read the sacred Scriptures, illuminating family life with the light of faith and praising God as Father. Be like a little Upper Room, like that of Mary and the disciples, in which to live unity, communion and prayer!

Pope Benedict XVI



Blessed art thou among women!

January 1, 2013
Sheen“We should not be surprised that she is spoken of as a thought by God before the world was made. When Whistler painted the picture of his mother, did he not have the image of her in his mind before he ever gathered his colors on his palette? If you could have preexisted your mother (not artistically, but really), would you not have made her the most perfect woman that ever lived—one so beautiful she would have been the sweet envy of all women, and one so gentle and so merciful that all other mothers would have sought to imitate her virtues? Why, then, should we think that God would do otherwise? When Whistler was complimented on the portrait of his mother, he said, “You know how it is; one tries to make one’s Mummy just as nice as he can.” When God became Man, He too, I believe, would make His Mother as nice as He could—and that would make her a perfect Mother. “
Venerable Fulton Sheen (From “The World’s First Love”)
Thanks to Rocco and his encyclopedic knowledge of all things related to Archbishop Sheen for helping me to re-find this quote.

May 20, 2012

No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary. Either he will give up the sin or he will give up the Rosary.      
Bishop Patrick Boyle

If families give Our Lady fifteen minutes a day by reciting the Rosary, I assure them that their homes will become, by God’s grace, peaceful places.

FatherPatrick Peyton 

Seeing the Mysteries

May 19, 2012

It’s never too late to start a collection of pictures with religious themes to make into Rosary books for your children or godchildren. I’ve done this in the past by simply using a three-ring binder and plastic sheet protectors. Back each picture with a sheet of solid paper to hide the distracting print on the back and divide them according to the Mysteries. Catholic calendars, magazines and the internet are all good sources for suitable pictures. It’s a great help for little ones (and bigger ones), to better focus and understand the prayers, and it’s a wonderful way to introduce them to religious art.

From John Paul II’s 2002 Apostolic Letter introducing the Mysteries of Light:

Announcing each mystery, and perhaps even using a suitable icon to portray it, is as it were to open up a scenario on which to focus our attention. The words direct the imagination and the mind towards a particular episode or moment in the life of Christ. In the Church’s traditional spirituality, the veneration of icons and the many devotions appealing to the senses, as well as the method of prayer proposed by Saint Ignatius of Loyola in the Spiritual Exercises, make use of visual and imaginative elements (the compositio loci), judged to be of great help in concentrating the mind on the particular mystery. This is a methodology, moreover, which corresponds to the inner logic of the Incarnation: in Jesus, God wanted to take on human features. It is through his bodily reality that we are led into contact with the mystery of his divinity.

Rosarium Virginis Mariae (The Rosary of the Virgin Mary), #29

Learning from Art

May 17, 2012

Genuine sacred art draws man to adoration, to prayer, and to the love of God …” but it also teaches.

We can learn a great deal about what the Church teaches on a variety of doctrines from this piece by Velazquez.

First of all, the event pictured is the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth.  We think about this event when we pray the 5th Glorious Mystery of the Rosary.  Mary is easy to recognize in her traditional blue robes, and is shown with her body being supported by angels.  This is a reminder of the doctrine that she was taken up, body and soul to heaven in a unique favor known as the Assumption.

God is rightly pictured here as the Holy Trinity.  Can your children spot the traditional representations of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?*  All are at an equal height and are playing an equal role in honoring Mary, using this picture to show that “their glory is equal“.

Neither the Assumption, the Coronation nor the Trinity are mentioned by name in the Bible, but this painting is just a wonderful reminder that Catholics believe Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition work together equally to form the full Deposit of Faith handed down to us by the Apostles. Both are the Word of God and deserve equal reverence and respect.

The Blessed Mother is shown here as perfect – a reminder of her perpetual virginity – and is pictured as regal as a queen should be.  It’s interesting to note that though this painting is now in a museum, it was thought to originally be in the private chapel of the Queen of Spain.  What better example could she have had!

*Father (older and holding a round object representative of the Earth)
Son (younger and seated at the Father’s right hand)
Holy Spirit (the dove resting on her head)

While we’re on the subject …

May 16, 2012

Here are a few more parent-tested ideas on praying the Rosary together as a family:

Have reasonable expectations.  If you have two toddlers, a squirrelly preschooler, and a 1st grader, perhaps a full Rosary is too much for their attention span.  Try a decade instead (or just start with praying each of the prayers one time).

Do you have a regular drive that’s at least 20 minutes long?  That’s just enough time to pray a Rosary and you have a captive audience.  Use this time well!

Start by teaching your very young children the three basic prayers: the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.  It’s amazing how easily most young children can memorize things like that.

It’s nice to pray it together while you’re all kneeling around your prayer table, but probably much more practical to do it while you’re walking, driving, or snuggling in a comfy chair.  I found that waiting for perfect conditions rarely happens, so we just started praying wherever we were.  It’s much more likely to happen that way!

Honoring Mary in May

May 15, 2012

One of the natural activities to celebrate the Month of Mary is to simply pray the Rosary.  I’m actually laughing a little as I use the word “simply,” because anyone who has tried to pray a Rosary with small children knows that it’s anything but simple!  One mom in our program has found a way to motivate and remind her children to progress through this prayer by creating a banner with removable beads.

Their family starts with an empty banner and they add beads as they pray together.  By doing it this way, they’ve found that:

  • it adds an active element to the prayer, keeping little hands busy.
  • it helps them keep track of a whole Rosary even though their attention spans only allow them to pray a decade or two at a time.  They are easily able to pick up where they left off.
  • the color coding helps it to be a more orderly prayer time as each child is in charge of leading a particular color.

Thanks to Theresa for sharing this great idea with our parents during the May meetings!



%d bloggers like this: