Thursday, May 28, 2015

Honoring Mary

May 5, 2014
 In our Catholic faith we honor many saints. We celebrate feast days throughout the year. May is the month we honor Mary. We do not worship Mary but we do honor her. She is the Mother of God and without her YES to The Father's will, we would have no Savior. So we think it's pretty important to honor her! Before I show you how my family honors Mary I want to share a few things for my non-Catholic friends who may wonder why we give Mary such honor. As I mentioned on my prayer page we (Catholics) call on the saints to pray for us. What do you do when you have a need? When someone you love is sick, dying, or in trouble? You call on a prayer chain of friends, right? I have even heard of people calling up to Heaven to ask family members who have gone before them for help, guidance, or prayers. Why not call on our friends in Heaven who are right there with God to pray for us as well? All the saints who lived such a holy life are so close to The Father. Mary is the highest of all the saints because she is the Mother of God.

 Here is an excerpt from Catholics Come Home about honoring Mary.
"Catholics believe that worship is due to God alone. Catholics do, however, venerate Mary. In other words, we honor our Blessed Mother with great reverence and devotion because she is the Mother of God. Mary is the model of perfect love and obedience to Christ. God preserved Mary from sin, and she conceived our Lord by the power of the Holy Spirit, bringing Christ into our world. Catholics can’t help but honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is full of grace, the Mother of God and our Mother, for her “yes” to God that made the Incarnation possible. And without the Incarnation, we would not have salvation.
Mary is the most beautiful model of total submission to the will of God. Catholics do not view Mary as equal to Christ, but rather venerate Mary because of her relationship to Christ. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “Mary’s role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it” (CCC 964).
As Catholics, we pray that we can respond to God’s call to holiness for our lives in the way that Mary did. Mother Theresa prayed to emulate Mary’s devotion to Christ:
“Mary, Mother of Jesus, give me your heart so beautiful, so pure, so immaculate, 
so full of love and humility that I may be able to receive Jesus in the Bread of Life, 
love Him as You loved Him, and serve Him as You served Him….”"

 A  priest explained this terminology to us a while back and it made perfect sense to me. I hope you find it helpful. This is from Catholic Answers.
"As the terminology of Christian theology developed, the Greek term latria came to be used to refer to the honor that is due to God alone, and the term dulia came to refer to the honor that is due to human beings, especially those who lived and died in God’s friendship—in other words, the saints. Scripture indicates that honor is due to these individuals (Matt. 10:41b). A special term was coined to refer to the special honor given to the Virgin Mary, who bore Jesus—God in the flesh—in her womb. This term, hyperdulia (huper [more than]+ dulia = "beyond dulia"), indicates that the honor due to her as Christ’s own Mother is more than the dulia given to other saints. It is greater in degree, but still of the same kind. However, since Mary is a finite creature, the honor she is due is fundamentally different in kind from the latria owed to the infinite Creator."

 And here is one more link from American Catholic about honoring Mary.

 One of my favorite places to visit is the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. Whenever I go there to walk and pray I take some pictures. Usually one area or a particular statue touches me more than other times. On one occasion during Holy Week of 2013 I took a picture of the Pieta statue (with my cell phone) and here is what it captured.

 I felt like that was a reminder from God that even though we crucified Jesus, God always loves. His light pierces the darkness.

 Last summer during another walk, I felt incredibly drawn to the Our Lady of Fatima area, and once again took a picture. (This was another cell phone photo!) And here is what God gave me that day.

 The sun was a significant part of what was witnessed in Fatima. It was called The Miracle of the Sun.  There is a movie the girls like to watch about the story of Fatima called The Day the Sun Danced.* That is what I thought of when I looked at this picture. Both photos are very special to me. The feast of Our Lady of Fatima is May 13. We will sit this photo out and maybe make a special treat.

 I would love to do our roses again...

 I have seen some cute sun-themed cupcakes as well, but we are trying to eat clean and these sugary treats are not exactly clean! So, maybe we will make a fruit sun like we did for Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Here is another pretty fruit sun.

 Here are some books that we read to learn more about Mary.

 I am really enjoying a book that my sister gave me called Celebrating Mary.* 

 Many Catholics pay tribute to Mary by creating a Mary Table for the month of May. Here are a couple of pictures of our table.

 I just have a figure of Mary, some roses and a few other little things that represent Mary. The pink roses are to write prayer requests on to leave with Mary. The rose pattern came from a St. Therese lapbook* we created a few years ago. My favorite new addition to our collection this year is this crocheted rose Rosary.

 These lovely roses can be found at From the Heart of My Home on Etsy. They are beautifully made with so much love. Here is a brief description."A decade of roses for praying the rosary with little ones! Help your child to participate in family prayers by keeping these soft roses in a basket and allowing him/her to count roses instead of beads." 

  I can't really tell you where my devotion to Mary came from or how it became so strong, but somewhere along the line I just started turning to her. She is the closest human being to Jesus who ever walked this earth. She is a direct path to Jesus. Sometimes when I feel a block in my prayers and a distance from God, I turn to Mary. She brings me along and helps me every time. She never fails me. My favorite new saint, Saint John Paul II had a true devotion to Mary. Maybe his example had an impact on me. His motto was Totus Tuus (completely yours).  My father always used to bring me a Rosary for everything, right down to giving thanks for finding a lost toy! He'd tell me, "Here, say a Rosary in thanksgiving." Then there was my grandmother who always had her Rosary with her. So I guess I have been exposed to the idea of a relationship with the Blessed Mother my whole life. In my adult life it has become much more significant. I want to be more like her. Oh, the idea of saying yes to God's will scares me to be honest. I wonder, what will He ask of me? But I look at Mary and her example of saying "Yes!" to God and want to try.

 This statue of Pieta at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception touches me deeply.

 Each time I visit there and see this statue, tears spring to my eyes. Mary's expression speaks volumes to me. It shows evidence of her anguish over losing her Son, yet a peaceful resignation to The Fathers will.

Some of my prayers to Mother Mary are:

The Rosary

Our Lady Undoer of Knots novena

The Memorare  Mother Teresa loved this prayer and prayed it as an "express novena" in urgent circumstances.

 May we all find comfort and refuge in Mary's intercessions for us, and by His grace may we all become more like her.

God bless you,

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