Advent and Christmas have always held a particular meaning to me depending on the season and space of my life; the way I’ve internalized their meaning changes depending on who and where I am at the time. I’ve been a mother for 13 Christmases now. For the majority of that time, Advent and Christmas have been about making the season magical for my kids in that sparkly, sugar-dusted-self-defeating sort of way. Where puffs of flour appear in the air each time someone opens our door and our calendar is color coded and overloaded. Of course, all this magic-making inevitably stresses me out beyond the point of no return, negating the very magic I try to create. Sure, it’s also been about helping my children come to learn about the salvific birth of our Lord, who came to save the world, teach us to love, and lead us to heaven, and I think (largely thanks to their amazing teachers) they get that. But all of this magic-making has, slowly but surely over the last 13 years, replaced my own grasp of what this season is supposed to be for me.
An unconventional portrayal of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Nellie Edwards’ “Mother of Life” immediately draws the viewer’s gaze to Mary’s face, an expression of stoic serenity. Her glowing visage imparts an inexplicable restfulness; she articulates no rational explanation for her peace, yet her image communicates, in fact imparts, a definitive grace. Eventually, the slope of her mantle and bowed head guide us to the image’s center: the Light of Christ in her womb. We now discover the source of her firm tranquility to be the Christ-Child, whose radiance is almost too bright for our eyes to hold.
For the first time, the universal Catholic Church will have the option to celebrate the memorial of the Blessed Virgin of Loreto on December 10. This past October 7, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Cardinal Robert Sarah announced that Pope Francis had decreed that the celebration should be inscribed on the Roman Calendar as an optional memorial.
With the release of Vespers for the Immaculate Conception, Grammy-winning composer and Notre Dame Folk Choir director J.J. Wright follows up on the musical fusion of 2016’s Billboard Classical chart-topping album O Emmanuel.
October is the month of the Rosary, and as the Church celebrates Our Lady of the Rosary today, I find myself reflecting on how this prayer has shaped my life of faith. Inevitably, my mind returns to my childhood, to praying the Rosary with my family.