As the Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of Fatima today, the McGrath Institute for Church Life is releasing a free resource: Celebrating Mary in the Month of May: A Resource for the Domestic Church.
In the Gospel of Luke, we hear that as soon as the angel Gabriel departs from Mary, she travels to the hill country “in haste” to see her cousin Elizabeth (Luke 1:39). When Mary meets her cousin, and the unborn John the Baptist announces the presence of the unborn Lord by leaping in his mother Elizabeth’s womb, Elizabeth proclaims the fruit of Mary’s womb blessed, and Mary herself blessed among women. Mary’s response, the Magnificat, reveals how she has been glorified by God, who has always come to the help of the lowly, the poor, and those who fear him. In this canticle, Mary proclaims the greatness of God because of his mercy.
Over the past few years, I’ve become increasingly reliant on my online calendar; classes, meetings, coffee dates, phone calls, times for work or rest all have a neatly colored slot on the screen. Yet as I scroll through the next few weeks, the reality of graduating amid such global uncertainty reveals itself in a series of empty, unclaimed days ahead.
Queen of Heaven, rejoice. Alleluia
For he whom you did merit to bear. Alleluia
Has risen as he said. Alleluia
Pray for us to God. Alleluia
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary. Alleluia
For our Lord has truly risen. Alleluia
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.