Tag Archives: Rosary

Catholic Devotion to Mary

12 Jul

Growing up, my mom made us partake in a lot of Marian devotions. We were interrupted to pray the Angelus while watching cartoons, sing Marian hymns at home and special occasions at church, and our house was decked with a plethora of images of Our Lady. The worst imposition was when my mom would pray a rosary with us late at night if we couldn’t sleep. No doubt sleep would come over us within five minutes. For most of my life, I didn’t understand why she and the Catholic Church put so much value on the Blessed Mother.

Virgin Mary Annuticiate Fra Angelico

Virgin Mary Annuticiate Fra Angelico

I questioned: Why do you stand when you pray the Hail Holy Queen? Why does she get an entire five decades of prayers dedicated to her? Why does she get multiple feast days for her honor? Why do some Catholics seem to worship her and treat her like the fourth person of the Trinity? All of this questioning turned me off to hearing and learning about various Marian devotions. I struggled a lot with the idea of asking for help from the Virgin Mary instead of going straight to God.

One realization I have come to is that God made us human with physical needs. He sent His only Son to come to earth as a man to experience what we experience and be able to relate to us. God became man and was born of a woman so that we would be able to understand and relate. A divine being made up of three in one persons? That doesn’t make any sense…but a baby boy born to a young girl and a carpenter? Now, that is something I can wrap my head around! We all have a mother and a father, even Jesus. The month of May is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. We honor her and remember the great sacrifice and love she experienced bringing Christ into the world.

How many times do we honor our own mother throughout the year? On her birthday and Mother’s Day, we spend time and money on her, write cards and give flowers. On these days and many other days throughout the year, we take time to thank our moms for giving us life, and for all they have sacrificed and given to and for us. And rightly so, these beautiful women have done so much for us, and we are literally here because of their love and sacrifice. How much more, then, should we love, honor, appreciate and thank the Mother of God. Christ would have never come as a man, suffered death and rose again if Mary hadn’t said “yes.”

During the month of May, and specifically around Mother’s Day when we honor our own mothers, I challenge you to take some time to honor and thank Our Lord’s mother. After all, she is our mom too: “Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home” (John 19:27).

 

– Catherine Huss

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Words at Mass

11 Dec
 The New Translation
 I have been thinking about the new English translation of the Mass (that’s right the words are a little different on Sundays but the Eucharist is as good as ever). There is something comforting about repeating the same thing every Sunday, but is our rote usage of the same prayers just about comfort? Why is it that Catholics are so obsessed with saying the same things in unison repeatedly (try the Rosary, couldn’t we just say one “Hail Mary” and be done with it?) Why can’t I just pray using my own words?

I have a suspicion that these questions miss the point. The namesake of one of our Twin Cities (not Minneapolis) had something to say about prayer, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” So maybe Paul is trying to tell us that we should just groan at Mass but that seems unpleasant. The point is that there is a deep prayer in all hearts whether they be Catholic or non-Catholic hearts. That prayer is for communion with God whether it is experienced in a yoga studio, a concert at First Avenue, or kneeling in a pew. Even if we think we don’t believe in God; we all want the divine.

Are we supposed to give up words? No. People were made for language; we are speakers and listeners. The scriptures are full of prayers. Paul tells us to pray with words, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. . .as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.”

So, we have the deep desire in our heart (that’s the Holy Spirit working) and we should use words, but do we have to repeat them? Yes. Our hearts are formed by the words we use (which is why I shouldn’t swear at cars when I am biking). At Mass, the words we say and the words we hear, teach our hearts how to love; they teach our hearts who it is we are groaning for: the Word Incarnate. Augustine advised his monks, “When you pray to God in psalms and songs, the words spoken by your lips should be alive in your hearts.” Those outward words will transform us (if we let them). This transformation leads us to love our brothers and sisters who are groaning for God; they bring us into communion with the Divine, and help prepare us to eat the Word in the Eucharist. So the next time you go to Mass respond, sing, listen, and maybe even groan (quietly); you may find yourself transformed by repetition and love.

– Terence Sweeney