Flowers of the fairest: she wasn't looking for a devotion to Mary, but the Blessed Mother found her anyway.WHEN MY HUSBAND AND I WERE GETTING MARRIED, we spent most of our time planning the liturgy. We ere both working in ministry, and we attempted draw out as much rich symbolism in the celebration as possible. One traditional piece of the ceremony, however, we felt a need to change.
I was a little uncomfortable with the traditional prayer to Mary. Although I grew up in an active Catholic family, we were involved in a less traditional parish, and I had not had much exposure to the concept of a devotion to Mary. I had never seen a May crowning May crowning is a traditional Roman Catholic ritual that occurs in the month of May of every year. In some countries, it takes place on or about May 1, however, in many United States Catholic parishes, it takes place on Mother's Day. and had only infrequently said the rosary rosary [rose garden], prayer of Roman Catholics, in which beads are used as counters. The term, applied also to the beads, is extended to Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist prayers that use beads. . So at the appropriate time at the wedding, we said a small prayer to Mary, laid a single rose by her statue, and then proceeded to hand single roses to the women in our lives. My mother, my husband's mother, our sisters, aunts, and godmothers all received a rose. It was a way of telling each of them that I appreciated their love and support and would continue to look to them for guidance as a woman, wife, and mother.
That prayer at our wedding was the start of my devotion to Mary. In my college days at the University of Dayton The University of Dayton is one of the ten largest Catholic schools in the United States and is the largest of the three Marianist universities in the nation. It is also home to one of the largest campus ministry programs in the world. , I was surrounded by the Marianist charism char·ism
Charisma. of the school. In my coursework I learned that traditional devotions arose after the Council of Trent Noun 1. Council of Trent - a council of the Roman Catholic Church convened in Trento in three sessions between 1545 and 1563 to examine and condemn the teachings of Martin Luther and other Protestant reformers; redefined the Roman Catholic doctrine and abolished when liturgy became more complex. People felt the need to express their spirituality in familiar and less elaborate ways. In a sense devotions arose out of the need Christians had for making their practices of faith relate to their everyday experiences.
Changes to the liturgy since Vatican II Noun 1. Vatican II - the Vatican Council in 1962-1965 that abandoned the universal Latin liturgy and acknowledged ecumenism and made other reforms
Second Vatican Council
Vatican Council - each of two councils of the Roman Catholic Church in language, music, and overall feel have rendered devotions less common. Yet this focus on devotions as ways to relate Catholicism to our everyday experiences is how my devotion to Mary grew. I believe the single rose I laid at her feet was an invitation for her to take root in my heart.
In small ways and in major events I find myself turning to Mary in my prayer, laying ever more roses at her feet. Since my mother-in-law died, I realized I was offering a Hail Mary Hail Mary: see Ave Maria.
Latin Ave Maria
Principal Roman Catholic prayer addressed to the Virgin Mary. It begins with the greetings spoken to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel and by her cousin Elizabeth in the Gospel of Luke: each time she came to mind. When one sister had a miscarriage miscarriage: see abortion.
or spontaneous abortion
Spontaneous expulsion of an embryo or fetus from the uterus before it can live outside the mother. and another gave birth 12 weeks early, I found the need to pray to God, but I sought a different comfort in sharing these losses and anxieties with Mary. As aunts died, I envisioned gathering back the roses I had handed them at our wedding and offering them to Mary so she could help gather these women to heaven.
In the peaceful moments of motherhood when a newly scrubbed toddler is wiggling in my lap and plants a kiss on my cheek, I think of Mary. When my 6-year-old comes home after a day of small failures, I gather him into my arms and say a prayer to Mary for guidance. As my daughter learned to recite the Hail Mary, she said it beautifully except that she started it "Harry Mary." I knew Mary adored her, too.
I see in the Magnificat the challenge to honor God, "who fills the hungry, scatters the proud, and remembers mercy." This, too, is a challenge I take seriously in the work of my lift. With each moment I find myself asking Mary if she experienced this, too--this joy, this challenge, this vulnerability, this love.
My mother handed me her rosary in the hospital as my son was going for tests, and the constant mantra mantra (măn`trə, mŭn–), in Hinduism and Buddhism, mystic words used in ritual and meditation. A mantra is believed to be the sound form of reality, having the power to bring into being the reality it represents. of words and beads slipping through my fingers was enough to calm my heart as minutes passed into hours, I know Mary needed her mother's wisdom.
A girlfriend showed up at my door pregnant, searching for a face of acceptance instead of disdain. I was also pregnant, and all I could think of was Mary's visit to Elizabeth. I know Mary needed Elizabeth's friendship. As my husband and I pass each other in our hectic lives, we connect in a small hello or a gentle kiss. I know Mary needed Joseph's love.
MOTHER, NURTURER, CHALLENGER, AND CONFIDANTE con·fi·dante
1. A woman to whom secrets or private matters are disclosed.
2. A woman character in a drama or fiction, such as a trusted friend or servant, who serves as a device for revealing the inner thoughts or intentions ARE all feminine qualities, and although it is easy for me to envision God as feminine, I know for certain that Mary was a tremendous woman. I never thought much of a devotion to Mary, and I certainly didn't go looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. one. But I do believe Mary has supported me and walked with me on my journey as a woman. I believe she accepted the single rose at my wedding as an invitation to come into my life. In a sense it was a promise I didn't know I was making.
That rose was only the beginning.
By CHRISTINA ZAKER, who writes from Chicago.