Start Acting Like It

This was originally posted on my personal Facebook account. In light of recent events, I believe it’s a timely reflection on the state of the Church and what can be done about this deviant scourge in our midst. 

Some thoughts:

I am currently reading the grand jury report regarding the sickening Catholic clergy sex abuse case coming out of Pennsylvania. I’ve always been of the opinion that when it comes to convicted child abusers, ESPECIALLY sexual offenders, that the best justice is street justice. But, for better or for worse, we don’t necessarily live in that type of society.

In spite of all of this, do I plan to stay Catholic? Absolutely.

In no other church do I have access to the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus through Holy Communion.

There will always be scandal, there will always be sinners, there will always be passively, polite people who stand by and let bullshit like this happen because they don’t want to disturb the (false) peace. That’s because people are people: that includes you, me, and everyone else kneeling on the rail on Sundays.

But…

You can speak out, stand up, keep going to Mass, keep going to Adoration, keep praying and praying, keep serving your parish, and making your voice heard when something doesn’t seem right. In the words of St. Teresa of Avila, “[right now on Earth,] Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet..but yours.

So start acting like it.

GUEST POST: Marian Book Review by Katie Hendrick

Today I am very grateful to have fellow blogger Katie Hendrick as a guest writer. She has reviewed many great titles about our Blessed Mother, which will make for perfect reading this Lent. You can visit Katie at her blog Stumbling Toward Sainthood.

Despite being a “cradle Catholic,” my relationship with Mary is pretty weak. Being the bookworm that I am, I decided to start reading more books about the Blessed Mother (as well as introducing some Marian prayers into my life). In doing this, I have found three books that can help anyone connect with Mary as Christ made clear we are to do.

Mary by Tim Staples

What It’s About: Staples provides “biblical evidence for Marian doctrine and devotion, answers common objections to Catholic teachings, and guidance on how to imitate Christ – which we should do in all things – by loving and honoring his mother.”

The Good: This book draws from a number of different resources (Scripture, Early Church, etc.) and covers a wide array of the common misconceptions about Mary. I also felt what made this book especially beneficial to readers was Tim Staples’ perspective as a Catholic convert. Because he came from a Fundamentalist background, he was able to address the concerns about Mary more effectively than someone who always felt close to Mary.

The Opportunities for Improvement: The only thing I didn’t like about this book was some of the Bible verses got repetitive. Though they were still relevant, I think a simple verse reference would have sufficed.

Why You should Read it: If you want to grow closer to Mary, I think you first need to get rid of all the misconceptions surrounding her. There is so much misinformation surrounding the practice of honoring to Mary, and this book provides clear responses to correct this. If you start turning to Mary with uncertainty or fear fueled by misconceptions, it will be a much more difficult road. Starting by learning will make the path smoother, so this book is a great place to start.

Link to my Full Review: https://stumblingtowardsainthood.com/book-review-mary/

 Mary: Help in Hard Times by Marianne Lorraine Trouve

What It’s About: “No matter what challenges we may face in life, Mary is always there to help us….Let the prayers and real-life stories of how others have experienced Mary’s intercession open your heart to the care she can provide for you.”

The Good: This is probably the second best book on Mary I have read (only overshadowed by the last book I will recommend). It starts by addressing who Mary is, moves into people’s experiences with the Blessed Mother, and concludes with different practices to connect with Mary. I thought the level of detail was fantastic, and this book was very encouraging.

The Opportunities for Improvement: This is such a small criticism, but I did not like the Bible translation they used for The Annunciation because the explanation of it referenced a different translation.

Why You should Read it: If you only want to read one book on Mary, this is the book to pick; it is a good blend of apologetics and devotions. This book was also very practical. For example, when discussing the personal experiences people had with Mary, it didn’t lean heavily on miracles; instead, it focused on how dedicated prayer brought about fruit. It’s also a great starting point for Marian prayer if you have no idea where to start.

Link to my Full Review: https://stumblingtowardsainthood.com/book-review-mary-help-hard-times/

Praying the Rosary Like Never Before by Edward Sri

What It’s About: “Do you struggle with praying the rosary: finding time, fighting distractions, worrying about your mind wandering? In Praying the Rosary Like Never Before, Edward Sri offers practical suggestions that come from the rosary’s tradition and, most especially, St. John Paul II. These helpful tips will make the rosary a constant companions through the different seasons, moments, and challenges we all face. These tips serve as easy on-ramps for those who don’t pray the rosary regularly motivate avid devotees of the rosary to go deeper with the Lord.” In the interest of transparency, I want to make it clear that I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Good: This book was very intelligently written without being intimidating. Whether you and Mary are BFFs or you just got past the “Catholics worship Mary” falsity, you can find growth from this book. Though the beginning of the book was solid with its blend of apologetics and history, what really made this book special was the beautiful rosary meditations. If you think that the rosary is boring, these beautiful mediations will change your mind. If you fear that the rosary focuses too much on Mary, the explanations of the mystery in the context of Scripture and Christ’s salvific plan will also change your mind. This was my favorite book from 2017.

The Opportunities for Improvement: This is an even smaller criticism than before, but there was one graphic in the book that was blurry. I really had to dig to find something wrong with it.

Why You should Read it: This book is just beautiful. It’s hard to articulate how much I loved it. The rosary seems like an outdated prayer, but this book shines the spotlight this amazing spiritual practice. It’s hard to read this book and not feel some kind of change.

Link to my Full Review: https://stumblingtowardsainthood.com/book-review-pray-rosary-like-never/ 

***

Getting to know Mary can be intimidating, but these books lay some groundwork. Mary gives you the most basic information you need about our Blessed Mother. Mary: Help in Hard Times reassures you of her love for her children and gives some steps for growing closer to her. Praying the Rosary Like Never Before will lead you to fall in love with this incredible prayer. Though there are many great books about Mary out there, you can’t go wrong with starting with these three.

***

Kate Hendrick lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two cats. She works as an engineer full-time. Kate writes on her blog, Stumbling Toward Sainthood, which discusses the challenges we face as we strive to live authentically Catholic lives. When Kate isn’t sharing her love for Christ and His Church online, you can find her reading, crocheting, or playing nerdy board games with her friends. You can also find Kate on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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Hallmark Mary: Thoughts on the Rosary and Life with Jesus

Image result for immaculate conception

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This post was intended for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on Friday, December 8th, 2017. Two days later, I’m sure you’ll find it still as useful and relevant as ever. God bless!

Do you have a Nativity set in your home?

If so, and you’re nearby, take a look at it. What do you see? More than likely, it’s a very serene scene. Pleasant faces on Mary and Joseph, well-behaved animals, and eager magi. Personally, I own peg-doll nativity scene, with Mary, Joseph, Jesus, a shepherd, and angel depicted as ethnic Koreans in traditional Korean dress. It’s a lovely, homey scene that reminds me of my year living in East Asia. Yet, my own nativity scene that I love depicts a very clean, socially acceptable first Christmas.

Today’s (12/8/2017) Gospel reading is the Annunciation in St. Luke:

Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”

The retelling of the Annunciation is a favorite: it fills Christians with hope and joy, the moment that it was revealed to Mary that she would become the mother of Our Lord. I often think about Mary on that day. What did she do after learning she would become the mother of God’s only son? While we can’t know what she was thinking, we do know from Scripture that Mary did not dawdle to accept her call as Jesus’ mother. After hearing the angel Gabriel’s news Our Lady replied, “May it be done to me according to your word.” While Mary may have been confused about this good news, she did not hesitate to say “Yes” to God. Her one “Yes” or fiat, changed the course of humanity’s salvation history.

Nevertheless, a little over 2,000 years later, Christians (myself included) are often guilty of transforming the stories of the Bible into Hallmark shop renditions. The story of Christ seems so distant from our era, that it’s easy to flip through our Bibles and think, “Yes, how nice!” Often, the Christian art in our homes is pleasant. Our religion, unfortunately, is sometimes reduced to pleasantries.

How can we avoid “Hallmark Mary”? Or worse, “Hallmark Jesus”?

I believe one answer to this question lies in the practice of praying the Rosary. For my Protestant readers, the Rosary is prayer based in Scripture that allows us to meditate on events in life of Jesus and Mary (often using beads). These events are called “mysteries” due to their miraculous and mysterious nature. There are four sets of mysteries: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, and Luminous. Despite its criticism from non-Catholics for existing as a “vain repetition” with its over 50 Hail Marys and numerous Our Fathers, the Rosary is a powerful tool that helps us delve into an authentic understanding of the life of Jesus.

For example, in the Joyful Mysteries, the first mystery we ponder is the Annunciation (from today’s readings!). After meditating upon the Annunciation, the next four mysteries are The Visitation (Luke 1:39), The Nativity (Luke 2) The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:22) and the Finding of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41). All of these events are happy, wonderful times in the early life of the Holy Family. We meditate upon Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth, and extending all the way to when Mary and Joseph find Jesus in the temple after frantically searching for him in Jerusalem. When I pray the Joyful Mysteries, especially in the mystery of the Nativity, I like to ask Christ to be “born” anew in my heart each day.

On the other hand, the practice of praying the Rosary also acknowledges that Christianity is not a religion of perpetual, temporal happiness. On Tuesdays and Fridays, devotees of the Rosary pray the Sorrowful Mysteries. These mysteries include Jesus’ Agony in the Garden (Mark 26), The Scourging at the Pillar (John 19:1), The Crowning of the Thorns (John 19), The Carrying of the Cross (Matthew 27:31), and the Crucifixion (all four Gospels). With these mysteries, Catholics can meditate upon the events leading up to Good Friday, while also thinking about how we can unite our own suffering with the suffering of Christ. With Mary, we can stand at the foot of the cross as we pray through each sorrowful moment of Holy Week.

Finally, with joys, sorrows, and everything in between, Catholics are able to use the Rosary to combat the idea that life with Christ is like an idyllic Hallmark cliche. We recognize that yes, while there are joyful mysteries and glorious mysteries to our Faith, there are also sorrows. Luckily, we have Our Lord to carry and guide us along the way. And like our Blessed Mother, we too can say “Yes” to God without fear.

Don’t be daunted by the cross. The surest test of love consists in suffering for the loved one, and if God suffered so much for love, the pain we suffer for Him becomes as lovable as love itself. // St. Padre Pio

Never be afraid of loving Mary too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did. // St. Maximilian Kolbe

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

Little Offerings

During my time in RCIA, I started reading as much as I could about the Catholic faith and practice. Two of the best books I read were Matthew Kelly’s Rediscover Catholicism and The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. Though I was in the process of discovering Catholicism (not rediscovering) through the formal RCIA process, I was impressed by many of the book’s claims about the important value of Catholicism in modern culture. Yet, the topic that stood out to me the most (and was touched on only very briefly), was the act of “offering it up.” Honestly, I can’t remember which book in which I encountered the idea of offering something for someone else. Yet, months later, I still remember it.

In a nutshell, Kelly claims that anything can be a prayer. He states that even if your job is but to collect garbage, you can “offer” that hour of work as a prayer for someone in need. In one way, these little acts of selflessness help us fulfill St. Paul’s instructions. After reading that particular section in Kelly’s book, I was floored. Never once in recent memory had I thought about my daily actions as a prayer to God.

For me, to pray without ceasing meant to pray in a traditional way, eyes closed and hand folded, at all times. For a prayer to “count,” you had to list all of your needs, wants, and thanks to God. It was my job to inform God of every little jot and tittle in my life. It’s no wonder I was usually exhausted trying to pray non-stop. Prayer had become a chore rather than a privilege.

Now, as I’ve matured in faith and age: prayer has taken on a new meaning. Now that I know I can “offer” up anything to the Lord as a prayer, the possibilities seem endless. For example, I may say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and offer it for those who are hurting or discouraged. One night I may say it for a very specific intention. On other days, I may offer up my daily work for a group of people or a cause. I may attend an hour of

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Walking with Purpose

adoration for the intentions of a religious sister. And while I may not know the needs and specific intentions for those I am praying for, I know that God know. What a comfort!

Your little offerings may look different from mine, and that’s okay. Perhaps you like to recite the Morning Offering before you get out of bed, or maybe you set aside a few minutes of Bible study for someone’s needs. There is nothing too small that Our Lord won’t notice. St. Martin de Porres said that scraping vegetables, tending a garden, and cleaning a room can be a prayer as long as it’s offered to God. Simply, no act is too little.

This week, I challenge you think of an action, activity, or amount of time that you can offer up to the Lord. Think about who you can offer it for (or maybe for yourself!), and begin to pray without ceasing.

Pure love…knows that only one thing is needed to please God; to do even the smallest things out of great love – love, and always love. // St. Faustina

I offer You my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for the intentions of the Sacred Heart…[and] for the intentions of all my relatives and friends. // from the Morning Offering

 

 

 

November 1st: Solemnity of All Saints and a Miraculous Medal Story

 

All Saints, Christian, Holy, Faith

pixabay.com

Good morning, everyone!

This is your friendly reminder that, if you’re Catholic in the United States, today is a Holy Day of Obligation. It’s All Saints’ Day (or Solemnity of All Saints), a day where Christians remember and honor those who are now in Heaven with Christ. When I was confirmed as a Catholic this year, I chose Mary, the mother of Jesus, as my patron saint. If you’re Catholic, do you have a special saint that you are drawn to? If you’re not a Catholic Christian, and aren’t familiar with the lives of the saints, is there someone who has served as your role model of faith? Maybe it’s your parents or grandparents. Or, maybe a close friend introduced you to the Christian walk. Either way, take time to pray and thank God for those who have drawn us closer to life with Jesus.

Now for a story:

Yesterday, my mom and I were on our way to the gym. As we bopped along the winding roads, she told me, “Look in the cup holder. I found this medallion stuck under some floorboards and a crevice at the old farm house. What is it?”

I take a look, and to my astonishment, it’s was a Miraculous Medal. In my basic knowledge of the history of the medal, I explained that a French nun received a vision from Mary, which included the design of the medal. Several thousand medals were minted throughout Paris, and news of miracles and conversions were reported. Thus, giving it the name “The Miraculous Medal.”

Here’s the fun part of the story: to our knowledge, no Catholics have ever lived in the house, and it’s an old house. My dad’s family isn’t Catholic, and before that, my mom’s great-uncle and aunt lived there. They weren’t Catholic. There may have been an occasional Catholic sweetheart in-and-out of the house for visits when the place was rented. But, it’s farfetched s/he would have misplaced a Miraculous Medal that fell between the floorboards and a crevice where a water heater used to sit. Plus, before my mom cleaned it, the medal was caked thick with dirt, signifying it’s probable old age. She had to use a chemical to clean the medal just to see the image of Mary.

You’re probably thinking, “OK, Sarah. What’s the big deal? People find misplaced items in old farm houses everyday.” I agree with you. I’ve found my share of horseshoes, old nails, and newspaper clippings inside and around my dad’s old childhood home. But, this find was different and brought comfort to my heart.

For the past 18 days, I’ve participated in a 28-day rosary challenge with daily devotionals, courtesy of Chews Life. I’ve experienced an increase of grace and peace in my life, and human words aren’t necessarily able to explain this change. It’s truly God at work (that’s another post for another time). Finally, around the time I began the rosary challenge, I started wearing a free, miniature medal I requested from The Central Association of the Miraculous Medal. I’m not claiming that my mom finding the Miraculous Medal hidden deep in the floor of my dad’s childhood home is a miracle. But, I also believe there’s no such thing as coincidences: especially as today is All Saint’s Day, and the Blessed Mother is my confirmation saint.

Sometimes, God winks at you in the most interesting of ways. Have a blessed day!

All you saints and angels, pray for us!

Do not be afraid to be the saints of the new millennium. // St. Pope John Paul II

Miraculous Medal

The cleaned medal.

 

 

Lace Revolutionary: Choosing to Veil at Mass

“When we go to Mass together, I’d like you to wear a veil. I think it would be a good witness to everyone, especially the other women in the parish.”

If you step into, say 95%, of Protestant or Catholic churches, you won’t find but a handful women wearing head coverings or lacy veil. Gone are the days when most women wore elaborate hats (save for Easter) or little girls a tiny doily for a crown. Unfortunately, I believe this is a long-standing Christian tradition that has been tossed by the wayside for the sake of modernity. So, when my boyfriend (now fiance) uttered the request quoted above, I knew I had to take the importance veiling under more serious consideration.

Shoes, Brautschuhe, White, ElegantAs a Catholic Christian, I believe that when a woman wears a veil to Mass, it is a visual reminder to both herself and those her around her that she is, first and foremost, submissive to God. I should add that I do not believe that the act of veiling is an issue of salvation. Just because I wear a veil to Mass does not mean I am automatically going to heaven, and because you don’t, it doesn’t mean you aren’t God-fearing or love the Lord. A woman can veil everyday of her life, and still not understand the truth of Christ in her heart.

I digress.

Though veiling is certainly foreign to most church-going women in the West, it wasn’t completely unknown to me. In high school, I sometimes wore hats to church. Often, I had read St. Paul’s advice to the women in Corinth, stating “But any woman who prophesies or prays with her head unveiled brings shame upon her head…” and also, because “of the angels” (1 Cor. 11:5; 10). If it was in the Bible, I knew it must be important. Ultimately, in the same chapter, Paul also issues the hierarchy of the Christian home, which for many, is a hard pill to swallow or even ponder. Yet, the foundation of families and Christian submission both mesh into the reason why many women veil on Sunday mornings or any time they enter a church building.

But, I’ve heard the detractors before, “A woman covering was a cultural thing, and now it doesn’t matter in our current age. Head coverings and family hierarchies are symbols of an old, misogynistic past.” But, what if we viewed Paul’s teachings as a way to publicly witness for Our Lord?

While I could express my own views about the power of the chapel veil in evangelization, I believe that Catholic family apostolate Veils By Lily offers a far superior explanation (bold emphasis mine):

In 1 Corinthians 11:7, St. Paul says, “A man, on the other hand, should not cover his head because he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man.”

Throughout the Bible, nuptial imagery is used to represent the love of God. In Ephesians 5:25, St. Paul says “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves the Church” and this, taken in conjunction with 1 Corinthians 11:7 (and the rest of that passage), reveals this nuptial imagery: man is to Christ as woman is to the Church.

Since the Church is the “bride” of Christ, it makes sense that the bride should cover her head “as a sign of authority” (1 Cor 11:10) and submission to the bridegroom, Christ, whom men represent. The Church submits to Christ, not the other way around. It is a submission of love, not repression. Who wouldn’t submit to Him Who loves her unto death?

and

The veil is meant to be an external sign of a woman’s interior desire to
humble herself before God, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. As
women, we are symbols of the Church – the Bride of Christ – and, as a
priest once said, “the veil is meant to be a visible reminder of the perfect
submission of the Church to the loving rule of Christ.”

“The veil is a visual sermon … a public proclamation before the Lord that He IS the Lord and that we love Him and that we are ready to obey him. It’s a totally counter-cultural statement proclaiming obedience in the midst of a culture that is totally permeated with this attitude of ‘I will not serve.‘”

The veil is also a sign of the great dignity inherent to a woman, who has the potential to receive life within herself… both human life and the supernatural life of God. This is an important message the world needs to hear, now more than ever!

As Christian women, Jesus gives such a beautiful and sacred sacred role in our lives. Just as in a home, men should represent Christ, women are tasked with the representing the role of Christ’s bride, the Church. We have the job of personifying God’s Church!

Nearly exclusively, the idea of submission goes against the grain of our modern society. Take a look in any bookstore. When perusing the selection for women, there are countless titles on how to be a boss in personal and professional life or how to achieve corporate success through aggression. Walk down the aisle further, and you’ll see dating books praising hookup culture. There are few books about the power of a quiet, gentle spirit.

When a woman wears a chapel veil or head covering, she says in a humble spirit to the world, “I am Christ’s and I am submissive to Him.” A woman need not be a married housewife living under the mission of a husband to practice this calling. Just as wives are called into Godly submission to their husbands (representing the submission of the Church to Christ), any woman can wear a veil and say that she is submissive first to Christ: Not to a secular idea or philosophy, not her career, not any other outside force.

When I veil, I believe I am displaying my commitment to Godly submission. I show the world that yes, I work a public career and I have other obligations. But first and foremost, I am living the virtue of submission to Christ. I show my respect, reverence, and awe of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. He is first: not my job, not my appointments, not my plans, and not even my fiance. Christ is King, and He is the ultimate ruler of my life. Finally, in the future when I am married, I pray that I can faithfully mirror the image of the Church in my relationship with my husband (who will reflect Christ in our home).

If you are a woman and thinking about the practice of veiling at Mass, I pray you will consider it. While veiling alone won’t take you to heaven, it can surely help you get there. I understand that for some ladies, it may feel awkward to be the only one with a veil. That’s totally normal, and I’ve felt the same way. Instead, look at veiling as a public witness for Christ that is humble, gentle, and ultimately revolutionary.

For more information about veiling or to purchase a veil, please visit Veils By Lily. If you’d like to chat with me more about veiling, check out my Connect With Me page. Finally, the video below is a wonderful testament to the practice of Christian head covering in the Mass.

 

 

 

 

When She Shows You Her Son: A Life with Mary

About three weeks ago, my fiance and I were privileged to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of the Island in Manorville, New York. This was my very first visit to a Marian shrine, and as a recent convert to the Catholic faith, I found a particular warmth to the shrine property (I’ll talk about my visit in another post). As we walked among the trees and rain, I was so happy to have a space to reflect upon Mary’s role in my Christian journey.

Prior to my conversion, I possessed a deep admiration for Mary. “How special, I thought, for her to be chosen as Jesus’ mother! She just simply cannot be an ordinary person; There’s

Virgin, Mary, Madonna, Jesus, Baby

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much more to her than we could imagine,” I often pondered. Yet, my faith community viewed Mary as someone who was just “nice.” We would dress up as her for the Christmas play and someone would sing “Mary Did You Know?” On December 26th, Mary would go back into the Nativity scene box, never to be spoke of or seen again until after Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, many Protestants see Catholic devotion to Mary as unnecessary, or even worse, idolatrous.

A friend once mentioned, “I just don’t like the Catholic emphasis on Mary. It takes away from Jesus.” To this, I responded by saying that Mary doesn’t distract us from Jesus. Instead, she shows us the way to her Son.

For example, in John 2, we see the wedding feast at Cana. The wedding has run out of wine, and Mary tells Jesus this news. He replies with “Woman, what does this have to do with me?” Mary then responds to the servants, telling them, “Do whatever He tells you.” As the story concludes, Jesus performs His first miracle at Cana, turning water into the finest wine.

This is a powerful testament to Mary’s example for Christians. It seems, rather than fume that Jesus won’t comply with her immediately, she is patient, turning to the servants, saying “Do whatever He tells you.” In one simple statement, Mary spoke the essence of Christian life: to follow Jesus and submit our will to His. In today’s world, following Jesus unconditionally is difficult. We have so many distractions: cell phones, social media, our work, plans, worries, and anxieties. It’s hard to follow Jesus when we are preoccupied in our minds with everyday monotony.

Mary, Virgin, Jesus

Jesus and Mary: Depicted in traditional Korean attire (pixabay.com)

As a personal example, I struggle with anxiety. Daily, I find myself worried over things both big and small. Little, nagging worries occupy my mind. Obviously, Holy Scriptures tell us not to worry. We are told not to fear (365 times, actually!). At yet, at this, I fail. In spite of my failures, each day, I like to remember the words of the Blessed Mother, just as she told the servants at Cana: Do whatever He tells you. These words encourage me to not worry and to put my trust in Christ. Mary always points you and I towards her Son, towards obedience towards Him, and to the knowledge of Him. I’m not a professional Catholic apologist or theologian, and there are so many more writings about Mary you could read that surpass my skill. However, for my Catholic and Protestant friends alike, remember that a Biblical Mary will always point you to Jesus, never to herself.

As I stood in front of the shrine in New York, I was amazed at the detail. As Mary stood tall, she carried the infant Jesus in her arms. Rather than hold Jesus to the side, Mary held Him in front of her, the center of our visual focus. As I looked up, I said a prayer that day, thanking Our Lord His mother’s life and for her fiat. May you and I both, as the faithful on earth, always do as He tells us with joyful, hopeful hearts.