Posts tagged ‘Blessed Mother Mary’

June 3, 2010

Take a Step Back to Take a Step Forward

Tonight, after having been married for an official eight months, I have finally done it.  I’ve chosen the photos for our wedding album.

As much as it’s been weighing down on me as something that needs to get done for, I’d say, the last seven months, I’m glad there was some distance between the event and my choosing the photos (I say “my” only because John has been super busy studying for a CFA exam on Saturday, so we agreed this sorting and choosing task would be mine).

With some time to let my memories settle in, it was nice to go back and see different angles of my favorite moments of that day.  I’ve ended up making two albums—one is from the professional photographer and the other, a combination of photos from friends and family.  As excited as I am for the professional album to be an important part of our family history, that collection doesn’t really capture our friends and all that they added to our wedding.  We needed a lot more room for that!

By setting up a Shutterfly account and inviting (nay, insisting!) anyone with a camera to upload their photos, I have an eyes-everywhere scrapbook of the days leading up to the wedding—cooking dinner at my parents’ house Thursday night, the girls getting our nails done on Friday, the rehearsal dinner and dancing at the bar afterward—as well as the moments the professional photographer couldn’t be there for on the big day.  Like when one of my bridesmaids’ shoes got too wet in the grass and started bleeding dark blue/black ink all over her foot.  A couple of the girls then cleaned it off in the little sink in the bridal suite, but those shoes will never be the same.  Or when one of my cousins told me she was terrified by the way one of my friends (who will remain unnamed) dances.  Both her look of shock and his antics are captured in the same frame, and while it’s not the classiest photo around, it’s certainly one of my favorites.

In going through both the professional and the not-so-professional photos, I found a bunch of shots that I don’t remember noticing the first time I saw them.  There’s one of my parents and brother chatting between being in the receiving line and going back into the church for pictures.  And another of one of my bridesmaids and me belting “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” at each other (a moment I’d been looking forward to for a long time!).

I am blessed to have many wonderful people in my life and to have these tangible reminders of how amazing that day was.  Filled with joy, filled with love, filled with promise!  And two-thirds of a year into my first year of marriage, I can feel confident saying that our relationship is still all of those things as well. In the midst of a busy couple of weeks at work, the beginnings of back discomfort due to the Peanut, and a ton of decisions left to make in the next few months, I am grateful for a happy reminder of what it’s all about.

I leave you with my favorite wedding picture, one John’s cousin took as we offered flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary as we asked her to bless our marriage and our family.  (Prayer answered!) Amen!

October 3, 2009

May 11, 2010

Mother’s Day Week, 1st installment: Blessed Mother Mary

Although I’ve been Catholic and praying the Hail Mary all my life, it’s only in the past few years that I’ve come to a more profound and personal appreciation of Mother Mary.

It started in college, during a season of Advent.  I participated in a “Busy Student Retreat,” which involved spiritual direction, small group prayer meetings, as well as a bunch of material for individual meditation and prayer.  I think it was in a reflection on the Annunciation (when the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her of the birth of Jesus, Luke 1:26-38) that I realized how integral Mary was in Jesus’ life, and how essential he was to hers.  She was the first person to know that Jesus—the Incarnation of God—would dwell on earth so soon.  But she had to accept her role, she had to say “yes” for everything to happen as planned.  This young woman had incredible faith, unshakable trust, and a fountain of love—all virtues I’d like to possess myself.

Another thing I love about Mary is that during the Annunciation she asked Gabriel how the conception would be possible, seeing as she was a virgin.  She accepted the message pretty much instantly, but she still sought to better understand what was going to happen.  He told her the Holy Spirit would have a role in the conception, and she didn’t push for more information or for some other answer that she might have wanted to hear.  She accepted the news with complete and humble faith.

And then what really amazes me is that Mary was not to play just any role in the life of Jesus, the savior of the world, she was to be his mother.  After she gave birth, she would be the one (with Joseph, of course) to comfort him when he got scared at night, to make his lunch every day, to teach him about the customs of their society and the traditions of their Jewish culture.

I’m reminded of the scene in The Passion of the Christ when Jesus and Mary are laughing and joking together as they set the table for a meal (I think that’s what they’re doing, if I remember correctly).  While these two people had extremely significant roles in the history of salvation, they were also mother and son and had a special kind of relationship like no other in the world.

I wonder sometimes if when Mary worried about Jesus getting hurt or sick or lost, she worried about her son or about the Son of God who had been left to her care.  As I think about it now, though, all our children are gifts from God.  I know, as much as I can at this point, that there is so much beyond our control as the people around us grow and change.  Now I think maybe it’s more difficult to separate “my son” from “God’s son entrusted to my care” than I first assumed.   Another lesson learned from Mary’s gentle motherhood and exemplary love.

Mary’s life changed in an instant, and it was never again what she had expected it to be.  But she embraced that with an open mind and a loving heart.  If I can follow her example in even my more minor roles as a mother—patiently washing dishes, making meals when I’m exhausted, feeding children in the middle of the night—I believe I will be one step closer to the happy, peaceful woman she was, and a little bit closer to her son, my God, as well.

As a Christian, as a Catholic, as a woman, and now especially as a mother, I strive for the kind of trust and humility Mary had, and I’m grateful for her prayers and for the example she offers.

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