Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Our Lady's Month

May, The Month Of The Blessed Virgin Mary
I have know for some time that the month of May is one of the months dedicated to our Blessed Mother Mary, but it is not until this year that I have really know why, and how it is usually celebrated and observed. I found some great information about it online and here is what I learned. . .

Let's start with a short history.
The Tradition of dedicating the month of May to the Blessed Virgin Mary started as the end of the 13th century to Christianize secular feasts. 
In the 16th century there were books found that fostered this Devotion.
In the 1700's the practice had become popular with the Jesuit order and with their students. A short time later it was practiced in the Gesu church in Rome, from there it spread throughout the whole church. 
It is said that the tradition of honoring Mary with devotions for the whole month of May originated in Italy, and from there, spread around the world in the 19th century. 

Many Popes have had great devotions to Mary and celebrated the month of May with special devotions to her. 

Pope Paul VI, in his encyclical on the Month of May, said that “During this month Christians, both in church and in the privacy of the home, offer up to Mary from their hearts an especially fervent and loving homage of prayer and veneration. In this month, too, the benefits of God’s mercy come down to us from her throne in greater abundance.” 

In May 2002 John Paul II said: “Today we begin the month dedicated to Our Lady a favourite of popular devotion. In accord with a long-standing tradition of devotion, parishes and families continue to make the month of May a ‘Marian’ month, celebrating it with many devout liturgical, catechetical and pastoral initiatives!”
 Ways to celebrate and honor our Blessed Mother this month include:
  • Reciting the Rosary daily (especially as a family).
  • Singing Marian anthems.
  • Praying special Marian prayers and novenas (The Angelus is another good prayer to say daily.)
  • Celebrating mass, especially on her feast days.
  • Making an alter for Mary using a statue or image of her surrounded with fresh May flowers.
  • Crowning a statue of Mary with a simple crown of flowers.
Crowning a statue of Our Lady with a wreath or crown of blossoms is probably one of the practices that is done and most recognized today. It is done to signify that Mary is the Queen of Heaven and Mother of God. In some places, a crown of flowers is placed on a statue or image of Mary on May 1st, but since it often lands on a weekday, it is done on Mother's day in most Catholic churches in the United States. You can celebrate the crowning of Mary at most Catholic churches during a special ceremony like a benediction, special rosary or the closing of mass. Children who go to Catholic school often have a special service presided by a priest that is celebrated with the whole school. It consists of readings, prayers, songs and usually ends with a special procession to crown a statue of Our Mother. You can also celebrate crowning Mary as a family at home. A simple way to do it would be to say the rosary together and then crown one of your statues or images of Mary with a homemade wreath of flowers. (real or plastic flowers can be used).

 A secular celebration for the month of May that I have learned about is making a baskets, wreaths or arrangements of May flowers to leave as a surprise for your neighbors at their door. This is a tradition that has developed here in the USA from long ago and far away, and is still done here in some places today. To me, this sounds like a great way to start the month of Our Blessed Mother. I very much want it to be a tradition in my family and plan to start it this next month. It just seems like such a fun and nice thing to do with family for others. Along with giving flowers to the neighbors, we will of course set aside some pretty posies for Mary. :)

As part of my devotion to Mary, I will be posting a different prayer, anthem, hymn, etc. for every day of the month of May here on my blog as a way to honor her.

I highly recommend  reading True Devotion to Mary, by  St. Louis de Montfort. It is an amazing book, sure to inspire a deeper devotion and love for Our Blessed Mother and her Son, Jesus. 
 Feast days of Our Lady in May: 
13 May - Our Lady of Fatima
13 May - Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament
24 May - Mary, Help of Christians
31 May - Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces
31 May - Visitation

31 May - Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

Some other books you might enjoy about Mary: 

  • Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God by Scott Hahn  
  • The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Anne Catherine Emmerich
  • Medjugorje: The Message by Wayne Weible

I hope everyone has a very happy and blessed May! 
P.S. Please check out my post for my give away! It ends at the end of April so you still have some time to enter.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Growing Seeds of Contemplation

Been thinking about how amazing a seed is. Since I have started my garden, I have, mostly,("60% of the time, it works every time") successfully been able to grow a lot of different plants from seed. One day while I was watering, I started thinking about how just one tiny seed can grow into something so big! I mean, isn't it incredible that by taking a tiny seed, putting in the ground, and giving it some water and sun, it is able to grow into plant? Well, I think it is. I never thought it was so amazing until I actually did it and watched it grow from start to finish. Of course this also reminded me of the whole faith the size of a mustard seed, too. It really puts the size of our true faith in perspective. I usually tend to think of my faith being a little bigger than the size of a mustard seed, (OK, a lot bigger.) but it obviously isn't because so far, every time I've tried to move a mountain, it hasn't worked out so well. :)
Then there is the other part of planting the seed, that it must die to produce life. That's pretty interesting too. I don't have much to say about that, but I would like to share this verse which got me thinking about it more:
"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me."
-John 12:24-26

Now about something totally different. . .
I am so excited to say I have been working on quite a few new prayer cards that I should have finished and listed in my Etsy store by the end of this month! To name a few of them, there is the Divine Mercy, Santo Bambino, Spiritual Communion, and a nice selection of Marian prayer cards in the works as we speak. :) Pictures coming soon!

P.S. Thank you to everyone for sharing my store, items and blog! Thank you, thank you!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

New Items For My Shop

So I finished some new items recently and wanted to share. All of them can be found in my shop Here they are. . .
These are some wands I made from some of extra hangers I had from the cleaners. We had a nice rainy day yesterday so I stayed inside with the kiddos and was able to work on these.
 My Daughter testing them out. :)

And here are some new prayer cards and note cards. . . 
 Above are Angelus note cards and prayer cards and below are some Sacred and Immaculate heart blank note cards.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

One Little Lady Bug

I saw a little lady bug in my garden a couple days ago. I know they are good for gardens and I have never seen one in my garden before. Seeing that bug brightened my day and lifted my thoughts to God. It surprised me that a little bug could make me feel so happy. When I see little things like that, it makes me think of God and how He knew how much I appreciate the little things. He is so thoughtful and likes to give us little gifts. I once read in the diary of saint Faustina Kowalska, that while Faustina was watching a small bug crawl across the floor, God revealed to her that He was sustaining that tiny bugs life just by thinking of it. (This also makes me feel bad about killing any bugs now, knowing that God is thinking of them when I squish 'em.) :-p  It also reminded me of fond memories from my childhood when my father would take me and the family on hikes up in the mountains weekly. There was one magical place he would take us that we called the "Lady Bug Place". We called it this because in the summers there were hundreds and thousands of lady bugs that would be there crawling all over different things in a few certain places. It was amazing to see and I was quite enchanted by the whole thing. Ahh, yes, those summer days spent in the mountains were so much fun. I fell in love with nature there and found God everywhere I looked.

P.S. Don't forget about my giveaway! Only a few people have entered so odds are in your favor. :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Give Away and Grand Opening!

Ok, so it's time for my give away to celebrate the grand opening of my new shop, LittleBirdWares.Etsy.Com!! I am giving away this hand embroidered patch and prayer card of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. . .

This is one of my favorite little patches of the Sacred Heart that I have made, so I hope it finds a good home and inspires a deeper love for His beautiful Heart.
The patch measures approx. 2.5"x3" and the prayer card is 3.5"x5.25"

Here's how it will work, if you are interested in entering, just go to my Etsy shop, and send me a message with your name and email or way to contact you if you win. Give away ends April 30th. I will write down all entries on separate pieces of paper, put 'em in a hat and pick out the lucky winner. :) Winner will be announced in May.

Free Prayer Card With Entry While Supplies Last. :)

 I have a some prayer cards from my old shop that I would like pass along. (I started making my cards with a different kind of paper so I won't be selling these ones.) With every entry for my give away I will give one prayer card per person, if so desired. If you want a prayer card, I will need you give me your address and pick the top 2-3 cards you would be interested in having.
 Here are the cards you have to choose from:
Our Father
Hail Mary
St. Joseph
Holy Spirit
Children's morning and evening prayer
Guardian Angel prayer
If you do not mention anything about a prayer card, I will assume you are not interested in receiving one.

Please feel free to tell your friends and share this give away with others. Many Thanks!


Finished Paintings and Productive Days

Finished my 3 paintings this week. Here they are,

30"x40" Acrylic paint on stretched canvas. Currently not for sale.
5"x7" Acrylic Paint on stretched canvas. For sale.
 I am going to hang onto the painting of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart for now, but will be selling the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts in my Etsy shop.

I have been having a very good week. I wrapped up a bunch of little projects and made some more good things to put in my shop. It's also been a great week for spending time with my family. We've had some good times and I love them more than I did the week before. :) This morning I put some oldies on and watched as the kids were drawn to the music and couldn't help but dance to it. I'd like to talk about it more but should really get to listing for my shop. Hope all are having a great week!