Thanks for all the wonderful things you blog!
A quick question... Could you tell us how you first discovered devotion to the Blessed Mother, and how she has changed your life?
Thank you Father Shane! It is such a pleasure.
As far as I can remember I first became aware of Mary when I was about 6 years old. It was my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary and a special Mass was celebrated for the occasion. In the back of the church stood a large white Madonna. I can clearly remember how drawn I was to this kind looking lady, the way she held her child and all the candles in front of her lighting up the dark church. That is when my fascination for Mary began.
Though my father was a Catholic, I grew up in my mother’s Protestant home town and attended a Protestant school. We read from the Bible every morning but there was never any mention of Mary, except during Advent. I made up for this in my spare time and started collecting images and statues of Mary, often bought at the flee markets my parents used to drag us kids along to. A somewhat unusual hobby for an 8 year old! These statues eventually landed up in my parent’s attic, where I set up a chapel with a school friend.
During my teenage years Mary very much disappeared to the background. A small iconoclasm took place in my bedroom. But when I was about 20 I started reading the books of the Dutch writer Gerard Reve, a convert to Catholicism with a great devotion for Mary. Thanks to his words my passion for Mary came back with a vengeance.
In 2002 I visited the basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. There I witnessed how real Mary’s presence is in people’s lives. It was the beginning of my personal journey towards becoming a Catholic, which finally happened at Easter last year. For me this defines Mary’s role: she is a loving and protecting Mother who leads us to Jesus, her Son.
O God, who willed that your Word, begotten from eternity, should come forth from the Virgin’s womb, grant, we pray, that with Blessed Mary interceding he may illumine our darkness with the splendor of his presence, and from his fullness give us joy and peace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
One of the opening prayers for the Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the new English translation of the Mass.
This motet was composed by Guillaume Dufay for the consecration of the cathedral of Florence on 25 March 1436, feast of the Annunciation and first day of the new year according to the Florentine calendar.
The words of the motet don’t just celebrate the consecration of the church itself by Pope Eugene IV but also serve as a consecration of the people of Florence to Mary:
(…) Sweet parent of your son, and daughter, virgin of virgins, to you the Florentines devoted as a people, together in mind and body on earth, pray to you.
ou don’t have to be Catholic to love the Blessed Virgin Mary (or BVM, as I call her). After all, she has been one of the world’s most effective muses for art makers of all stripes. All About Mary has quickly become one of my favorite Tumblrs, contributing a steady stream of images, texts, and music (but not the obvious stuff) dedicated to and about Our Lady of Awesomeness.
What a flattering post! It is other people’s feedback and appreciation that makes blogging such a joy, especially on Tumblr.