Posts Tagged ‘Catechism of the Catholic Church’

Mary Queen of Heaven

In the Catholic calendar, May is a month where we pay special homage to Mary our Mother, Our Blessed Lady. Here are some ideas on how to do that throughout the month:

  1. Attend daily Mass – if you are unable to attend Mass every day, try going an extra day or two during the week.
  2. Pray the rosary every day – Our Lady of Fatima urged the seers to pray the rosary every day, during each of her six apparitions in Portugal. Are you a bit rusty when it comes to praying the rosary? Check out EWTN’s guide , install a rosary app on your smartphone, ask a friend or family member to pray it with you, or pray the rosary with Mother Angelica and her Sisters . And if you’re unable to pray the rosary, why not start with a decade a day!
  3. Put a picture of Mary in every room, and every time your eyes fall on her, offer up a little prayer.  And if you don’t have that many pictures  of Mary (I don’t!) google ‘Mother Mary’ and print off your favourites.
  4. Talking about favourite pictures of Mary, choose your top picture and use is as the wallpaper or background to your phone/ tablet/ laptop/ work computer for the month! This makes for a great starting point for evangelisation when a friend or colleague catches a glimpse of your screen!
  5. Make a pilgrimage – you don’t have to go all the way to Lourdes, Fatima or Mexico City! Plan a week-end to Knock or Walsingham, or go visit a local shrine or grotto- and invite your friends! Take a picture and share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram  AND Pinterest!
  6. Mary Prayer FocusCreate a prayer focus– a statue of Mary, some candles, rosary beads, a bible… and if you don’t have a statue of Mary, May is the time to get one! Veritas sell statues of Mary from e4.50 (and deliver free in Ireland!)
  7. Blue is the Marian colour, so, wear something blue every day– that way you’ll start your day by thinking about honouring our Heavenly Mother! And, if you don’t have many blue clothes, a good back up is blue nail varnish! Another opportunity to tell people about Mary when people comment on the  interesting colour of your nails!
  8. Read about Mary! Pope John Paul II wrote Redemptoris Mater, an encyclical on the blessed Virgin Mary in the life of the pilgrim Church. Or, just look up ‘Mary’ in the index in your Catechism or YouCat, and work your way through. Also, when he was cardinal, Pope Emeritus Benedict wrote an excellent book about  Mary entitled “Mary: The Church at the Source, with Hans Urs von Balthasar.
  9. Celebrate! Share the Marian love with colleagues and bring in some celebratory cakes into work to share! @UKCatholicGirl wrote a great blog post about what happened when she decided to buy cakes to share in the law firm’s office where she worked, to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption. You could do this on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima (13th May) or  the Visitation (31st May), or any other day… just because its the month of Mary!
  10. Watch a film about Mary– and invite some friends round and watch The 13th Day, Lourdes, or The Story of Bernadette.

Lance Armstrong

At the end of BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today programme, Jonathon Aitkin, the former conservative MP convicted of perjury in 1999 and Fr. Stephen Wang , Catholic priest and Dean of studies at Allen Hall seminary, discussed the capacity of confession in the light of Lance Armstrong’s “confession” to be broadcast soon on Oprah.

Jonathon Aitkin, an Anglican, compared confession as a transit stop on the way to repentance, observing confession is not a quick fix to putting something right. At its deepest level, confession has something to do with the heart, the spirit. It’s a spiritual journey.

Fr. Stephen Wang highlighted the elements of confession, saying it’s not just about going to confession, but you must have a genuine sorrow in your heart, it’s about promising to put things right, and, in Catholic terms, it about doing penance – bringing justice, healing and reconciliation, recognising you have done harm to others and that needs to be put right, and there will be some personal cost to that. Therefore it’s not simply suffering for one’s sake but its saying sorry and rebuilding relationships.

Aitkin reflects that it can be a painful journey that brings sense of relief, peace, and a feeling that some amends have been made.

The presenter asked Fr. Wang if atheists can confess?

Fr. Stephen Wang

Fr. Wang replied that there are different levels of confession that need to be recognised. Firstly, there is the therapeutic level, getting something off our chest. Secondly, there is the communal level- saying sorry and putting things right. Thirdly, there is the spiritual level, which brings spiritual healing. Catholics can find in this in God’s grace and Jesus Christ.

Reflecting on Armstrong’s confession, Aitkin says that if it is a genuine confession, he need not worry about the bucketfuls of cynicism that surround the interview because he will be doing it for an audience of one, not millions.

Fr. Wang hopes his “confession” will be genuine. He will be looking to see how his life had changed, and

if he makes personal apologies to the people he’s harmed.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux observed a sincere sign of repentance is avoiding the occasion of sin.

The interview is available here until 21/01/2013, and starts at 2:54:49.

Read what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation here.