In the good old days when I could still walk easily and without assistance, like a normal healthy person, and wasn’t tethered to an oxygen machine, and both of my beloved dawgs were still with me—man, I miss those days—back in those days of youth and health I would take our small pack to the park every day, and while the dawgs sniffed every blade of grass and chased each other and all the squirrels, I would pray the Rosary. I usually took them to the back of the park where we could be alone and they could enjoy some measure of freedom.
One day as I walked along praying the Rosary, I was watching the birds or squirrels or something in the trees overhead. A man passed us going in the other direction and of course, he spied my Rosary beads. And he couldn’t resist saying something about them.
Today is Mother’s Day and it’s also May, the month of Mary, so I’m studying the Church’s teachings about Mary because I am forever being accosted by people (even some Catholics) who do not understand what the Church teaches about the Blessed Mother. They don’t even know what the Church teaches, much less what it means. But to get Mary wrong is to get Jesus wrong. A flawed Mariology leads to a flawed Christology because the teachings about Mary are intimately bound up with the teachings about her Son.
I was browsing the web, wondering what to write about tonight for the series. I was re-reading an article at Catholic Answers titled Mary, the Mother of God,** and a window popped up in the lower right-hand corner asking if I have devotion to Mary. Well, yes, I do, I replied. Then it said, Let’s celebrate, and offered me a free ebook about Mary. I ❤️ ebooks and the Blessed Virgin Mary so I said, YES. A few seconds later I was glancing through 20 Answers: Mary, by Tim Staples. Thank you, Blessed Mother and Catholic Answers!
I’ll just give you a couple of samples here. First, something most of us Catholics have heard at some point from non-Catholic family, friends, or even strangers: that the Bible expressly forbids praying to Mary and the Saints because it condemns all communication with the dead. Period.
I want a Mary garden or a Rosary garden. I’ve been wanting it for years and this is THE year. I mean it. I’m tired of waiting. That ugly patch of weeds in front of the house just screams “Make this beautiful, please!” And so does the jungle in the back yard. So I will. I started gathering ideas for one a while back, well before that awful year of 2018. I’ll see if I can find any of those ideas. If not, I’ll start over. But it’s gonna get done! I hope.
Have you ever seen a Mary garden? Do you have one? Got any photos? Or tips for a newbie like me? Bear in mind, I need something low low LOW maintenance. And someone else will have to set it up for me. (This is so not the way I imagined owning a home would be, but what can ya do?)
A few years ago I stumbled upon a painting* of Mary as the New Eve surrounded by what I take to be pomegranate trees, symbolizing the Garden of Eden. She stands, one hand on her pregnant belly, the other cradling the cheek of the earlier Eve. Eve stands before her, one hand grasping the fruit of her downfall. Mary, her face full of concern and compassion, holds her other hand.
I waited as long as I could. I had an unreasonable hope that Verbum would release an edition of Brant Pitre’s new book, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary, quick, fast, and in a hurry. But they hand-tag their books and that takes time, and I don’t even know if they have any plans to do this one, so I’ll just have to get a Verbum edition later if one becomes available. Because I gave in and bought the ebook. (Downloadable books, ah, sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found thee! Well, not at last because I found thee years ago, and now I have that Etta James song stuck in my head.) ;)
Back to the book. Looking at the table of contents, we’ve got:
Birth of the Messiah (and I don’t mean that Fr. Raymond Brown* book),
Did I ever tell you how the Blessed Virgin Mary helped me through one of the worst times in my entire life? After I had what doctors think may have been a heart attack, I was stuck in hospital with a breathing tube in my throat and a feeding tube in my nose for three weeks in an ICU. Normal people are unconscious while intubated. I don’t mean just during the process of having the tubes put in place. I mean, the whole time they have those things in there. Do you know why? Because a normal person cannot stand to have tubes in places where tubes ought not be!