Friday, January 07, 2005

Particular devotion to Mary

Canon law stipulates that seminaries should promote "particular" devotion to Mary among seminarians. I don't know what the legal definition of "particular" is, but to me it means something like a personal devotion to the Blessed Mother that goes beyond the liturgical honors she receives from the Church. One should have a real, personal and warm affection for our Mother, just as one has for one's natural mother (assuming she's not a ogre).

I heard a homily recently (on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, I believe) in which the priest spoke of the importance of Mary for him as symbol of this and symbol of that. Mary is no more a "symbol" than our own mother is a symbol. She is a universal concrete, as de Lubac says; that is, whe is really the real, personal mother of all people, especially of all members of the Church. So, we should spend personal time communicating with her and, as the great spiritualities encourage, consecrating ourselves to her.

Our family is heavily influenced by Schoenstatt spirituality, which has a particular pattern and form of consecration, but any Catholic ought to have some particular devotion of Mary.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Was Tolkien a saint?



I've prayed morning prayer for Epiphany for years in English. It finally took for me to read it in Latin to appreciate the significance of it:

Hodie caelesti sponso iuncta est Ecclesia, quoniam in Iordane lavit Christus eius crimina; currunt cum muneribus magi ad regales nuptias; et ex aqua facta vino laetantur convivae, alleluia.

I've always known that all three events were celebrated as "epiphanies" on this day, but it is the connection with the heavenly nuptials that is striking in this antiphon.