pondering heart

A special baby shower theme.

I know I may have begun the Lenten Season with a low-grade sense of dis-courage-ment but, by God’s grace, I have entered the Easter Season with a felt joy in the experience of Jesus alive, and a new courage as he says to me, “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20).

St. Ignatius invites those who have made decisions to follow Christ to experience the grace of Christ’s resurrection. We have considered the consequences of being faithful to being his companions. We have heard him telling the early companions that the world will hate them as it hates him.

We have been invited to be in the world but not of it.

He has prayed that we not be taken from the world but be a blessing within and about the world.

And He has given us His mother as the most beautiful reminder of how to courageously achieve this.

When we experience meeting God in the risen Christ, my thoughts often turn to Mary, the mother of Jesus.  What must she have pondered in her heart during all those gospel moments throughout her Son’s earthly life? The Annunciation, the Presentation in the Temple, finding Jesus in the Temple when He’d gone missing from them, the Passion, and standing at the foot of the cross during the Crucifixion. Did her heart ache with the desire to have us meet & know & love her Son too?

The gospel writer Luke has a special attraction to Mary and her pondering heart.  Mary did not take what was happening to her at face value, but sought the deeper, hidden intentions behind her experience.  She was perplexed and pondered what sort of greeting the angel Gabriel gave her when he said “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28).  She pondered the words of the shepherds, (Luke 2:19) and kept all the mysterious events of Jesus’ childhood and “treasured all these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:51).  We can only imagine her ponderings at the foot of the cross. 

Mary is nothing like the passive recipient of God’s will that is normally assumed of her. She is perplexed.  She wonders.  She ponders her future and the meaning of God’s will.  She questions God – “How can this be?”  (Luke 1:34).  I wonder if that question occurred to her repeatedly as she endured the life, death, and resurrection of her Son.

Mary is the model of courage.

And trust.

Beauty…at its finest.

It has been beautiful for me to watch my daughter, during this Easter Season, pondering in her own heart all that God is asking her to do – as she prepares to take on the role of motherhood for the first time. And just as Mary waited and prayed while her Son was in the womb & all throughout His life leading up to the tomb – I pray our daughter draws on the courage of the Blessed Virgin Mary; to strengthen, guide, and sustain her in all the mysterious moments of raising her expectant child.

St. Ignatius piously pictured Jesus, at the Resurrection, as appearing to his mother first after being raised from the tomb. What a most beautiful embrace of mother and Son that would be.

The very same beauty I know will occur as our daughter embraces her own child with this same faithful love for the very first time.

hugs n’ blessings to all the beautiful new life being celebrated this Easter Season!

“Just always be waiting for me.” 
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Girls upstairs celebrating the momma-2-b in the Old School House and the fellas were downstairs in the Swann Tavern (Lost Boys Hideout) diaper-preparing the soon-2-b dad!

A suitcase packed with everything necessary for: “Oma & Gompee’s or Bust!”

“Can anything harm us, mother, after the night-lights are lit?”
Nothing, precious,” she said; “they are the eyes a mother leaves behind her to guard her children.” 
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

the little crown

St. John the Evangelist saw a woman crowned with twelve stars, clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet.  According to the commentators, this woman is the Blessed Virgin Mary, with her virtues and her privileges, especially that of her divine maternity.

Thus originated the Little Crown of the Twelve Stars of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which many saints made it a practice to recite frequently.

St. Louis De Montfort even gave this prayer to his religious families (The Montfort Fathers and the Daughters of Wisdom) as their morning prayer.  He also recommended it to all those  who embrace the devotion of the holy and loving Jesus through Mary. Continue reading “the little crown”

Mary’s Garden


Common Name/Religious Name:

Hollyhock/St. Joseph’s Staff, Pansy/Our Lady’s Delight, Bleeding Heart/Mary’s Heart, Columbine/Our Lady’s Shoes, Primrose/Our Lady’s Keys, Black Eyed Susan/Golden Jerusalem, Cornflowers/Mary’s Crown, Cosmos/St. Michaels’ Flower, Petunia/Our Lady’s Praises, Zinnia/The Virgin, Gladiolus/Ladder to Heaven, Geranium/Gentle Virgin, Daffodil/Mary’s Star, Lily of the Valley/Our Lady’s Tears, Peony/Pentecost Rose, Tulip/Mary’s Prayer, Rose/Emblem of Mary.

A Mary Garden is a collection of plants and flowers that have specific “Mary names” or religious names in addition to their botanical and common names.

John S. Stokes Jr. was the founder of the Mary’s Gardens movement, which started in 1951 to promote the creation of Mary Gardens and to connect gardeners of all skill levels. Proposed first for home gardens, Mary Gardens soon became fixtures at schools, parishes, burial plots, institutions, and shrines.  As outreach was an important aspect of the movement, Stokes wrote, designed, and compiled gardening guides and garden plans to encourage people to plant Mary Gardens, promoting them as prayerful, religious works of stewardship, devotion, praise, thanksgiving, meditation, and commitment for God’s artistry in creation.

Continue reading “Mary’s Garden”