Kitchen Catechism: Words of Wisdom

Call on Mary - She will lead you to Jesus.

'Tis the month of our Mother, The blessed and beautiful days,
When our lips and our spirits Are glowing with love and with praise. All hail to dear Mary, The guardian of our way,
To the fairest of Queens, Be the fairest of seasons, sweet May.

(from an Old French Hymnal)

As April winds down to it's final days and May is fast approaching that song fills my mind - I hum the tune and the lyrics dance through my head. I recollect the happy days in Catholic school filled with preparations to honor the Blessed Mother - practicing for the May procession - wondering which girl would be deemed worthy the honor of placing the crown on the statue of Mary - building our own little shrine at home, a little statue, votive candle and a small vase kept filled with fresh flowers. Oh how I admired and desired to emulate, Mary, this most wonderful of all women and through the years my love for her has only grown stronger. One of the blessings of my life is that I learned at a very early age to live the words of Jesus as He hung dying on the cross - "Behold your mother", and I turned to the Blessed Mother for guidance and protection. She has always come through for me. She has never disappointed me.

When I was barely four years old, right after my father died, I remember every evening kneeling at the bedside with my mother and sister saying the 'Hail Mary'. With great sincerity I would pray, "Hail Mary full of grapes." My mother soon discovered that I was saying 'grapes' and taught me to say 'grace'. It's interesting that grace - meaning, most simply defined, the gift of God's life within the soul - is one of my favorite words another is truth and, of course, everyone's favorite - love.

Through grade school I constantly repeated the ejaculation, 'Mary help of Christians help me on this day.', whenever I was bogged down in turmoil too great for any solution my immature mind could come up with. In high school every Wednesday night I attended the Novena to 'Our Mother of Perpetual Help'. Even today, when troubles beseech me I will say a Novena to Mary under one of her beautiful titles.

Our Lady of Grace, Our Lady of Guadalupe, The Immaculate Heart of Mary are just a few of the many titles under which we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. I like to visualize a beautiful jewel that has numerous prisms and on each prism is refracted a different image of Mary. I think of it as the 'Many Prisms of Mary'.

There seems to be a novena that can be prayed for most of the titles of Mary. That is so appropriate because Mary herself prayed the very first novena. The origin of novenas goes back to the nine days that the Disciples and Mary spent in prayer between the day Christ ascended into heaven and the Holy Spirit descended on all those waiting in the Upper Room. From Ascension Thursday until Pentecost Sunday is nine days and that is why most novenas are prayed for nine days or even nine hours. Another novena I am prone to say is to St. Jude, saint of the impossible. It is nice to know that as an apostle he was with Jesus' mother Mary waiting and praying that first novena.

I hope each of you will experience the abundant blessings that can be yours if you call on Mary. She is waiting for you with the love of a mother's heart to lead you to her Son.

In the great providence of God He has given us a mother, making it easy for us to relate, a mother who has no desire except to lead us to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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"Nothing should
frighten or grieve you.
Let not your heart be troubled. Am I, your Mother,
not here with you?"

"Nothing should
frighten or grieve you.
Let not your heart be troubled. Am I, your Mother,
not here with you?"

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Words of a Future Pope. Read