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May Is the Month of Mary. We Celebrate and Honor the Mother of Our Saviour.

In May we celebrate the Month of Mary, Mother of God. “Blessed art thou amongst all women!”

The Panagia Icon of the Mother of God

“When we call Mary “our mother,” we grasp instinctively the essential meaning of the title, since it evokes memories of a human experience that is universal and runs deep. But when it comes to explaining clearly and precisely the content of the title, the matter is not so simple. Primarily, this is due to the wealth of content, including as it does practically all aspects of Mary’s activity toward us. Furthermore, Mary is our “Mother” in a way that is necessarily analogical. Theologians are well aware of what this imports, namely certain limitations that have to be remembered, and a transcendence that also must be kept in mind. The limitations come from the obvious fact that as far as we are concerned, we cannot apply to Mary all the realities of natural motherhood, since we are children of Mary not by the flesh, but “in the order of grace.”

Nevertheless, if in certain ways Mary’s motherhood toward us says less than natural motherhood, in other ways it says much more. For example, the quality of our life as children of God, a life Mary helps to obtain for us, ennobles and enriches incomparably our purely human life. And the perfection with which Mary dedicates herself to her maternal mission surpasses the best mothers on earth, plus the fact that Mary’s maternal vocation is universal and calls for her forming a personal bond with each one of us. . . . Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this salvific duty, but by her constant intercession continued to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation . . The purpose of Mary’s maternal activity is to unite us with Christ so completely that each might say: “The life I live is not my own; Christ is living in me” (St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians 2:20).”

- from the Dictionary of Mary

Christ is Risen!
Are you looking for spiritual reading ideas for the Easter Season? To browse our selection of books on the
Life of Our Lord, please click here.
Resources to help you grow in your love and understanding of Mary . . .

Scriptural Reflections on the First Disciple
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Their History, Meaning and Usage
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Prayers and Hymns
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The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary – From the Visions of Blessed A. C. Emmerich
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Reflections on Mary – a classic!
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Pope Benedict XVI’s “Apostolic Journey to the United States” begins in April! The theme of his visit is “Christ Our Hope.”

In honor of the visit, we have created a Pope Benedict XVI specialty store. To browse the items in our Pope Benedict XVI specialty store, please click here.

“Since the Virgin Mary’s role in the mystery of Christ and the Spirit has been treated, it is fitting now to consider her place in the mystery of the Church. “The Virgin Mary . . . is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the Redeemer. . . . She is ‘clearly the mother of the members of Christ’ . . . since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head.” “Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church.”Mary’s role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it. “This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ’s virginal conception up to his death”; it is made manifest above all at the hour of his Passion:

Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross. There she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, joining herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim, born of her: to be given, by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words: “Woman, behold your son.”

After her Son’s Ascension, Mary “aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers.” In her association with the apostles and several women, “we also see Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation.”

- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 963 – 965

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A Brief History Of The Holy Rosary -

Although for many years the origin of the rosary was linked to St. Dominic, who lived in the twelfth to thirteenth centuries, later research showed that strings of beads or knots for counting prayers had been used as prayer aids for centuries before and had become common with European Christians by the middle ages. Around this time, the strings of beads were known by many as Paternosters, indicating that they were used largely to count recitations of the Our Father- Pater Noster in Latin. The Hail Mary wasn’t commonly used as a devotional prayer until the mid-twelfth century. Makers of paternosters belonged to a prominent craft guild of the day. In fact, a street in London, called Paternoster Row, traces its name to the street where these guild members gathered.

By the time of the birth of St. Dominic in 1170, it had already become a widespread custom to use the strings of beads for reciting the Hail Mary, and texts written prior to the preaching of Dominic instructed one how to pray the Hail Mary in sets of ten. For the next few centuries there were many versions of the rosary – some reflecting on as few as five mysteries, and others on as many as two hundred mysteries. It wasn’t until 1569 that the rosary we know today, utilizing fifteen mysteries – joyful, sorrowful, and glorious – become the standard with the publication of an encyclical by Pope Pius V declaring that henceforth this would be the official, Church-authorized rosary. During the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, the holy father himself added a new series of mysteries – the luminous mysteries – to the holy rosary prayer.

The name “Rosary” itself comes from the Latin rosarius, meaning a bouquet or garland of roses. A widely popular medieval legend told the story of the Blessed Virgin taking rosebuds from the lips of a young monk as he recited Hail Marys, and weaving them into a garland for her head. The Hail Mary is recited more times than any other prayer in the rosary, and therefore is the prayer we most commonly associate with the rosary.

- adapted from Mitch Finley’s The Rosary Handbook

First Holy Communion season is here!

To browse our complete selection of First Holy Communion resources and gift ideas, visit the Aquinas and More First Holy Communion Specialty Store
To read our recently posted article about First Holy Communion traditions and practices, please click here

Salve Regina!

Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile show us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Amen.
We hope your Easter season, the season our Our Salvation, is an especially blessed and faith-filled one.
- the staff at Aquinas and More Catholic Goods
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