The Risen Christ Appears to His Mother

In the comment section of the post for Day 25, Pia has done much research and left fascinating links regarding the way Catholics over the centuries have expressed their belief that Jesus appeared firstly to His Mother after His Resurrection.

In the space of a few short days, Pia has found this in the revelations of the mystics, the saints, in art and in contemplative reflections on the life of Christ and the Rosary.  I cannot help but think this is the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, in terms of examples.

The image above is entitled “Resurrection of Christ and Apparition to His Mother”, by Roger van der Weyden (circa 1440). I am thrilled to see this work of art, for in it we see Jesus just stepping out of the sepulchre yet simultaneously appearing to His Mother in her room, just as we read in the revelations of Venerable Mary of Agreda, which I entered in the comment section of Day 25.

On the link that Pia left for us regarding this artwork, I was not able to save the image, but I am grateful to have also found it at this Pauline site, so that I could show it to you here. But what I am even more grateful for is that at that same site, we are guided to ponder a sentence from Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, from #23:

Contemplating the Risen One, Christians rediscover the reasons for their own faith (cf. 1Cor 15:14) and relive the joy not only of those to whom Christ appeared – the Apostles, Mary Magdalene and the disciples on the road to Emmaus – but also the joy of Mary, who must have had an equally intense experience of the new life of her glorified Son.

So while I am excited and avid to learn more about the Blessed Virgin’s mystical encounter with Jesus after His Resurrection, as it has evolved through our Catholic tradition in so many diverse mediums, what is far more important is that Mary will help us to experience what she experienced. Just as Mary helps to birth Jesus in us each day, so too will she help us to experience the intense joy of knowing a new life in the risen Christ, every day. The more we open our hearts, the more Mary can help us approach the level of intensity she experienced; she will lead us to Jesus, her risen and glorified Son.

Two Years Already

Today marks the second anniversary of my having started this blog, Consecrated to Mary.  I cannot tell you the joy it has brought me.  I’ve learned so much in terms of Mariology over the last two years while reading and researching for my posts, and have discovered so many beautiful Marian songs, videos and artwork; but even better, I know I have grown closer to Mary herself.

I am privileged to know that since starting this blog, three people for certain have already been consecrated to Mary, while one is making her consecration to Mary this very day, and one is in the wings for this upcoming February.  This was the main reason, I believe, that Mother Mary inspired me to start this site, and I so appreciate the gentle way she has of entering people’s hearts, placing within them the desire for a closer relationship with her.

Apart from the consecration material on this site, I have noticed over the months (from statistics made available to me on my dashboard) that the three posts that consistently receive the most visitors are the Prayer to St. Gabriel the Archangel, the Feastday of Our Lady of Fatima and St. Catherine of Siena’s Prayer to Mary.

So, dear readers, thank you for making my last two years here such a pleasure.  Thank you, Carol, for your faithful comments and support; thank you to all the commentors during the past two years, and to those who emailed me from time-to-time to send info/suggestions or just to chat.  You have all blessed my life with encouragement and prayer, for which I am deeply grateful.  

In the Upcoming Weeks

Tomorrow begins our walk through the 33-day consecration preparation period.  Blessings to any of you who are starting, and also to those who are simply reading here or studying the consecration material and discerning a future date.

My plan is to have daily posts highlighting the appropriate material for each of the two methods we’ve been discussing (Immaculate Heart of Mary/St. Louis de Montfort).  Depending upon my own schedule, I may have to post several entries at the same time, so please do not pay any attention to the “posting dates”; they will simply be labeled, Day One, Day Two, etc.  In this way they will be generic, and relevant for readers who wish to begin at another time.

I will also be posting passages from St. Louis de Montfort from time to time, as well as from other consecration resources.

Another element over the coming weeks will be Marian video teachings.  I have found several series which I am very excited about sharing here.  While I had not originally planned any extensive use of video on my Mary blog, I have found the teachings to be so well-presented and so informative that I simply must incorporate them.  As I post or link to each video, I will make rough notes below, just as if I were jotting down notes in a journal at home.  This way, anyone may glance at the notes at a later date and have some idea of the content, in case they are searching for one particular video they would like to watch for a second or third time, for example.  These videos are a real learning experience for myself as well; that is why I would rather present them directly to you, rather than attempt to discuss the content myself at this point.

I pray you will all enjoy a quiet, reflective time over the coming weeks, time for  you and Mary.      

Requirements/Suggested Practices

I would not wish anyone to forego consecration to Mary based on a fear of not being able to live up to the requirements/suggested practices outlined in the previous post.

For instance, in True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis de Montfort says with regard to the recitation of the ‘Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin’:  “They may recite every day of their life – without, however, making a burden of it…”  Of the wearing of little chains he writes, “It is perfectly true that these external insignia are not essential, and a person who has embraced this devotion may very well go without them…”

One of the requirements for consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is keeping the first five Saturdays.  Now, what if that is a legitimate impossibility for someone who desires to be consecrated, someone who perhaps lives in a remote area (I’m thinking of northern Canada, just as an example).  In some areas, consecrated hosts are flown in, in bulk, and there is a Liturgy of the Word once a week.  But one aspect of keeping the first five Saturdays is that you go to confession within eight days before or after the first Saturday of the month, and this would be impossible in a remote area where there are no priests available.

There could be many and varied reasons why certain of the requirements/suggested practices could not be fulfilled, but personally, I would not allow any such impediment to keep me from consecrating myself to Mary.  I would pray to Mary about it, discuss it with her on your Consecration Day, and perhaps offer her something that is within your power to do. 

One Day at a Time

In a recent post I expressed the hope that no one would feel overwhelmed by the content of the daily preparation prayers and reflections.  It is very natural in our busy lives to feel that we cannot possibly squeeze one more thing in, so I thought I might just share with you a little bit of my own experience during my 33-day consecration preparation.

I wish I could say it was all bliss, but as a mom working outside the home, as well as doing some volunteer work, blogging and the usual myriad of chores to which we are all accustomed, I had to trade bliss for a, “Dear Mary, I hope you understand why I’m praying on the bus”, kind of schedule.  Granted, there were a number of days when I found myself alone at home, able to light a candle and sit quietly while reading my daily reflection once, perhaps twice, and then finishing the whole of the daily preparation/prayers in peace and solitude.  There were even some days when I was able to stop in at church on my way home, for twenty to thirty minutes of peaceful preparation time.

These days were few and far between though.  More typically (and the more I realized that it was perfectly alright, the oftener they happened) I found myself dividing the daily preparation into segments throughout the day.  This became much easier for me as the prayers and virtues were memorized and flowed more smoothly in my mind and heart.  I found myself absorbed in my preparation as I puttered around doing housework, or on the bus to work, in the line-up for coffee, waiting for the bus to go home, or while preparing dinner.

As a matter of fact, I grew very much to love all of these ways.  The times of solitude were heavenly, alone inside with a candle or out in the back yard with the birds and the wondrous flower-scents, or in the dim lighting of a late-afternoon church.  Just as much though, I began to love how, being pressed for time and always engaged in other responsibilities, my thoughts turned to Mary all throughout the day and evening, as I proceeded with the preparation prayers that had not yet been finished.  Day by day, my thoughts turned to Mary more and more frequently, more and more naturally.

So I hope that anyone who may have been unsure of his/her ability to actually do the 33-day consecration will take heart by hearing a little bit of my own “trial-and-error” method.  What is really important, moreso than getting everything perfect every day, is that this 33-day period is set aside as a time consecrated for you to grow closer to Mary, and Mary to you.  The daily preparation can be done with sincerity, reverence and love whether you are in solitude or trying to keep up with a demanding schedule.  What’s more, it becomes easier and easier everyday.  What in the beginning may have a certain tension to it in terms of , “I have to do this and get it right,” soon becomes a joy, something looked forward to each and every day.

“The Mother of God comes to us to lead us by the hand into the sanctification of our souls, to prepare our hearts to be presented to Jesus.  All that she requests of us is an open heart.”   [In the End My Immaculate Heart Will Triumph; pg. 2]