New birth

To Jesus through Mary! Good afternoon and thanks for joining us again! In the third chapter of John, we read about Nicodemus questioning how a man can be born when he is old. And Jesus answers him in verse 5 saying, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” 

Today we explore the theme of birth. As you know, we celebrate Pentecost and the official end of the Easter season tomorrow. Finally, in our area, we will be able to attend the Mass for the first time since mid-March. It has truly felt like an upper room experience- we are longing to be together with Jesus again! Thankfully, like the apostles, we’ve had Our Lady with us as we’ve waited. 

With the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Church is born. Also, on Monday, we will celebrate one of the Church’s newer feasts: Mary, Mother of the Church. Birth seems like an appropriate focus as we prepare for this coming week, as we prepare for more of the Spirit in our lives. How beautiful that we can look through the lens of Our Lady’s motherhood as she guided and nurtured the newly “born” Church! 

So, grab something to drink, get comfy, and let’s get into this! 

Born of Spirit
As some of our readers know, the Moe family welcomed a baby boy shortly before all the coronavirus craziness set in and, because of this, was not able to baptize him when they had planned. So, as providence would have it, he will be baptized tomorrow, on the feast of Pentecost. We bring this up because the relationship between Pentecost and baptism is stunning. When we read What the Tongues of Fire Teach Us About the Church, we learned a lot about Pentecost, but also how incredibly linked it is to baptism! Check it out- it’s a great preparation for tomorrow! 

Mary, Mother of Church
Most women who have had the privilege (and hardship) of giving birth will tell you that there comes a time during labor when it feels like they can’t go on. The pain is too great and it seems as if it will never end. Mary, standing under her Son, watching His shallow ragged breathing and seeing His precious blood dripping down the cross, must have felt similarly. “Is there any sorrow like my sorrow?” She absolutely experienced what could be considered the deepest of labor pains. While it was Jesus who accomplished the great work of salvation, we cannot doubt her agony as He offered Himself for this purpose. She was given to us as a mother while she stood under that cross, and it was her maternal care while waiting for the Holy Spirit, that comforted and encouraged the apostles. How heartbreakingly beautiful is her suffering, tenderness, and intercession for us, her children?! Please join us in honoring her as Mother of the Church this coming Monday- it certainly is a day to celebrate! If you would like to learn more about the feast day, check out this piece by Ascension Press

Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit
Mary knew the Holy Spirit. This seems like a common and well-trodden statement, but the enormity of the truth in it is sometimes overlooked. Mary KNEW the Holy Spirit! As both virgin and mother (two things that, outside of the miraculous, are incongruent) she had an intimate relationship with God the Holy Spirit. The mystery of their connection is breathtaking. We found a YouTube video by Dr. Taylor Marshall, that illustrates how her 7 sorrows are mirrored in the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit. It’s about 8 minutes long and well worth your time. 

Nifty News
This week, it was announced that a miracle has been accepted and that the founder of the Knights of Columbus, Fr. Michael McGivney, would be beatified. To read more about this miracle, head over to the National Catholic Register

Answering peoples’ pleas to have a May crowning during these times of quarantine, the Fransciscan Sisters of the Renewal came up with a creative way to bring Mary to the streets of Atlantic City, May Crowning in the back of a pickup truck. They drove through the streets singing Ave Maria and praying to Rosary. “Our Lady is with us in our difficulties and in our time of need. We need Our Lady right now, and specifically, I like the title of Our Lady of Joyful Hope. And why go to Jesus through Mary? Because He came to us through her,” said Sr. Agnes.

Liturgical Living 
We have some great feasts to celebrate this week. I know we are planning to do our usual bonfire to celebrate Pentecost among other things. Here are some ideas for you and your family.
Mary, Mother of the Church

Sunday Readings
The readings for Pentecost Sunday are, obviously, focused on the coming of the Holy Spirit. We found a great piece by a Dominican priest that is a nice reflection on the readings and also speaks of the power of the Holy Spirit. We liked it because it was short and sweet and also a great preparation for tomorrow’s liturgy! 

Marian Center Update
Our exhibit on the Marian Apparitions of the World is HERE! And it looks absolutely beautiful. Not only does each panel contain compelling historical information about each apparition with photo, but every panel contains a large beautiful color painting of Marian artwork. It’s really TWO exhibits in one. 

The exhibit is open to the public starting Tuesday, June 2 at 10 am. We are open for our full schedule from Tues to Fri 10 to 5, and Saturdays 10 to 4.

You still have an opportunity to sponsor one of the panels here:
To Christ Through Mary, 

Katie Moe and Lori Mercer

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