Identity Problems: Weekly Message for 05/08/2018

Dear Fellow Digital Pilgrim, pax Christi:

As some of you already know, spring is my least favorite season of the year.  Don’t get me wrong: I love the blossoms and the warmer weather (and, of course, Major League Baseball’s Opening Day), but I get frustrated at spring’s identity problems.  One spring day is like summer – steamy and green and ebullient. But then, the very next day can be like winter: gusty and gray and cold. Back and forth it goes as gradually we transition through spring’s violent mood swings into summer’s steady slog.

Personally, I have learned to find relief from spring’s instability by following the Church’s lead and giving special attention to the Blessed Virgin Mary throughout the month of May.  Mary is both Mother and Virgin. She embodies the freshness and inspiring beauty of spring without being whimsical and flighty. She is graceful and lovely, but also, somehow, dependable and stable.  Her spiritual presence, made tangible throughout the centuries through so many traditions in popular piety and so many superb works of art, is always life-giving, but also life-sustaining.  

So far, we have dedicated four Retreat Guides to Marian themes.  I am looking forward to reviewing them all this month, in order to allow space for Mary’s “motherhood in the order of grace” to nourish my heart and my mind.  I want to invite you also to take some time this month to tune into Mary’s wavelength in a special way. Maybe one of these Retreat Guides – available, as always, in video, audio, and print – will help: Welcoming the Word: A Retreat Guide on the Annunciation; River of Wisdom: A Retreat Guide on the Rosary; A Mother’s Tears: A Retreat Guide on Our Lady of Sorrows; God Is Faithful: A Retreat Guide on Mary’s Assumption into Heaven.

The very first Mass I celebrated as a newly ordained priest was in the Roman church of Santa Maria del Popolo (Holy Mary of the People).  Although I won’t be returning there this May, I promise to pray for you and all our digital pilgrims and missionaries throughout the month.  May God bless you and Mary’s smile lighten your burdens.

Yours sincerely in Christ,
Fr John Bartunek, LC

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