Catholic Activity: Feasts of Our Lady in the Home
Interwoven with the feasts of our Lord are feasts of our Lady.
The Visitation. (May 31) This is the touching feast of love and charity between the two holy women blessed with the knowledge of the mystery of the Incarnation; the feast of the Magnificat (which should be prayed more often in the family.) Let it be a real Mothers' Day and show the children their part in it. Do we know an expectant woman, who materially or spiritually needs our visit, to help her with her work, to prepare in any way for the arrival of the coming child? Let us go there and serve her, as Mary went to serve her cousin Elizabeth.
The Great Day of the Assumption of Our Lady. (August 15) Although in this country we may have to work on this day, at home at least, the spirit of a holy day can prevail, with all that belongs to it. Let us all rejoice and be lifted up by the glorious mystery of the elevation of the soul and body of the Mother of God, to the Queenship of Heaven.
On a rural vacation in my childhood I learned how great a feast Assumption Day is — should be, and I bitterly regretted that I was a child of the city where no one seemed to know about the blessing of wild herbs and flowers in memory of the lilium convallium, the lily of the valley (as the Canticle of Canticles calls the Bride of God.) For days the children had hunted through hills and fields to find the traditional number of wild-flowers (from 20 to 40 species) which they carefully bound into a big bouquet. When before the High Mass the herbs were lifted by their proud owners — to catch at least one drop of Holy Water — it was as if hills and woods and fields had entered the church to testify about the empty grave of Mary. And before dusk the families had distributed the blessed herbs between house and stables, pantry and fields and gardens so everything was united in the blessing that flowed down from the Blessed One made Queen of Heaven.
Are we of the city too proud to admit our poverty and how much we are in need of this very beautiful sacramental? Will we be humble enough to bring the fruits of our garden, our find of wild flowers from backyards and vacant lots to the blessing at church?
The Feast of the Nativity of our Blessed Mother (September 8), of the Holy Name of Mary (September 12), of the Seven Sorrows (September 15), of Mary's Motherhood (October 11), the Presentation of the Child Mary in the temple (November 21) — all should be celebrated at home with hymns and psalms and a little while of contemplation on the story and the spirit of the day.
Activity Source: Our Children's Year of Grace by Therese Mueller, Pio Decimo Press, St. Louis, Missouri, 1955