To celebrate the launch of her new book,A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism, Sarah Reinhard invites all of us to spend her blog book tour praying the rosary together. Today, she shares this reflection on the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth:
Time and three babies have softened me and continue to work on me. So does my relationship with Mary. I’m glad for this, and it’s made me realize that yes, people can—and do—change. Thank God!
Now, mind you, I don’t hear Mary talking to me any more than I hear God in anything other than a thought that comes out of nowhere. The voices in my head are, sadly, all me. But over the years that I’ve been Catholic, I have been drawn, over and over, to Mary. I’ve read about her and have prayed quite a few Rosaries.
As I feel myself growing closer to her, I find that Mary’s coronation makes more sense. Jesus loved his mom so much that he gave her a crown. In my house of princesses and sparkly accessories, this is almost intuitive. A crown is almost a permanent bouquet to some people, though I think Mary likes her flowers fresh as much as the next mom.
My children do many things to show their love for me, and bringing me treasures is one of the most popular. These treasures might be drawings, favorite toys, or freshly picked dandelions. As I smile at them and enjoy their delight in sharing with me, I have an image of Jesus presenting his mother with a glorious crown, and I can imagine her pleasure. I think she accepts our little offerings with equal delight: we each bring her what we can with where we are in life. Her job is to help us grow closer to her son, who can equip us to give her even greater honor.
As we pray this decade of the rosary, let’s hold all those brave women who have said yes to difficult and challenging motherhood in our intentions in a special way. Don’t forget, too, that we are praying for an increase in all respect life intentions as part of our rosary together this month. (If you’re not familiar with how to pray the rosary, you can find great resources at Rosary Army.)
Our Father . . .
10 – Hail Mary . . .
Glory Be . . .
O My Jesus . . .
You can find a complete listing of the tour stops over at Ave Maria Press.
I wrote a review of Sarah’s beautiful book last week. I wanted to share a couple of excerpts that didn’t make it into my review. These are the passages that when I read them confirmed for me that this was a book I had to read cover to cover.
This is from Chapter Five: Fetal Age 7 Weeks.
Those little hands, flexed inside your uterus, are more than a mere developmental milestone for you and your baby. They are a reminder of the adventure about to begin. These very hands will beg for your embrace and resist your attempts to keep them clean. Those same little fingers will find their way into every mess imaginable one day. Her palms will bear the markings of finger paints as she creates your most treasured work of art. At some point, she will pick up a pencil and write you a letter or a poem. She may even help you clean the house or do the dishes with these hands that are fully formed inside of you.
God willing, you will some day see these fingers laced together in prayer to Jesus. And before you know it, these same hands that are currently smaller than a nickel will be turning the keys in the gnition of a car and leading you to places beyond your reach. Ultimately, the development of your baby’s hands is the perfect reminder to turn your gaze heavenward as you reflect on what’s happening inside of you because these are the same hands that will hold the strings of your heart.
This reflection on the sacrament of reconciliation is from Chapter 8: Fetal Age 10 Weeks:
Right now nothing is between you and your baby. This is the only time you will have this intimacy with your little one, and someday, she may run far away from you. Imagine reaching after her as she runs away from you, pursuing her own interests and getting herself hurt and bruised in the process. Wouldn’t you do anything to take away the pain, the sorrow, and the hurt?
God pursues you in the same way. You are his beloved child, and ou exist for him as though you are the only person in the world. In a world where we’re told that “nothing is personal,” here’s something that so personal that it’s made just for you.
God made you, and he longs to hold you close. Accept his hand this week and take advantage of the gift of the sacraments he’s left for you. Don’t waste a minute; do it now, before you can talk yourself out of it.
Finally, I wanted to add that one of the things I most longed for in my first pregnancy was some sort of advice on how to prepare spiritually to face the ordeal of labor. I wanted to know how to pray during labor. Were there any special prayers that women said? I wanted my labor to be a spiritual as well as a physical exercise. (As it turned out, my ordeal of a c-section was different though no less difficult than labor and it was an occasion of great grace.) One of the things I love most about this book is the section about preparing for labor and the suggestions of spiritual strategies for birth. The book also does have a short section, written by Dorian Speed, about the birth that doesn’t go as expected. I am so glad to have a book to recommend to mothers who are scared about the upcoming birth of their child that addresses these concerns so beautifully.
One last thing. I have an extra copy of A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy that I would love to put in the hands of one of my blog readers. If you are interested in winning a copy of the book, leave a comment below by next Thursday, Nov 1, and I will draw a name on Friday Nov 2.