Monday, September 8, 2014

Two Birthdays & Korean Thanksgiving


What a day of celebrations! Most of you are probably already aware that September 8th is the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mother; happy birthday, Mary!

Coincidentally (though let's be honest - I believe coincidences are really "God-incidences" aka Divine Providence), Michael and I had a nice conversation all about Mary yesterday. Somehow we began discussing how many Christians that are not Catholic are so confused about our love of Mary. At best, they know we place a lot of emphasis on Mary (but don't understand why) and at worst, they think we worship her like she is a goddess (totally false). So, on the off chance that I have any non-Catholic readers out there I'm going to take today (Mary's birthday) to make a quick PSA about why us Catholics hold Mary in such high regard:

We do not worship Mary; we venerate her. We honor her and respect her greatly. Why? Simply put: because without her fiat (her faith-filled, resounding "yes" to God's plan for her) we wouldn't have Jesus Christ, our Savior. Think about it - for Jesus to be born into this world, live the life he did, and make the ultimate sacrifice for us he needed Mary to say "yes." God gives us free will and Mary could have chosen to forgo this great plan of His - but she didn't. This holy woman, full of grace, humbly agreed to be the handmaid of the Lord and she became the earthly mother of Jesus Christ. We love and thank her for this and we know we can always look to her example as we embrace God's will in our own lives.

Additionally, we trust that Mary will act as a spiritual mother to all of us and we ask for her prayers from heaven, where she has a special place of honor as the Queen of All Saints (another confusing thing for non-Catholics: anyone in heaven is called a saint and because they are in heaven [very close to God, wouldn't you say?] we often ask for their intercessory prayers).

Not only is it the day we celebrate Mary's birth, but it's the birthday of one of my very best friends from college (and beyond). I don't often use my friends' names on the blog, but if any of you happen to remember how Michael's and my love story initially began then you already know who this is. ;)

So many good times together.

Happy birthday, Theresa! I am so blessed to have you in my life. I love and miss you dearly! I wish I could celebrate with you in person, but since I can't, I hope you will accept the above collage that I had way too much fun putting together as well as this happy birthday message from a certain special someone who I think will make you smile:

You're right: that sign does not say "Theresa"...but I'm pretty sure we're not the only friends in the world that use nicknames.

You'd think that's all that's happening today, but there's still more! Today also happens to be Chuseok, aka Korean Thanksgiving. Michael's family has never really celebrated this harvest festival, but (minus the Buddhist aspects) it might be something we'll consider in future years to help keep our family connected to their Korean roots. We'll see. For now, we'll just celebrate by cooking some yummy Korean dishes that we bought all the ingredients for during yesterday's trip to H-MartHappy Chuseok, everybody!

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee to we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

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