In the early days, women didn’t have charts and apps to track their fertility, but would have known the timing of their cycles by the phases of the moon. In that first month after Gabriel’s visit, Mary would not have felt too different than she had before. It would be months before she would show, and even longer before she would feel Jesus’ little flutters. But looking out at the face of a new moon, she would have known in a very concrete way that what the angel said was true. How her heart must have thrilled with joy!
Motherhood is the hardest thing I have ever done. It has broken me and humbled me in more ways than I thought possible. But there are moments—so many moments—when I look at my beautiful little girl and I am filled with the most incredible joy. Here is a soul that I have the privilege of journeying with and caring for, someone who calls me mama.
How great must Mary’s joy have been, to raise the Son of God? I think it must have been very great indeed!
This is the castle where my great great grandmother on my mother’s side was raised. According to the story, she was knocked up by the gardener and disinherited. She moved to Canada where she worked as a hat maker to provide for herself and her infant son. She eventually married and raised a family. When she passed away her husband remarried, and his jealous new wife burned all of her things, including journals, clothes, and photographs—which is too bad, because those would have been super cool to look through. This castle, however, still stands as a historic landmark in Slovakia.
It is a dream of mine to visit there someday and experience in person this beautiful remnant of my family history.
When Thérese was a child, her older sister Leonie decided that she had outgrown some of her playthings. Before giving them away, she offered them to her younger sisters. Celine politely chose a single toy. When it came to Thérese’s turn, she grabbed the entire basket and proclaimed, “I choose all!”
This story illustrates well how this future saint approached the spiritual life. She understood that there are many degrees of holiness and she wanted the very highest degree. “My God,” she cried, “I choose all! … ‘I choose all’ that You will!”