Woman, Centered in God

We prayed the family Rosary when I was a kid – not just during Lent, not just one day a week, we prayed the Rosary after dinner every day of my childhood. Okay, we may have been allowed a reprieve from time to time but this was truly the exception, not the rule!

Imagine the tens of thousands of times we recited the “Hail Mary” together as a family! I cannot begin to express the culminating grace and profound consolation standing aside our mother’s bed on January 19, 2007 as she breathed her last. One last time we prayed, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. AMEN!” 

May is a month many Christians dedicate to Mary. Certainly there would be no reprieve from our family Rosary this month! Now these deeply imprinted memories are a source of fresh gratitude and comfort.

The Litany of Loreto [link] concluded our family’s after dinner ritual. I confess that as a 7 year old I took inordinate pride in being able to lead the entire Litany from memory! Today I find the images saccharine and archaic. But they set a foundation for which I am eternally grateful.

Today, I much prefer the Litany of Mary of Nazareth. The images are much more accessible and evocative for my heart. On this day in May – the month of Mary – I enthusiastically recommend it for your prayer:

Glory to you, God our Creator … Breath into us new life, new meaning.
Glory to you, God our Savior … Lead us in the way of peace and justice.
Glory to you, God, healing Spirit … Transform us to empower others.

Mary, wellspring of peace ………. Be our guide,
Model of strength…..
Model of gentleness…
Model of trust..
Model of courage
Model of patience
Model of risk
Model of openness
Model of perseverance

Mother of the liberator ………. Pray for us.
Mother of the homeless…..
Mother of the dying…
Mother of the nonviolent
Widowed mother
Unwed mother
Mother of a political prisoner
Mother of the condemned
Mother of an executed criminal

Oppressed woman ………. Lead us to life.
Liberator of the oppressed…..
Marginalized woman…
Comforter of the afflicted
Cause of our joy
Sign of contradiction
Breaker of bondage
Political refugee
Seeker of sanctuary
First disciple
Sharer in Christ’s ministry
Participant in Christ’s passion
Seeker of God’s will
Witness to Christ’s resurrection

Woman of mercy ………. Empower us.
Woman of faith…..
Woman of contemplation…
Woman of vision
Woman of wisdom and understanding
Woman of grace and truth
Woman, pregnant with hope
Woman, centered in God

Mary, Queen of Peace, we entrust our lives to you. Shelter us from war, hatred and oppression. Teach us to live in peace, to educate ourselves for peace. Inspire us to act justly, to revere all God has made. Root peace firmly in our hearts and in our world. Amen.
Source: The Fire of Peace: A Prayer Book edited by Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB for Pax Christi USA

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