Happy New Year with a Feast of the Motherhood of Mary

The article was written for the Feast of the Motherhood of Mary

Happy New Year everyone! What a great way to start the first day of 2022 with a Feast of the Motherhood of Mary! We’re in a very special and exciting time, not only are we starting another year but because of the abundance of graces there are. 

In the Gospel for this feast day, the picture of the nativity with the Holy Family and the shepherds are painted. The birth of Our Lord, Our Saviour, that Mary herself have longed prayed for has now been answered. Mary, The Mother of God, whom Jesus’ humanity came from and through whom “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (Jn 1:14)

Just as Jesus was formed in Mary’s womb, let yourselves be formed by her too.

St. Louis de Montfort in True Devotion to Mary, says that “Mary being the most conformed of all creatures to Jesus Christ, it follows that, of all devotions, that which most consecrates and conforms the soul to Our Lord is to His Holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to Mary, the more is it consecrated to Jesus.” In the same book, St. Louis de Montfort have strong conviction that a devotion to Mary “is an easy, short, perfect, and secure way of arriving at union with Our Lord.”

Mary subtly leads and transforms us to her Son.

The preparation for consecration to Mary consists of 33 days of preparation with prayers and reflections, and on the day after the 33 days of preparation is when the consecration to Mary is made. To put simply, a consecration to Mary means the offering of ourselves to God through Our Mother Mary.  A list of some materials can be found below.

Jesus entrusted us to her Mother, when He said on the Cross “Woman, behold your son”, “Behold Your Mother” (Jn 19:26, 27) Mary is Our Mother too. St. John Bosco said “When Mary became the Mother of God, true God and true Man, she also became our Mother. In his great mercy, Jesus wished to call us His brothers and sisters, and by this name He constituted us adopted children of Mary.” Just like any mother, Mary as Our Mother means that she knows our needs before we even ask God for them and she intercedes for us.

Redemptoris Mater, an Encyclical Letter of St. Pope John Paul II on The Mother of the Redeemer, has got more to say about the Motherhood of Mary. “Without any doubt, Mary is worthy blessing by the very fact that she become the mother of Jesus according to the flesh (“Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked” (Lk 11:27)), but also and especially because already at the Annunciation she accepted the word of God, because she believed it, because she was obedient to God, and because she “kept” the word and “pondered it in her heart” (cf. Lk 1:38, 45; 2:19, 51) and by means of her whole life accomplished it.” 

Starting this New Year with the Feast of the Motherhood of Mary, may we remind ourselves of the grace and blessing of having Mary as our mother too.

May you all consider doing the preparation for consecration to Mary this year. As St. Louis de Montfort said “to do all our actions through Mary, with Mary, in Mary and for Mary, so that we may do them all the more perfectly through Jesus, with Jesus, in Jesus and for Jesus.” So that our Mother Mary may help us be transformed to Jesus. And as the beloved disciple St. John said in his Gospel during the wedding at Cana where Mary said “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5) Our Lady, being obedient that she is, knows that whatever her Son tells us to do will be what is best for us. God’s will, ultimately, is for the salvation of our souls. Through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother, may God bless you all this year!

Andrea Nunez Cabanas

Some materials on preparation for consecration to Mary:
Preparation for Total Consecration according to Saint Louis Marie de Montfort
True Devotion to Mary with Preparation for Total Consecration, Saint Louis de Montfort
33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration, Michael E. Gaitley

Why should we discuss self-transcendence? – part two

Great existential thinkers had proposed an interesting framework that could bring us the necessary release of our own limitations. Viktor Frankl (2008) writes about how a person can actualize their potential, not by getting rich or by focusing on materialistic success, but by being responsible. An individual can be responsible to humanity, to society, to himself or to God. The true meaning in life is thus to be found in the world rather than within man or his own psyche. Frankl names this as “the self-transcendence of human existence.”

Wong (2017) writes about Frankl’s self-transcendence stance and how it is composed of several factors: the defiant power of the human spirit, the capacity for freedom and responsibility, the primary motivation for self-transcendence and the power of the meaning-mindset. 

  • The defiant power of the human spirit is essentially an existential courage that enables us to take a defiant stand against a harsh fate and do what is morally right despite personal dangers. I have noticed that it is easy for me to fantasise about how courageous I would be in life-threatening situations but I have also come to realise that being courageous in those kinds of situations is more of an exception than a rule. 
  • Every person has the freedom and responsibility to choose their own pathway and life goals. Wong (2017) points out that man is not fully conditioned, man is self-determining. In spite of the predominant narrative of the western medical system which gives us the message of being a passive receiver of an illness, we can make an active stance and look through an alternative perspective: we are an active agent that has an influence on our own life.
  • The primary motivation for self-transcendence emphasises the responsible choice of doing the right thing in each situation (Wong, 2017). I know I struggle with this one, because my brain already has the neuron shortcuts that make my responses to triggering situations more automatic, it is that much harder to build new neuron pathways that can offer me an alternative response, one that is more applicable to my virtues. It is a hard change but it is far from impossible. Consistency is key.
  • The last factor that Wong (2017) emphasises is the power of the meaning-mindset which puts forward the proper use of intellect in order to do the right thing and live a virtuous life. Broadening our knowledge in the fields that study our human experience is important in the aspect of exposing our own blind spots, which can lead to some serious moral dilemmas. 

Gaining a small insight into the thoughts of great existential thinkers has given me a sense of optimism and hope, which is in contrast to the despair I felt, living through the lens of the modern, productive, success-driven world. I have been reminded again and again through life, through life’s challenges, that the most important, hearth-filling things are those that have nothing to do with gain, but have everything to do with other human beings or with our work that is contributing to the better future. As Marilyin Yalom wrote in the book that I have mentioned in the first part of this article, A matter of life and death: “I have come to the understanding that one stays alive not only for oneself, but also for others.”

Ana Zore, BA. pth.

Here you can read part one as well.

Sources:

Frankl, V.E. (2000). Man’s search for ultimate meaning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Perseus Publishing.
Frankl, V.E. (2008). Man’s search for meaning. UK: Rider.
Frankl, V.E. (2014). Volja do smisla. Celje: Celjska Mohorjeva družba. 
Frankl, V.E. (2015). Zdravnik in duša: Osnove logoterapije in bivanjske analize. Celje: Celjska Mohorjeva družba.
Stein, J. (2013). Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation. Time article, Vol. 181, Issue 19. p26. 8p. Gained through: https://www.manasquanschools.org/cms/lib6/NJ01000635/Centricity/Domain/174/millennials_themememegeneration.pdf
Wong, P. (2017). Frankl’s Self-Transcendence Model and Virtue Ethics. Gained through: http://www.drpaulwong.com/frankls-self-transcendence-model-and-virtue-ethics/
Wong, P. (2014). Meaning-seeking, Self-Transcendence, and Well-Being. Gained through: http://www.drpaulwong.com/meaning-seeking-self-transcendence-and-well-being/

About me:

I work as a trainee psychotherapist under supervision, in Ljubljana-Slovenia. 

I primarily work through the frame of psychodynamic psychotherapy that was developed in Germany. The mentioned modality is based on psychoanalysis but additionally encompasses the humanistic approaches and includes body work or body techniques. I am also interested in the topics of existentialism, which has brought me to continue my education in logotherapy.

You can find more about me and my work at:

https://en.psihoterapija-anazore.com

Ackgnowleding our limitations – part one

Written by: Ana Zore, BA. pth.

I have just recently picked up a book that I bought some time ago, titled: “A matter of death and life”, by Irvin D. Yalom, an existential psychotherapist. It is an enriching and also hearth-breaking life story, which combines two perspectives. A perspective of a wife named Marilyn who was given a lethal diagnosis of  multiple myeloma and a perspective of her husband Irvin, who has been in love with her since they were teenagers. The book is far from a “light” read and what is also far from that is this attempt to write about my thoughts that have to do with my/our existence. 

Let us start at a collective lens and get more specific through some great existential thinkers. The all-consuming modern wold of capitalism and technology “dictates” us to focus on our personal agenda. It pushes us into a direction of self-perseverance and self-interests which gives a sense of accomplishment and validation from the outside world. It also plays on our primary, biological need for survival, survival of the fittest, and also survival of the richest, sexiest and the ones who have the most influence, especially on the internet. 

Being moderately young, a millennial, I too fall into a paradigm which was pointed out by Stein (2013) that narcissism is an increasing factor in today’s youth (compared to the older generations). In general we are more self-absorbed than the baby boomers and generation X in the same age period. So dealing with our own individual problems and focusing on our own “success” in this modern age, that is focused on gaining superficial accolades, is something that is collectively ingrained in our generation. Prioritizing these ideals could lead us to egotism, too high of expectations which lead to disappointment and finally to mental distress (Wong, 2014). 

It is also important to put forward the limited resources of our planet, that cannot sustain our ever growing hunger of materialistic culture. It is important that we acknowledge our limitations and the limitations of our social context which can only give us so much and at the end leave us feeling unfulfilled.

So why even bother looking for something else, something that exceeds our own personal bubble? Why even bother pursuing getting to know ourselves, our real selves not our personas, why even bother postulating heavy and scary questions about our existence, if the all-consuming world already demands so much of us?

Sources:

Frankl, V.E. (2000). Man’s search for ultimate meaning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Perseus Publishing.
Frankl, V.E. (2008). Man’s search for meaning. UK: Rider.
Frankl, V.E. (2014). Volja do smisla. Celje: Celjska Mohorjeva družba. 
Frankl, V.E. (2015). Zdravnik in duša: Osnove logoterapije in bivanjske analize. Celje: Celjska Mohorjeva družba.
Stein, J. (2013). Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation. Time article, Vol. 181, Issue 19. p26. 8p. Gained through: https://www.manasquanschools.org/cms/lib6/NJ01000635/Centricity/Domain/174/millennials_themememegeneration.pdf
Wong, P. (2017). Frankl’s Self-Transcendence Model and Virtue Ethics. Gained through: http://www.drpaulwong.com/frankls-self-transcendence-model-and-virtue-ethics/
Wong, P. (2014). Meaning-seeking, Self-Transcendence, and Well-Being. Gained through: http://www.drpaulwong.com/meaning-seeking-self-transcendence-and-well-being/

About me:

I work as a trainee psychotherapist under supervision, in Ljubljana-Slovenia. 

I primarily work through the frame of psychodynamic psychotherapy that was developed in Germany. The mentioned modality is based on psychoanalysis but additionally encompasses the humanistic approaches and includes body work or body techniques. I am also interested in the topics of existentialism, which has brought me to continue my education in logotherapy.

You can find more about me and my work at:

https://en.psihoterapija-anazore.com