About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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"This was first breach in the walls of a fortress, centuries old, stoutly built, strong and robust, but no longer capable of responding to the spiritual needs of the age." [N.B. the "fortress" is a liturgy which nourished countless great saints.]
— Annibale Bugnini (19 March 1966)

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Don't Box Mary In
published 25 March 2011 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

I became a Catholic when I was 21 under the mentorship of the Von Hildebrand circle of friends. They were much more devoted to the Liturgy of the Hours than to devotional prayer. So, even though they loved Mary, I didn’t learn the rosary through them.

Here’s how it happened. A friend of mine witnessed that when she made a pledge to pray the rosary every day of her life for the soul of her husband, he suddenly announced he wanted to be a Catholic. Thinking how much I wanted my husband to become a Catholic, I made the same pledge. I regretted the decision the next moment thinking how the rosary was “boring,” but I rattled it off before going to sleep loyally just the same. Although it took him more than a decade to convert because he loved the old Latin Mass and hated Vatican II, he did become a Catholic. By then I was much fonder of the rosary, but still didn’t really know Mary as a person that well.

One day a lady from the Blue Army of Fatima asked me if I wanted the pilgrim statue for Christmas. This was before my husband’s conversion. I said, we probably couldn’t do her justice. The woman sighed and said that nobody wanted Mary for Christmas! “Oh, in that case, of course, I’ll take her.” It was a busy day the women brought what looked like a tiny coffin to my house. I wanted to get back to my work immediately, but they insisted we pray the consecration together. Just a small booklet of seemingly a half hours worth of prayers! So, you see, I was absolutely not in a mood to hallucinate the real presence of Mary.

When we got to the part about asking her to replace my heart with hers, I mumbled the prayer dutifully. Immediately, I was flooded with contemplative graces I had only read about in books. A mantle of peace draped my frenetic little soul. It lasted for 2 years, this with 3 kids and a full-time teaching job.

How could I never have thought that Mary was not just a refuge of sinners and repository of graces for petition prayers, but also the prime contemplative since the start of creation, so that inviting her heart into mine would be a revolution!

On this feast of the Annunciation, remind yourself of the graces of Mary to you and don’t box her in – ask for even more.

Dr. Ronda has many free e-books and audios on her website rondachervin.com. If you go to her website and read or listen and then want to correspond with her she will be available. Her schedule does not permit, however, responding to comments on the Blog, though she enjoys reading them. Dr. Ronda’s newest project is spiritualityrunningtogod.com.