The Catholic Church celebrates Mary in a variety of ways throughout the year. She is the Saint of all saints and a great person from whom to ask for intercessions. Several weeks ago the Bishop of Lexington spoke at the Theology on Tap series about the Second Vatican Council. He mentioned at one point (maybe during the Q&A at the end) that many people thought Mary was downplayed by the Council. He explained very clearly how the Council did not change anything about the Church's teaching on Mary and that she is still very much a big part of our Catholic faith. I wish I could remember everything he said on this topic, but I can't. Suffice it to say, he was very eloquent!
I looked up the readings for mass today and thought I should share them with everyone here. They are available through the USCCB website here: http://www.usccb.org/nab/081507b.shtml
The first reading is from Revelations; a description of the woman giving birth to a child who is the Anointed One. Catholics take the woman in Revelation to be a Marian figure; she comes up several times. The Psalm speaks of a queen at the Lord's right hand. The second reading describes Christ as the ruler of the Kingdom until all enemies have been put down and he can hand it over to His God and Father. This is the reading that many people would look at and say "But what does that have to do with Mary?" That's easy to answer: she was assumed into heaven to sit at Christ's right hand (thus the Psalm passage) AND, most importantly, she leads us to Christ. Pray for Mary's intercession and she takes your prayers directly to Him.
Finally the Gospel is about Mary directly. We see Mary going to visit her cousin Elizabeth and Elizabeth says what today we say as part of the "Hail Mary." Mary's response is what we call today the Magnificat. The whole Magnificat is there in the reading. Here's the entire Hail Mary prayer:
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee;
Blessed are you amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thine womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.
It's a beautiful prayer taken first from the angel's word to Mary, then Elizabeth's, and then an additional sentence at the end.
Anyway, go to Mass today, it's a Holy Day of Obligation! Chris and I will be attending the 5:30 Mass right after work today. Maybe we'll see you there!!