Giving honor

By Mary Ann Hughes

Grace Notes

When I was a young girl, I used to get a terrible case of spring fever every year.

I remember sitting on the front steps of my home and drinking in the wonders of the season. The returning robins and their delightful chirping. The fragrance of newly budding lilac bushes. The vibrant yellows and the deep reds of the Parrot tulips that my dad grew.

These sights and smells carried me to a place I couldn’t name, until he explained that I had something called “Spring Fever.”

I guess that was my introduction to the four seasons, and spring quickly became my favorite time of year.

One of the highlights for me was the annual May Crowning at my parish.

It was always held in the first part of May, and Mother Nature knew better than to risk our pastor’s displeasure with even a single drop of rain.

The celebration began around dusk as the school children lined up by grade and then by height.

The girls wore their prettiest pastel dresses, their skirts puffed out by stiff crinolines, and their Sunday shoes newly polished. I think the boys probably wore dress pants and ties.

As we processed through the parish grounds our little voices blended together as we sang “Immaculate Mary.”

We left the dim light provided by the setting sun as we walked into the bright lights of the church’s interior. We all sang “Hail Holy Queen” as we watched an eighth-grade girl climb up a stepladder and place a crown of fresh flowers on the statue of Mary.

To me, at age six, it was as sacred a moment as I had ever seen, and I loved it.

It was in that parish that I learned about God the Father. 

In the early primary grades, we were taught that we were created by him to know him, to love him, and to serve him.

Sometimes that teaching doesn’t dovetail with our egocentric world today. I’ve been giving that a lot of thought lately, and I’ve come to believe in the importance of trying to honor Him with our daily lives.

Someone recently shared information about the Examen, developed by St. Ignatius, and it’s been a helpful guide.

There are many versions, but here’s an easy way to use it. 

At the end of the day, think back, and give thanksgiving. Remember the parts of your day that didn’t go well. Ask for forgiveness and healing.

Pray about the next day.

I believe that doing the daily Examen is one pathway to begin to honor our creator with our daily lives.

After all, don’t we want to please him, perhaps as much as chirping robins, blooming lilac bushes and young children sweetly singing hymns to the Blessed Mother?