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Navigating the Interior Life Week 4 of 6

April 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Book Club, Vicki Burbach

Navigating the Interior Life Week 4 of 6

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Mother Mary

Many persons delude themselves maintaining that they reach union with God without having continuous recourse to our Lord who is the way, the truth, and the life. Another error would consist in wishing to go to our Lord without going the-good-portion-picturefirst to Mary…Protestants have fallen into this last error. Without going as far as this deviation, there are Catholics who do not see clearly enough the necessity of having recourse to Mary that they may attain to intimacy with the Savior. Blessed Grignion de Montfort speaks even of “doctors who know the Mother of God only in a speculative, dry, sterile, and indifferent manner; who fear that devotion to the Blessed Virgin is abused, and that injury is done to our Lord by honoring too greatly His Holy Mother…” They seem to believe that Mary is a hindrance to teaching divine union. According to Blessed Grignion, we lack humility if we neglect the mediators whom God has given us because of our frailty. Intimacy with our Lord in prayer will be greatly facilitated by true and profound devotion to Mary.” – Navigating the Interior Life, p. 58 (paragraph 5 of Marian Devotion and the Spiritual Life) – quoted from The Three Ages of the Interior Life, by Father Garrigou-Legrange.

Mary, My precious Mother. What a prideful fool I was for so many years, not realizing that by snubbing you, I was slighting your Son.

Like Adam in the Garden, I defend myself by pointing a finger elsewhere, declaring, “It wasn’t my fault.” Throughout my years as a protestant, I question whether I had ever even heard your name.

The first time I actually remember hearing your name with any significance was at a rosary, the night before a funeral in 1994. I was in RCIA at the time, and planned to become Catholic. But I must admit, that night shook me a little. I listened politely to all 50+ Hail Marys. I heard you called by name at least 106 times that night – rather disconcerting for someone who had never paid the least bit of attention to you. I knelt politely as the rest of the visitors prayed, rosary beads dangling from their hands. But privately, I felt this to be a rather “cultish” activity. I wanted no part of it.

In no way do I mean to offend, but you held no place in my heart at that point in my life. In Christmas scenes, you were the figure on the donkey, being pulled along, virtually baggage on the long journey toward your son’s birth. With the animals and shepherds, you (and Joseph) were merely “background” for the nativity scene. When my eyes were focused at all, they were focused on Christ.

Interestingly, they were never that focused. Until I met you.

When I think back to our first personal encounter, I am ashamed to admit that I had been Catholic for several years. Until then, I felt that to befriend you would entail “crossing a line” that I was unprepared to cross. I was Catholic. But I wasn’t THAT Catholic.

In the end, the fact that you were a fellow MOTHER carried weight. One desperate night, when my oldest son was five years old, I found myself kneeling outside his room, fumbling with a rosary book and bawling uncontrollably. What about? I don’t even remember. But I do remember that I recognized my absolute helplessness that night. To this day, I have never prayed so passionately in all my life. If you were anyone else, I’d be embarrassed by my behavior. I was like a drunk who drools all over someone they just met. I had never even looked at you twice, and then BAM! I gave you everything I had!

Still, I felt I had nowhere else to go.  Christ wasn't a mother, and somehow turning to you just seemed right.  So I did.  And I begged you to raise my children to become saints, in spite of me.  I hadn’t the first clue about motherhood and didn’t trust myself with the task of leading those three precious children to heaven. I consecrated each of them to you, and asked that you “do with them what you will.”

After that – my first “solo” rosary – I felt an indescribable peace.

You’d think I would have loved you then. But we still weren’t very close. Instead, I became that annoying neighbor who never comes to visit unless she needs a cup of sugar. I called when I wanted advice. Or just someone to talk to about my children. I knew you were there for me – you provided several signs. But I only sought you out when I needed something.

At some point, I recognized that you were special. Unfortunately, this was an intellectual and not a heartfelt acknowledgment. You found your way into my planner, positioned near my other prayer time. And I did begin to pray a rosary here and there. Sometimes every day – but those small puffs of resolve never lasted.  Regardless, I know you were there, waiting in the shadows, wanting always to lead me to your Son. You must have wept for all the struggles I endured alone, desiring only to hold my hand, and guide me gently along The Way.

You must’ve know that in my stubborn pride, I might never come around on my own, because a few months ago you bypassed my hand, and grabbed hold of my heart. There is no evidence that you will release me any time soon.

By God’s grace – perhaps by your intercession – the Hail Holy Queen began to resonate with me. I suppose you could just chalk it up to the fact that I’m getting older.  Regardless. I began to see this vale of tears for what it is. Not Utopia, as I had assumed in my 20’s, but a Land of Exile, merely preparation for my permanent home.

So, a few months ago, I began to visit with you. Daily. And the more I came to visit, the more I wanted to be with you. And the more I wanted to be with you, the more I felt you molding me into the image of your Son. Through your patience and kindness, you are teaching me to love Him and to be pleasing to Him in ways I never would have considered before.

You’ve led me to pray the rosary more often. Not simply once a day, but throughout my day. You’ve led me to read about St. Catherine Labouré, and origin of The Miraculous Medal I've worn for years.  You've led me to read about St. Louis de Montfort and his beautiful devotion to you.  About consecrating my life as a slave to Jesus, through you.

There are so many beautiful Marian devotions. I've read about many before, but now am reading with new eyes.  And a new heart.  Rather than textbooks, your stories are beginning to read like love letters, and I'm so eager to read them all.

I am now THAT Catholic. And I desire nothing more than to offer myself to your Son through you.  Mother Mary, please continue to walk with me on this journey, for surely through you, I will find my way to your Son.

[Note: I hope it’s appropriate to quote a quote of a quote from our book, but Burke’s chapter on Marian Devotion really hit home for me – particularly the above quote from Three Ages of the Interior Life]

 

For Discussion:

1. Does Marian devotion have a role in your interior life?  If so, please share.  Do you struggle with accepting Mary for any reason?  If so, what are your hurdles?

2. Open discussion: Feel free to comment on any topic from this past week's reading.

Reading Assignment:

Week 4 – 4/02  p. 85-114

(E-Readers: Navigation on the Narrow Path through the end of The Three Ways of The Spiritual Life)

Webinar Discussion 4/13 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM Central

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Read more: Previous Book Club Posts

For More Information on the Book Club: http://spiritualdirection.com/csd-book-club

 

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About Vicki Burbach

Vicki Burbach is a wife and homeschooling mother of six children ages four to sixteen years who relishes the calm inspiration of spiritual reading amidst the roller coaster of life. A passionate convert to the Faith, Vicki is an avid reader who started the SpiritualDirection.com book club so she could embark with like-minded bibliophiles on a spiritual journey through some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. She is author of the new book How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between. You can also find her at pelicansbreast.com

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  • rjk123

    What a beautiful prayer to Mary! Thank you, Vicki. I am so glad for you that you are experiencing Mary’s motherly love. Thank you also for sharing your idea to pray all 20 mysteries of the rosary every day during Lent. I did that, and it was such a beautiful blessing to me, so beautifully peaceful, like a quiet symphony playing throughout my day. Ever since I consecrated myself to Mary and renew it daily in the morning, I have experienced Mary’s gentle guidance. She leads me to Jesus, more quickly than ever before I consecrated myself to her. Also, she gives me the tender, affectionate, motherly love I did not experience but longed for as a child. In a spiritually but very real sense I have seen her smile lovingly at me, felt her tenderly touch my face, and heard her tell me she has always thought well of me. I won’t say exactly what she said to me because sharing it with anyone would diminish it. It’s our personal communication — like any personal exchange between a mother and daughter, something to remember and cherish, something that helps us know who we are. God is so good to give us His mother to be our mother! He fills every need. Rachel

  • Mama Mary gave me her birthday and name and my parents consecrated me to her when I was a baby. I always felt guilty that I wasn’t as close to her and I’ve only begun to have a real relationship with her recently. Hope to do the 33 day consecration for our birthday this year.

    As a child, I promised to her I’d pray the Rosary whenever the Family Rosary Crusade commercials appeared on tv. (Thanks to cartoons about Marian apparitions, I really thought that was Mama’s voice and signature in those commercials!)

    But apart from family prayers, I hardly prayed the Rosary. It’s only this past year or so that I’ve made an effort. And I still struggle to prayed 5 mysteries a day, my Lenten resolution.

    But there have been wonderfully blessed moments when I pray the Rosary or even just talking to her about my problems or discerning my vocation. Like you, I feel more comfortable talking to her about my vocation than to Jesus, because its “girl talk.” And she has encouraged me wonderfully. With her tender embrace, an inspiring message. When I get discouraged, she gently reminds me, “Blessed are you who believed that God’s promises to you would be fulfilled”

    Thank you Mama for loving, guiding and protecting me! I will try to pray the Rosary more often.

  • Suzi dutro

    Thanks Vicki!! I was on a very similar journey struggling to get to know this new Mother. I can only describe it with feeling like an adopted older child and trying to get to know and love my new mother. How hard that must be and how patient the mother is.
    Blessings to you.

  • AntonetteTherese

    Though I have been a Catholic all my life, I have sometimes alternated between devotion to Mary and forgetting her. During my pregnancy with twin sons – who I was told I’d be lucky if even one baby survived – I daily prayed a Rosary and both sons were born alive and healthy. At that point in my life, I had such a hard time praying to God, as He calls Himself a father and I had no relationship to speak of with my dad, but I could talk to a mother, Mary. It’s been 12 years since then and my relationships with both my dad and God have healed, but I know it’s because of Mary’s help! I now pray a daily Rosary and talk to her throughout the day. Especially as a mother myself, I’m so grateful to have Mary to turn to!

  • Donald True

    I am having a problem identifying my root sin. I get to the place (like right now) where I don’t know what to say or how to say it for fear of what others may think. I know in my head that I am speaking with men and women who want to help, yet I get an instantaneous image of “the critic on your shoulder.” I will keep praying in the sure knowledge that God will eventually give me insight into what to do to grow and mature in my spiritual life. In the meantime, I draw hope and inspiration from the comments in this section.

    • LizEst

      Donald – If you’ve read up through page 84 (this week’s assignment), you have found Dan’s charts on root sins and how to go about using those charts. If you are not that far in the book yet, you may have your question answered when you get there. He gives the reader a method for using the charts. Sitting before the Blessed Sacrament, praying, going through the charts several times. Then, discovering the sin that you have the most issues with.

      I must say, the charts are a revelation for me. What I thought was my number one root sin may not be. This is because, root sins can mask themselves in very subtle ways. So, these are good exercises to use.

      I could hazard a guess about you just based on what you’ve written here. But, that’s such a small snapshot that it would be unwise for me to do so. If you’ve already done the “chart work” to try to figure this out and are still having a problem trying to identify your root sin, make sure you take this to a spiritual director…and, if you don’t have one, try to find one. A good spiritual director would be able to help you see your “blind spots.” Once the root sin is identified, then the work begins to work on that and on the opposing virtue to that sin. God bless you, Donald…and Happy and Blessed Easter!

      • Donald True

        Dear LizEst: Thanks for the encouraging words. I have now caught up on the reading and worked through the first chart. I’m re-reading the chapter and plan to use the Friday Adoration time at church to work on this area of my spiritual growth. I have a spiritual director, a Deacon, who advised me, after our second meeting to just ‘go with the flow.’ He explained that phrase to mean continue prayers and wait for God to show me what he has in store for me. FYI:I had my first Confession was Confirmed and received into the Catholic Church on Holy Saturday, 3/30/13 and received holy Eucharist. I am so joyful and bursting with happiness, that after a 6 year journey, I am at home. Thanks be to God. Thank you for your prayers. God bless you. Donald

        • LizEst

          Congratulations, Donald. We are honored you are part of our family! I will continue to pray for you and wish you well as you continue to journey into all truth. May this road be a very fruitful one for you. God bless you, too!

        • Vicki

          Donald, Congratulations! How exciting – we are so excited for you – and thrilled to have you as part of our family (both at large and within our book club:)). God bless!

        • Becky Ward

          Congratulations Donald! I just wanted to echo what your SD told you. Too often we reach out and try to ‘grasp’ things that we are not ready for. A monk who was my SD for a short time shared an expression of one of their previous Abbots. It was – “Flow with the ‘givens'” In other words, what God has already given us.

          United in prayer – Happy Easter!

          • Donald True

            Dear Becky: Forgive my tardiness in replying to your encouraging post. I’m having problems figuring out how to reply to posts, but it’s getting easier each time. Thanks for you kind words and prayers. God bless you. Donald

        • rjk123

          Yay! Congratulations! Welcome Home! Thanks be to God! I am so overwhelmingly happy for you! May God continue to flood you with His love and mercy. May you blossom and grow in ways you never imagined. God bless you, Donald. And thank you for how you are sharing your joy and journey with us. Rachel

          • Donald True

            Dear rjk123: I hope you get this because I am very touched by your kind words and thoughtfulness. The warm reception I have received from my home parish of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Mayfield, KY. is validated by the warmth of the those on CSD book club. People I probably shall never see, but sense their love and support. God bless you. Donald

    • KD Monarch

      I appreciate you sharing such a vulnerability. Please remember that God created you uniquely you and that at your conception and creation of your soul you were given everything that you were needed to achieve God’s Divine plan for you! Allow God to inspire you, the Holy Spirit to lead you and Jesus to work through you to reach out into this world as only you can for that is your purpose, for God created and called you to be uniquely YOU!

      Sometimes trying to weed out our sin and weakness we let the evil influence of Satan’s words of unworthiness to creep in and take over. St. Francis of Assisi carried the brilliant work of Dom Lorenzo Scupoli’s “The Spiritual Combat” with him for over 18 years to remind him not to succumb to such fallacies. And St Teresa repeatedly spurned the “nay-sayers”. Trust the Faith of the Life that is within you and go forth and do God’s will for you as only you can do!

      May all blessings, works and joys be yours this day, my brethren and Christ’s Beloved:)

      • Donald True

        Dear KD: Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. They mean a lot to me. FYI: I was received into the Catholic Church this past Holy Saturday! God bless you and my you have a blessed year. Donald

  • RobinJeanne

    I have wished/prayed for years that I had this GREAT love for our Blessed mother but I don’t yet. Yes I love her like I did my grandmother, Memere. We did have a “relationship” but she was my family, my grand mother so we just autimatically loved her and don’t anyone say anything bad about her, i will defend her. It’s like that with Mother Mary, she is my mother but a far away one. I’ve prayed the rosary, I have a statue and pictures of her. When i see the moon, I’m reminded of her(she has no light of her own but reflects the light of the sun/Son) I am perplexed that the non Catholics don’t love her, some don’t even give her a second thought. I was raised Catholic and when I lived across the street from St. Mary’s Catholic Church, I would go over and sit in front of the statue of Mary. I love singing Marian songs, I makes my heart swoom, thinking of her.
    When I look back on my life I see the role she has played in it and even in recent years has given me images(by God’s grace) though I did not understand and knew no one I could speak to about them.
    I pray to the Lord to have the grace to grow closer to His Mother. To show me what it is that hinders it. I love my earthly mother very much. She is a good mother, I can’t complain…. so why? Or maybe because I was blessed with a good mother, that when the Lord calls her home, then maybe I will have a stronger relationship with His mother? I wish I knew. I feel bad, sadden that I don’t have that relationship, that kind of love for her like so many saints did/do.

    • LizEst

      RobinJeanne – We prayed the rosary when we were little as a mandatory family prayer. Then, I’ve prayed the rosary off and on during my life. When my mother died last year, it was like a light came on. I’ve been praying the rosary ever since. Don’t feel bad…it may very well happen in the same manner for you. And, at that point, the relationship you will have will be all the greater for having had to wait for it. Your desire for such a friendship is an indication that your heart is in the right place. God knows your heart and blesses your desires and intentions.

      You know what has helped me? I often start off picturing her as a young girl at the annunciation: so pure, so innocent, someone I could hold to my heart, someone I could nurture. Seeing her this way makes it easier for me to watch her grow up and becoming a mother to Jesus and become a mother to us when, from the cross, Christ gave her to all of us. All that time, she didn’t sin. She was faithful. She believed the Word that was spoken to her. Her trust in the Lord never failed. Seeing her life story, wins not only my gratitude for what she has done to enable Christ to win salvation for us, but it also wins my admiration and my desire to honor her and have recourse to her just as Jesus did.

      • RobinJeanne

        Thanks Liz, I appreciate the encouraging words and also to know I’m not alone. I know my desire is good and honorable and so it comes from God. I just pray it is not some root sin that keeps me from her and if it is, that He shows me what is in the way of this desire being fulfilled. In the mean time I will love her where I’m at and keep praying for that closer relationship.

    • rjk123

      She is very close to you. I didn’t experience her either for years, but finally I do now. Keep seeking her with hope. You do have the images God has given you and the awareness of her role in your life in the past. These can give you peace and confidence. I don’t know why I longed for years to know her and didn’t or why now I do, but I know she has always been there. God’s perfect way and His perfect timing. God bless you. Cherish your relationship with your earthly mother as well. Rachel

      • RobinJeanne

        Thanks Rachel, I will definately hang on to the hope and trust His timing

  • carl641

    I was a protestant who converted. Initially, while in RCIA, I had real problems with devotion to Mary and the communion of the Saints. I prayed about it for quite awhile and one day while in prayer the Lord simply took my apprehensions from me. I knew in my heart of hearts it was true with an inner assurance.

    My experience has been that if you pursue an inner devotion to our Blessed Mother she will guide you into the paths most helpful to you. Obviously you have to pray, meditate daily and seek. De Montfort’s book ‘True Devotion to Mary’ is the best thing I have ever read about this subject.

    Its probably because I have a practical bent of mind, but I’ve found that Mary’s guidance has always been quite practical and often manifests itself in arranging specific events or situations in answer to prayer or bringing something I need to do into my life. Usually its something concrete with me, I guess, because I’m slow on the uptake.

  • BeckitaMaria

    What a powerful sharing, Vicki!!! Thank you. Thanks, again, to all who share. I am constantly uplifted and compelled to ponder so many comments shared in this book club… even when my duties call me away and I carve out time to read them as late as a Sunday afternoon.

    Hail Mary Most Pure! As a child, gifted with a Cathoilc education which spanned kindergarten through undergraduate degree, a fervent love of our Mother was fostered. In grade school, I often went to Our Lady’s statue to honor her in prayer, to sincerely and specifically pray for purity as I had been taught and to share my sorrows while seeking her intercession and guidance. I also had a maternal grandmother who promoted the messages and devotions of Our Lady of Fatima.

    The year before I graduated from high school, Humanae Vitae was released. As I have read to understand the polarization in our Church, I realize this was the era when an “age of disobedience” was launched in the confusion surrounding the true meaning of the Vatican II documents. In my senior year at a large midwestern high school, the traditional votes were cast for selecting those involved in the May Crowning. I was called to a private meeting with a school counsellor to ask if I, indeed, was comfortable being chosen to be part of the crowning court. It seems students were mocking this devotion by casting votes for those not at all interested in a love for our Mother Mary. I was heartbroken at this disgrace to Blessed Mother.

    Then again, I’m sure I broke the Pierced Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of our Mother when I neglected our relationship for too many years. Like the Perfect Mother she is, she waited, prodded, gently reminded, and then welcomed me back with a maternal cradling like no other embrace in all the world. This Mother is everything to me. She enriched my marriage and home life; she is my sister in widowed life; she extends her mantle around my children and granchildren; she makes every sorrow bearable and every joy sweeter; she truly is the one who has taken me into chambers of her Son’s Sacred Heart in ways I could never enter without her.

    By God’s design, I believe her Immaculate Heart will be our resuce from the present deepening darkness in our world. Hail Mary Most Pure, conceived without Sin! Pray for us.

    • rjk123

      I love what you shared. You blessed my heart by sharing your lifelong journey with our Mother. Although I sought her from childhood, and I can see now she has always been with me, I didn’t find my intimate relationship with her until, in tears a few years ago at age 62, I begged her to be my mother, that I needed desperately a mother, that I needed HER to be my mother, and from that moment on, that is what she has been — the best Mother imaginable! Thank you for the way you beautifully expressed what she has meant and does mean to you. God bless you, sister in Christ. Rachel

      • BeckitaMaria

        Thank you, Rachel, for your note and for your own sharing. What a Mother we have! In your beautiful comments I see She heard your heart’s cry and pressed you to Her Immacualte Heart in ways you could discern. Ave Maria! God bless you as well.

        • rjk123

          I just read your response and reread your original sharing. Again, I am so deeply moved by what you wrote. Thank you. I am going to see if I can print it and what I wrote for future reminder and inspiration. How blessed we are to have Our Mother. Rachel

          • BeckitaMaria

            Amen, Rachel. How blessed we are to have Our Mother.

  • DavidElijah

    I’m convinced that The New Evangelization has to include a Catechisus surrounding the great Treasure we were given in Our Mother. I believe that there is a definite linkage between Pope Leo XIII’s vision and the St. Michael prayer and the diminishment of teaching about The Woman Clothed with the Sun who is our Mother and the power of entrustment to Her that has been lost in the process. This is a direct attack against the people of God by blinding them to Our Mother, Our Help to live in Jesus. Let us pray and evangelize others about this lost Treasure and bring Her back to the Children of God! Read “Redemptoris Mater”, written 1987 Blessed John Paul II

  • KD Monarch

    Vicki, thanks for sharing such an evolution:) As being a cradle catholic, I always felt sadness for our separated brethren who were unable to see or comprehend the true depths of Christianity through Mary, which had become their stumbling block. It always troubled me because even Martin Luther had such a love and devotion of Our Lady, so how in 600 short years was that lost?

    A simple reminder for me is that once Mary enacted and related with the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) a prism was created which permits us to better see all the facets of Light and Life more clearly and splendidly! Her simple Yes permitted God to become matter in the material world and Fully Human….may our simple Yes permit Him to use our matter to work in the world as well.

    • Vicki

      I love that image of a prism – I’d not heard that before. Thanks for sharing!

      • Becky Ward

        Ditto here – a lot of food for thought there!!

        • rjk123

          Me, too! Beautiful image. I do hope “our simple Yes permit(s) Him to use our matter to work in the world as well.” Well put. We hope because, at least in my case, we may not see how he uses us. Rachel

  • Robert Kraus

    i fell in love with Mary when I first investigated Catholicism. It’s been one of the biggest aspects that draws me to the Church and keeps me firmly there. I’m probably a Marianophile that can make others uncomfortable in that there’s not a title or doctrine or devotion that Catholics have used in regard to Mary that discomforts me. In my heart, there’s not enough I can do for her.

    I’ve tried various Marian devotions with fits and starts despite my love for her, which is sad, as I’ve often pictured myself consecrating myself to her Son through her, or praying my Rosary with great fervor. I need my will to act on the desires of my heart.

    • LizEst

      “The holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you’ll be amazed at the results” (#558 of “The Way” by Saint José María Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei).

  • What can this old gal do???? Hang her head down in utter shame, yes, shame. For nine pregnancies my devout Catholic parents had only boys. Then this wretched misery came on; a difficult birth which ended in a ceasarean operation….ouch, those eons ago. My poor mother suffered; the Doctor told my father since my mother had been in labour for a whole week, he would operate to save the mother but not the baby; or he could manage to save the baby but lose the mother; but to save both??? that was out of the question. My father signed on the dotted line and then went to the nearest Church to pray. Well, the mother and baby survived the operation!!!!!! On becoming first Missionary Catholics my parents had taken the names of Joachim and Anna. So when this troublesome – but so longed for girl showed up at last – and the last-born to boot, on the 20th day after she was born – they had her baptized Mary, of course. (They had wanted to do that on the 7th day, but my mother had to stay in Hospital for over 2 weeks).

    Did I do any honour to this Most Holy Name of the Mother of my Saviour????? Oh, no, no. But God is truly Merciful. Day by day do I try to repay all the years I dragged this Holy Name through the mud. I deserve to be punished in Purgatory until the Day of Judgement. But I pray my Mother will intercede for me, no matter how much I have offended her Divine Son, The Majesty of the Father and the Holy Spirit. Not to mention the sea of tears she has cried for me all those many, many years. Yes, I know I am where I am because of her intercession.

    • Vicki

      Mary – I love to read your comments – they give me so much hope (and they always make me smile:))! We are so thankful that you are where you are, or you may never had joined us:)! I have to add – The story of your birth is inspirational – your parents must be very special people!

      • Becky Ward

        AMEN!!

        • Hey, Becky, I see my countenance has decided to oblige LizEst again and she is back!!!!!!!!!!

          • LizEst

            Love it!…and love you Mary! ; ))

          • Thank you, Becky and Liz….I love you, too

          • Becky Ward

            Ah, the miracles of technology……aided of course by the Holy Spirit. It IS good to SEE you Mary. 🙂

      • A belated thank you, Vicki.. I was AWOL once again!!!!!. I am blessed to be a Member of this blesssed “Family”. Yes, Vicki, my Parents were very devout Catholics and served God all their lives Who blessed them with long lives – 100 years and 99 years for my father and mother respectfully. And He called them Home peacefully sparing them both any illness.

  • Mary was not a part of my life, though I bear her name. The Rosary was taught to us in Catholic grade school. We prayed it at wakes and funerals. I never prayed the Rosary on my own. Sad to say, I had no role model though my Mother was Catholic and faithful to Mass and the sacraments. Mary was simply a figure in the Bible stories, and we crowned her statue in May.

    In recent years, I’ve read other bloggers who have great devotion to her – and so I began to search out more information, finding rich resources on Catholic Culture in the Wm Most collection. From there, I began to make an effort to understand Mary and her role in my life. I still need to develop a closer relationship with her, but at least now I realize how important that is for me, and how pleasing it would be to her Son, Jesus. Pray for me that I will ‘see the light’ and develop a deep devotion to her. I’m now committed to praying the Rosary daily. I appreciate all the postings here about your relationship to Mary because I can draw from your stories, and grow from them. I am praying to her asking her to help me know her more intimately so I can learn to truly love her.

    • RobinJeanne

      I’m right there with you Mary. May we both enter that intamacy with her soon.

  • Victoria Campbell

    What I find remarkable is the way that Mary actually seeks us out. Although I consider myself a cradle Catholic I received a very watered down devotion toward Mary. My first name is actually Mary…Mary Victoria. My mother was Methodist and was very put off by this devotion to Mary so I never understood it at all that is until I became a mother. My own appreciation actually flourished when I sent my children to Catholic school. My son came home with a Miraculous Medal and the story of its origin so I was drawn to and I began wearing this around my neck about 15 years ago. I actually first learned to say the rosary with my children while they were in Catholic school don’t remember ever learning it personally in CCD!

    From there my son had the most wonderful 5th grade teacher whose love for Mary was so strong. She had actually traveled to Medjugore and she shared these experiences with her students and her families. She taught us to make rosaries and her love and devotion fostered more inquiry on my part. I came to see the Blessed Mother as a model for my own motherhood and certainly the principle guide for how to be a faithful disciple of her son Jesus. I began more study about the role of Mary in the history of the faith.

    I was also very touched by my father’s devotion to the rosary as he declined in health and mind. At. one point when my father was in a nursing home he asked a priest whom I had visit him for a rosary. The priest did not have one but I had recently bought one as was working on learning how to say the rosary. I gave it to my father who began to say it over and over. At one point I realized that my dad’s birthday, May 13th was actually the feast of our Lady of Fatima. When my father died on February 11th, it was the same teacher who told me that the date of his death was the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes….coincidence? Seeing this devotion and still having this rosary he used and I had bought was very powerful for me.

    I have continued to learn and be amazed by our Lady and all that she offers our church and our world. I wish I could say that my own devotion was more regular and my rosaries said more often but I know that she is there always pointing to her son and ready to hold our hands and comfort us when we need it most. The rosary has been a powerful companion at times during my Cancer journey from diagnosis and into treatment. I know Mother Mary is there and pointing the way during this journey of faith which is leading me to a stronger faith in our Lord. Although I wish I could say I was as faithful as a like to this devotion, I will take this entry reflection as another gentle reminder to continue to seek our our Lady as I work to further my own faith journey.

    • BeckitaMaria

      Beautiful sharing! I love that your dad was born and died on Marian feast days. One can only imagine what a powerful intercessory team your dad and our Heavenly Mother must be as the Lord accompanies you through the cancer journey.
      I’ve continued to pray for you, Victoria. Sometimes I make my way to a night’s rest and you and your needs simply come to my heart. God’s Peace and Heling be yours.

      • rjk123

        BeckitaMaria, our souls may be touching in prayer at this moment–it looks like you just wrote to Victoria–many days after the posting on this reflection began, just as I. May God bless us our spiritual connection. Rachel

    • rjk123

      Thank you, Victoria, for sharing this. I, like BeckitaMaria and others, are keeping you in our daily prayers. May God continue to bless you. Rachel

  • AHD

    In the protestant churches, Maria was “only” talked about 2 sundays/year. Now I feel that the Catholic Church is in the other “ditch” with Maria’s name mentioned more times than Jesus. I am not Catholic yet but find my eyes drawing to the statue of Maria holding baby Jesus in her arms when going to Mass.

    During last Christmas break I thought I would finish the nativity scene embroidery I started years ago. I received the pattern from a Mexican scouting lady I stayed with in 2000. After three stitches I started crying and I was feeling such a relief. The past years had been very,very hard at work and I had basically switched off my emotions in order to survive. I am not a mother myself but the children that I teach, I consider them mine. There was something in the nativity scene that really touched my heart that day.

    A couple of weeks ago I wrote down to talk about Maria and her importance at my next meeting with my spiritual guide. In the meantime, I am going to start reading one of the gospels focusing on Maria’s relation to Jesus and Jesus’ relation to his mother.

  • Anthony_Lilles

    I love this post. The Mother of Jesus and our Mother shares so many secrets of the heart with us in the Rosary – I think that is why it is such a school for contemplation. Yet what you have captured here is another mystery – one that puzzled Blessed John Paul II. For him, it was always obvious that Mary would lead us to Jesus. After all, the Gospel of John has her saying “Go, do whatever He tells you.” Instead, what filled the Pope with wonder even as a young man was the fact that Jesus gives us everything — even His own Mother. Before such an unfathomable gift, what else can we do than welcome her into our homes? Thank you allowing us to see the wonderful, and unique way, the Redeemer entrusted His Mother to you.

  • Well, I would have to say that yes, Mary has a rather large role in my interior life. Actually, Mom told me our family had made the consecration, but I totally forgot about it (or never understood it). I was looking for a book to read one day and came across St. Louis De Montfort by Mary Fabian Windeatt. I was quite drawn in by this good saint and wondered whether one could still become a slave of Jesus through Mary, so I looked into it. I found and read his book, “True Devotion to Mary,” and after much prayer, I decided to make to consecration (not knowing that I had already). The very next summer, I went to Catholic Family Land with my family and afterwards, we made the consecration as a family. What a surprise when I learned that this, the one made when I was young, and the one I had just made were the same consecration! 🙂 I am still quite blown away by Mary and Divine Providence.

  • CatholicKath

    I think the hardest thing for me to get around was understanding that just because I talked to Mary did not mean that I betrayed or offended Jesus. Then it was to realize that sometimes I connect to her as mother and sometimes as friend. I spent a lot of years ignoring her, which I am sorry I did, but I am so very thankful to know her now. I’m glad that Jesus shares his mother with me.

  • GMarquez

    I am so behind on the reading on the posts! But am continually amazed how I read the ones I need to when I need to. God is so good.
    As a revert to Catholicism… after a long exile into the Protestant/Evangelical realm, Mary and devotion to Mary has been one of the hardest things to overcome, for myself and for my family. I finally came to peace with her… but there are some in my family who still struggle.
    Thank you, Vicki. I so identify with your story. And like you, it is as a mother that I finally started to understand and reach out to her. It is a journey, isn’t it?
    Blessings to you.

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