When I was growing up I often passed by my parent’s bedroom to see my Mom on her knees praying. I also remember her sitting in the corner of the couch with her rosary. I remember my Dad with a Bible. We had a Spanish Bible along with the English version so that he could practice his language skills. These are strong images for a child to carry out into the world. Church on Sunday, prayers before bed, and Catholic grade school are some of the ways I was molded in faith.
Over the years that faith grew. I’m sad to say that my “devotion” to Mary never really developed as it could have. Not that I didn’t try – I sang the Ave Maria at weddings, funerals, and retreats that I myself designed. I sang it as the prayer it should be. I spoke with people who had a very strong attachment to Mary, but I suppose that since my devotion to Jesus was so strong I didn’t feel a need to pursue a relationship with her. And I have a mom and a pretty great mother-in-law, so why the need?
It occurred to me not too long ago that I might be missing out on something, so I decided to make an effort to allow Mary into my life. A mother’s love is a coveted emotion. When we lived in Mexico I was actually annoyed that devotion to Mary seemed to top devotion to Jesus. Then I saw a sign by the road that said, “All to Jesus through Mary. All to Mary for Jesus.” Oh……I got it then. It really is all about the love of a mother and child after all.
Sometimes I ask her to wrap a mantle of protection around my (young adult) kids. When they were little Tom and I could be the protective ones, but honestly, how can we protect them now when they live in different cities? Mary, however, can lift them to the Lord for me. I like that.
I’m praying the rosary more. When I consider the different mysteries I try to make it more personal. So in the Joyful Mystery of the Annunciation I pray for every woman to find hope in the announcement of her pregnancy. In the Visitation I pray that every woman has help from a friend to accompany her and support her. In the Birth of Christ I thank God for my own children and pray that every child will be allowed to live, and I pray for every child born with challenges, and every parent who suffers the loss of a child. You get the idea. The “Hail Mary” becomes the backdrop of the prayer.
I just decided (yesterday) that I’m going to start calling her “Mother.” I have my “mom” and now I’m going to consider what place a spiritual “mother” may have in my life. This one may take some practice, but it feels kind of promising.