To think of our Lady is always a breath of fresh air, a deep sigh of content, an infinite source of warmth and comfort in any kind of misery yet a pillar of strength against and above the most powerful forces of evil. A woman of sorrow and joy, who, among all human beings who have lived and will live on earth – pleases God the most, Mary the Mother of God.
Though I am Catholic, my growing devotion to our Mother started just a few years ago. When I was a kid, we would often pray the rosary in school, as required, so I learned the mysteries and prayers by heart except for the Litany. There were few times when we prayed the rosary as a family too, but we did not do that everyday. But my father always did and my mother, I would sometimes catch doing so on her own. During my early days, it was common in our neighborhood to have the statue of our Lady of Fatima be transferred from one household to another every week (or every 9 days?) and the family got to pray the rosary everyday. I remember being excited whenever it was our turn. However, when our turn was done, we just did not push through with the daily habit. On rare occasions when I attempted to pray the rosary at night, while lying down on the bed, I had literally fallen asleep after just a few beads. Who would not if you are in such position? And when I prayed, I often talked only to Jesus (for about 5 minutes or less) because I found it distracting to talk to Mary or the angels or saints. In all honesty, I did not feel so much affection for our Holy Mother until the recent years. I guess some good seeds which had been planted in us as children would later on grow if nurtured.
Eventually, I learned that praying to Her and seeking Her Intercession as well as of all the angels and saints do not in any way diminish or distract my relationship with God.
Meditating on the life of our Blessed Mother, for instance, allows us to reflect even more on such great love and obedience to the Lord and the same goes to studying the lives of saints and the role of angels in our salvation. Thus, praying to them leads us even closer to God because then, we see them as credible witnesses and bearers of this love – the love that burns to sacrifice one’s life for the good of another. What a wonderful gift from God to give His Mother to unworthy sinners like us!
Mary versus the woman of the world illustrates such a stark contrast. I cannot help thinking how hard it is to imitate our Lady, the perfect model of what a woman should be, indeed in God’s Image and Likeness. I have always wondered – and I’m sure many do, as well, about Her Life since childhood since these are not in the Gospels. Many saints, if not all, had loving devotion to our Lady. We have saints like Blessed Ann Catherine of Emmerich and St. Bridget of Sweden among others who have had visions that revealed the ‘hidden life’ of our Lady. Though these do not in any way replace the Gospels, and do not mean that the Gospels are not enough, they help us ponder with growing tenderness the character of this Blessed Woman whom God has chosen to be His Mother.
We recently celebrated the Solemnity of the Assumption of our Queen and Mother, who lived a simple, and ordinary life on earth, free from vanity and foolish desires of the world. These including her purity, silence, and humble obedience to the Will of God were the very weapons which shielded her from the snares of the enemy throughout her life and which formed her invaluable strength to crush the proud serpent. Who else is a perfect Mirror of Beauty and Victory other than Mary?
Let us contemplate this great mystery and consecrate our hearts to Her Immaculate Heart, She who has carried in Her Virginal Womb, our Savior, Jesus, She who truly understands the day-to-day joys and sufferings of a mother.
I believe that our greatest struggle as human beings is to be able to love God so much that we forget our own will exists and that only His remains. We constantly battle with our own will to please ourselves rather than God. Mary never had difficulties in this department. Her Will and Heart were always united with the Will of Her Son Jesus. Thus, She is favored and nothing that She asks from God, if it is in accordance to His Will, is ever denied.
Is there anyone else, then, who can teach and lead us faster to that narrow path of our Lord other than His Mother, our Mother, Mary? Is there anyone who can understand the love of a mother more than Her whose heart suffered the greatest in witnessing Her Son’s Agony? Who else can intercede for mothers better than the Mother of God?
Let us seek her counsel everyday. Let us entrust our lives, our families, our children to her. She is just a few beads away.
Teach us to be like You
in ways we think and do,
in accomplishing our daily menial tasks,
in modesty in dressing and talking,
in daily acts of charity,
in our tender care for our children and elderly,
in bravely protecting our family,
in our silence to insults,
in our courage and zeal to conquer evil,
in our quiet faith and submission to God’s Will
in our humble acceptance of suffering,
and in our hundred little ways of loving..
To God be the glory!
(edited and reposted; published in 2018)