The Mary Journey – Part 1: DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU!

Mary Grotto at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Brusly, LA.  BEAUTIFUL!

Mary Grotto at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Brusly, LA. BEAUTIFUL!

In full disclosure, I am NOT a Marian scholar.  I am not fully versed in all of the Church doctrine about Mary, and how that applies to me as a lay person in the Church.  I am approaching this topic and series as a faithful daughter who wants to grow in wisdom and understanding.  My friend who is of a different faith, asked me to write about the Rosary, and the impact on my life.  Here goes…

My grandmother, a convert, taught me how to pray the Rosary.  It was this time of my life where my understanding of Mary began to take form.  I shared a room with my grandmother.  At bedtime, she would  take my hands in the dark, wrap them through hers and begin the repetitive prayer of the Rosary.  Many nights, I would fall asleep to the soothing sound of my grandmother’s beautiful voice.

Additionally, Mom would tell me, “Jesus refuses nothing to His mother,”  at critical times in my life.  One time, she was dropping me off at college.  She said, “You have to know that Our Lady is like your Mom.  And remember, Jesus never refuses His mother.  So you can always ask her to pray for you.” 

The next time I remember my mom saying this was when my husband was in a coma.  We weren’t seeing much healing.  For sure, Steve was headed to Heaven.  I was scared.  It was the same scared I felt when Steve and I would travel in remote Oklahoma for Marriage Encounter events and run into thunder storms.  The kids would be FRANTIC.  To calm everyone down, we would start reciting the Rosary.  Soon, everyone was focused on Jesus, through Mary. Though the storm was still brewing, the repetition of prayer and promise calmed everyone.

My mom asked me, “Have you been praying your Rosary?”  I realized I had not, and she said, “You know – Jesus never refuses His mother.”  What did this mean??

One day, our parish priest visited at the hospital.  I asked him, “What does it mean that Jesus refuses nothing to His mother?”  What he told me next lifted a veil from my eyes.  He told me of Jesus’ first miracle…the water to wine at Cana.  I had heard this story for years, of course.  But I was totally focused on Jesus alone during the miracle.  Fr. King was inviting me to consider Mary’s role in the miracle.

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.  Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.  When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me?  My hour has not yet come.”  His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.”  (John 2: 1-5)

STOP RIGHT THERE!  These words blew my socks off!  Before getting to the miracle, the author of John spotlights the role of the MOTHER OF OUR SAVIOR!  And, she had a large role in His miracle. 

I realized Jesus did not initiate the miracle without urging from YOU KNOW WHO!!!  MARY!  HIS MOTHER!  Our Lady participated in Jesus’ first miracle by interceding on behalf of the hosts of the wedding! 

The light bulbs were going off in my head.  I had embraced intercessory prayer years before this, and had been asking Padre Pio’s intercession for Steve.  But with all of the criticism about Catholic devotion to Mary from other religions, I kept my devotion to her pretty surface.  What was being spotlighted for me was, yes, I could pray DIRECTLY to Jesus, AND ask Mary’s intercession – Mary, who is right next to Jesus in HEAVEN! 

That night, I did two things…After my last ICU visit to Steve that night, I returned to the lobby and I surrendered Steve to

Hail Mary, Full of Grace!  The Lord is with You!  Blessed are you among women...and Blessed is the Fruit of your womb...JESUS!

Hail Mary, Full of Grace! The Lord is with You! Blessed are you among women…and Blessed is the Fruit of your womb…JESUS!

God’s care.  I asked for His will to be done.  The second thing I did was prayed the Rosary, reflecting deeply on Christ’s suffering (Sorrowful Mysteries).  I then asked Mary, as my mother and also Mother of God, to approach her Son on my behalf to ask if Steve’s life could be spared, if it were His will, and regardless of the answer to that prayer, to give my family the faith to move mountains.  Two days later, Steve started making marked improvements.  So did my faith.

Praying the Rosary during traumatic circumstances did a few things for me:

  • Reminded me of the Communion of the Saints – those in Heaven who can intercede on our behalf, just like our trusted friends on earth can pray for us in a tough situation.  This gave me an understanding of Heaven and earth coming together.  Do I go straight to Jesus?  You betcha!  AND I go to my friends, both in Heaven and on earth, and especially to Our Lady, the Mother of our beautiful Savior!
  • Gave me an understanding that at the center of the “Hail Mary” prayer is the “FRUIT” of Mary’s womb…JESUS!  Mary’s purpose is to lead us to her SON, our Savior!
  • Mary is an amazing intercessor and I can trust the wisdom of the Church in the prayers, devotions and love to Mary.
  • The Rosary is a deeply meditative reflection of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and His public ministry.  If said with intention, I learn so much about Christs’ redemptive love for me.  Not just a cognitive understanding, but a deep in my heart and soul understanding.

Here are some more theological resources and other perspectives:

Why Do Catholics Celebrate Mary As the Mother of God? by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff

Learning to Love the Blessed Mother by Randy Hain

Next in The Mary Journey Series:  The Everyday Example of Mary – Especially for Women Who Work

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us!

Peace of Christ to you and yours!

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Comments

  1. Thanks for these words. It was emotional reading of this very personal story, and I am so grateful for Steve’s life and healing! I remember those days in your life, remembering coming to see you and Steve in the hospital, when you practically lived up there. What a testimony of your faith and the Goodness of God! Blessed Mother Mary cares and loves deeply. Her example of obedience, submission, love, and grace is ours to follow.

    I also read the links you provided, and got a lot out of them as well. I recently read The Lost Gospel of Mary by Frederica Mathewes-Green. It’s a phenomenal read, I’d recommend, too!

    Though I have never prayed the Rosary as a practice, I think the most compelling thing to me is the concept of *mystery.* The more we meditate on the life of Mary, the sufferings of Christ, and the love and example of both of them, we come to know God more deeply. However, we also discover this paradox cycle: the deeper we go, the more we realize how much we don’t know – and it all becomes more of a wonderful, divine, sweet MYSTERY – one on which we are even more compelled to meditate!

    • Thank you, Kim! Your words are powerful! Our Mother is indeed one to emulate. I try everyday to remember that our journeys are not ones we walk alone. First and foremost is our Lord, walking it with us. My mom’s favorite poem was, “Footprints.” It was always so comforting to me to know I was never alone…I also think our host of angels and saints in Heaven. We are really never alone, even when we are singularly in a room!

      I am unaware of the Lost Gospel of Mary. I do know that Mary has guided me to her Son. Her virtue is impeccable, and what I strive for. There is no way for us to truly achieve it, but the striving for it matters.

      You are an incredible witness, Kim. We miss you guys!

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