Last Updated:Saturday - 12/11/2010
June 12, 2000
Mary leads us to her son
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
In this last article on Our Lady, I wish to talk about Our Blessed Mother as I have come to know her.
A few years ago I was very ill and hospitalized. I had to quit my job and could barely care for my kids. My life was in shambles. I was scared and could not understand how this could be happening to me.
Totally broken, I took my rosary in my hands in the hospital and asked myself if Mary was really concerned about me as a mother would be about her child. I lay there for over an hour before starting to pray my rosary.
The nurse who came in to check on me noticed I had a rosary. She said, "I am Catholic too." I asked her what her name was. She answered, "Mary." I cried.
I will never forget praying that day: "Blessed Mother, I choose to believe that you can help me. I've read the Litany of Loreto a hundred times and surely you did not acquire these titles out of nowhere. I promise to pray my rosary every day and to trust that you will be my mother.
"I have my earthly mother too but right now I need my heavenly one. I will spend my life serving you if you help me put my life back together."
At that point, I headed toward the hospital chapel. I sat in front of the Blessed Sacrament for a long time. I remember thinking, "I know that I've been taught that you are present in this sacrament Lord, but are you really there? I can't see you. I need to know that you are really here with me now, in my heart even if I can't see you with my eyes."
After a long time, I got up and walked to the Blessed Sacrament and put my arms around the tabernacle. I held onto the tabernacle tightly and wept.
I said, "I choose to believe that you are really and truly present in this sacrament. I need you Lord. I need to receive you every day. I promise from now on to get to Mass as often as I can during the week. I trust you."
That was the beginning of a new way of life for me. I had often prayed my rosary and gone to Mass. Now I found myself praying the rosary daily and not only going to Mass but praying the Mass, and not only on Sundays, but during the week.
Although I was not well most days, I struggled to get to Mass in the morning.
Over several months, my life started to change. I let go of my past career and decided to stay home full-time with my family. Gradually, I started regaining strength.
With many events that seemed to me more than coincidence, I began taking pilgrims to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. With every new pilgrimage, I began learning more about the awesome events of 1531 on Tepeyac Hill.
I read extensively on Guadalupe and was deeply touched by the writings of Pope John Paul on Our Blessed Mother. Here is a man who has a personal relationship with Mary.
I was so impressed with the titles the Holy Father has given to her: "Mother of America" and "star of the new evangelization."
I looked at my own life and could see how much I had changed, how much I had healed and how much Mary and Jesus had become "real" for me. If Mary could be so personal a mother to me, could she not also be such a wondrous mother for all her children who "seek her and have confidence in her" (words spoken to Juan Diego)?
I remember promising her in the hospital that I would serve her. Now this is what I do. I stay home to care for my family and in my free time, I teach on Our Lady of Guadalupe and the role of Mary in the Church.
Together with two friends who have also been deeply touched by Guadalupe, we have founded Mi Casa Ministries, Homes for Our Lady of Guadalupe. We teach that Mary is our mother and that Guadalupe is a precious example in the Church of how Mary leads us to Christ.
The lack of veneration and honour given to Our Blessed Mother grieves me. If we really had a grasp of who Mary is, all of our parishes would teach about her and would invoke her name often, believing without a shadow of a doubt in her intercession.
How do we hope to find Jesus without the help of his mother? Some say that we need a new vision of Mary. I say, "Let's rediscover the one the Church already has. It is beautiful. It is the truth."
If we understood and lived the teaching of the Church, we would discover the real, material and precious presence of Mary among so many other treasures in the Church. In my home, Jesus is enthroned King alongside his mother, the queen. Together their hearts have changed my own. Thank you Lord. Thank you Blessed Mother.
I would like to end by sharing a reflection by a Franciscan priest in Croatia:
If you are afraid, come to her, she will give you courage.
(Last in a series)
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