I grew up with a Catholic family. My mom and all of my aunts had statues and pictures of Mary everywhere. Even though I was not raised really understanding what Catholics believed about Mary or why, I was not ever really shocked by any of it. My mom had the biggest wooden Rosary that you ever saw hanging above her bed my whole life. I didn’t really get it and I had my misconceptions about the whole deal based on my time at the Baptist Church. I remember getting into a fight with my mom right after Mass one day about Mary and telling her that I would never be Catholic because I was not going to worship her. Ever.
Going through RCIA helped a bit. But the truth is, I came into the Catholic Church with a lot of issues and my misconceptions about Mary were really not even on the list of things that I needed to work on. I did come to understand that Catholics do not worship her and that we love her because she is the Mother of Jesus and He loves her. That is about as much as I could wrap my head around. The scenes of Mary and Jesus from the movie The Passion really kind of helped me see her as Jesus did, but I was not really interested in having a relationship with her. She was Mary, Jesus was Jesus. I loved Him and so I wouldn’t not like her, but she was not my go to person. Jesus was. And there is nothing wrong with that.
Recently though I have started to look at her differently. One time when I went to confession with the priest who was my informal spiritual director, he told me to think of the baby Jesus when I got angry. To consider how humble God is that He would put himself in the care of Mary as a helpless baby and to pray to be able to follow His example. His example is that He put Himself in the care of His mother when He was God. Why wouldn’t I put myself in her care as well? Because I am prideful.
It’s funny how things work out. It so happened that when Stacey and I wanted to get married, Father is the one who picked the date. We had nothing to do with the date that was chosen. It was based on how long he was going to make us wait, the marriage prep classes and his schedule. He had a retreat the week before and the week after so October 7th was the day that he picked. The Feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary. Even then, I thought it was a nice gesture, but it wasn’t really because of any devotion that I had to Our Lady.
I tried to do the Consecration to Jesus through Mary a few times, but it never really stuck. I had come to appreciate the devotion that people had to the Blessed Mother, and I had really come to love her as the mother of God, but I still didn’t really feel like she was anything more than that to me.
About 5 months ago my husband and I began fighting a lot. There are many reasons for that, but the bottom line is that my husband lost his mother, father and grandmother all in a matter of 2 1/2 years and it left him pretty broken. I was not really much help because I had this idea that he was supposed to worship my feelings and I became so self-centered that I did not even see the pain the love of my life was in. On the Feast of the Assumption I finally asked Mary for her prayers. I asked her to pray for me to be the wife that my husband needed and the mother that my children needed. And that is when it came to me: The Consecration.
I had bought this book written by Fr. Brian McMaster who is the vocations director for my Diocese and I thought that it would be something Stacey and I could do together. We could Consecrate our Marriage to Our Lady and maybe, just maybe it would help. When I looked up the dates of this Consecration it turned out that it ends on October 7th, which will be our 3rd wedding anniversary. That was what really convinced him to do it with me.
We began the Consecration on September 4th and for a while there I thought that maybe I had done something wrong, because it was more like the gates of hell were unleashed in this house and not my husband and I doing something prayerful together. I guess that I should know by now that anytime I am detaching from the things that are not good for me but that I want, that it hurts like hell.
I realized just how I had treated my husband and how selfish I had become. How obsessed with Facebook I was and just how much I had failed to fulfill the obligations of my vocation. I had to take a real hard look at who I was and how I was acting. I did not like what I saw at all. It was like a switch got flipped, I apologized to my husband and set out to get back on track.
This morning when I woke up I realized that Mary heard my prayers and she went to Jesus with them. God is not magic. He doesn’t just answer your prayers like a genie without expecting any work on your part. I wish that was the case, but that’s not how He works. When I pray for something it always comes with work. No pain, no gain. Jesus never hid that fact from me. He said “Pick up your cross”, not “Your wish is my command”. There is always a lesson. This lesson began with a small prayer to Mary, my mother, the mother of God.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.