“Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.” John 19:25
The past couple of weeks I have had a song stuck in my head. The Song is called Better Man, by Little Big Town. I found this strange for a couple of reasons, one is that I don’t much listen to secular music anymore, as I find it fills you with the wrong things, and the second is because the song is seemingly about divorce and it makes me sad. But the melody is hauntingly beautiful and speaks to so much of what many women have felt. In watching the news lately, it seems there has been accusation after accusation in both Hollywood and in the Political realm of how men have belittled the dignity of women. (Don’t worry men, this post will not be a man bashing post, just a post to remind us of the dignity of us all.)
The Role of Men and Women
These series of events had me contemplating greatly the role of men and women, the state our society is in and how lust may actually be the deadliest of the seven deadly sins. I also noticed the Spirits of Fear and Hatred that seem to really be overtaking people these days. Fear is a giant beast, what do we need to counter that? Trust. Even in the midst of all of this stuff, we must trust.
As if on cue, God knows exactly my thoughts and what I need (as He does for you too). I signed up for a retreat called, “Walking with Mary,” that was led by a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia Congregation. All these swirling thoughts of women, men, lust, fear, hatred, came to a head for me at this retreat as My Gentle Loving Mother, the Immaculata, spoke to me in the silence of my heart in this beautiful place called Bethany.
On Saturday evening during the retreat, we went to adoration. I was speaking to God in my heart about areas where I need to forgive and all of the sudden a huge storm began outside. The wind was fierce, the trees were blowing, rain was pounding the windows. I took my eyes off of the Monstrance and I looked out the window at the raging storm. Christ immediately said to me, “Keep your eyes on me.” It was the same words the Priest had spoken in the homily that morning. I looked back at the Monstrance and immediately the electricity went out. It was eerie. The generator and emergency lights kicked on, but it was a palpable peace and calm inside, with Christ at the center, and a raging storm outside.
I almost started to cry. As the retreat continued and we talked about what Mary had to teach us, I saw that she, who leads us to her Son, has the answer to our woes. Even the woes we have about the state of men (and women) in our society. She is the map, the key, to grow closer to her Son.
This past year one of the things that I struggled with in the battle I fought was how come, more often than not, it is the women who are more spiritual than the men? I noticed how it can be harder to get men to stand up publicly against immorality. (Note, I say this as a general statement, knowing there are many good men out there.) I thought about how there were many women and only one man at the foot of the cross.
Walking With Mary
It was here that I felt an epiphany. I remembered how I prayed to Mary to intercede for my husband to be the Spiritual Head of Our House, and she answered me. It was my husband who stood next to me when we fought the battle we fought. Our prayers for our men have efficacy. She had made my husband a Better Man (and me a better woman).
I thought about how if I had seen my Son crucified and abandoned by his friends I would have been angry at his friends, but she was not. She was with them in the upper room when the Spirit poured out so that they could be Better Men. And Better Men they were! Fearless, even unto death. How much more was accomplished by the Prayers of Our Heavenly Mother than would have been accomplished if she had raged.
I thought about who she would have had to run into in the streets, maybe Pilate, maybe Caiaphas, who wanted Jesus to die, but Mary didn’t rage in anger. She didn’t put the men down, she prayed. She interceded. She led by example for the rest of us.
Peter who had denied Jesus. Thomas who had doubted Him. Mary was with them all. She walked with them. And they became Saints. It is here that we can learn to Consecrate ourselves to her Immaculate Heart because of her unity with the Divine Will, she can dispense the graces to those we love. We must pray for our husbands and sons, but most especially for her Priests who, in the coming years will face more persecution, and will need the strength to stand at the foot of the cross.
Male and Female
Let us embrace our roles as male and female. Let us pray and uplift one another. Let us, in the face of persecution, stand at the foot of the cross, so that we can usher in an era of peace. In these storms, whether personal or global, walk with your Mother, and keep your eyes on Christ.