I have always had a special attraction to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Ever since I was a child, there was something about seeing a statue of Mary or her image in a painting that drew me to her.
Out of the fullness of revealed truth that is contained in the Catholic Church, I have always felt that one of the most beautiful ways that God has found to let us know how much he loves us is through the Blessed Virgin Mary. So much so that sometimes I feel sorry for other Christian denominations that place no importance on Mary whatsoever.
My Mother’s Example Led Me to Mary
My mother, Rose, was 43½ years old when I was born. Carrying a child was difficult for her at that age. After I was born, she would sometimes tell me how she prayed during her pregnancy, that if it came down to her or the baby, she wanted the baby to come first. So I began life knowing that someone was willing to give of themselves completely for my sake. This is one of the first things that led me to Mary. She also gave of her very self to welcome Gods Son into her life and bring Christ into the world.
My mother was also a housewife and a homemaker. Like a lot of women at that time, she never worked outside of the home. As I grew up she was always there, no matter what, taking care of her family. My mother was steadfast and dependable just like Mary. This reminds me of Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel in declaring herself to be a handmaid of the Lord.
But more than anything else, when I remember my mother I know for certain that I was loved by her unconditionally. And it was that love that taught me how to love and what love is all about. That, more than anything else, is what inspired my attraction to the Virgin Mary; the beauty of a mothers love for her child.
Mary gives me spiritual security
Ever since I was young, I’ve always felt that Mary, just like my mother, was very approachable. I was never afraid to go to her with prayer requests. Like my earthly mother, Mary made me feel safe and protected. One of my favorite prayers, that I still recite every day, is Holy Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
When I was a young adult, with a lot pf growing up still to do, I had one foot in the Church and one foot in the world. This kept me from feeling at ease with God and left me always wondering where I stood with Him. It was during these times that Marian devotion was the only spirituality I had. Whether it was praying the rosary or saying a novena to the Immaculate Heart, or just looking at a statue, Mary was always my connection to God, especially if all else failed and there seemed no other way.
Staying close to Mary
No matter what would be going on in my life, the one thing I was sure of was that if I stayed close to Mary, I would someday make it safely home to heaven. This is why I started wearing a scapular. It was a constant reminder that I did not want to leave this world unsure of my eternal destiny.
In praying the rosary on a daily basis, I progressed from concentrating on the Hail Mary’s to focusing on the meditations themselves. For instance, in saying the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary I came to learn about the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the diary of St. Faustina. This in turn led me to become much more aware of and thankful for the pain and suffering that our Lord endured for me.
Over time, praying the rosary turned into a longer period of prayer time that I shared with Christ. This helped me to grow closer to Him and feel more comfortable with Him.
Mary fosters spiritual maturity
The more my devotion to Mary grew, the more mindful I became of her perpetual virginity. This eventually led to me taking my commitment to chastity more seriously.
By focusing on the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I also came to a point where I began to take my own spiritual journey more seriously. It was then that I started to see that Mary is not only the mother of Jesus, but also a disciple of Jesus, and in imitating her, I could become a true disciple of Jesus and more like him as well.
Feeling comfortable telling Mary anything in prayer led to feeling more comfortable telling Jesus everything as well, which in turn led to my going to confession more frequently. Frequent confession helped me to overcome being ashamed of my sinfulness and afraid of my Savior, which led to knowing that I could put my complete trust in Him.
Continuously meditating on Mary’s surrender to Gods will led to me becoming more interested in asking Jesus what his will was for me. In other words, Mary reminded me of heaven, and my devotion to her through the years helped me focus my efforts on how to get there.
To Jesus through Mary
Today, I have come to know Mary as a path that can lead to a closer union with Jesus Christ, her Son. I have learned that if someone truly wants to get closer to Jesus, devotion to Mary is one way that cannot fail. This is because following Mary leads to the cross. It is there that I find Jesus my Savior, and it is there that I find him who both forgives sins and forgives sinners.
I found myself beginning to pay more attention to gospel verses such as Luke 21:36 which says, “Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the son of man.” And so I started paying more attention to how I live my daily life and preparing for my judgement one day. This led to feeling more comfortable being alone with Jesus and at peace in his presence.
I grew into a spiritual state where I knew I was at peace with God, and I felt that I had nothing to fear from Him, for fear has to do with punishment. When I prayed I began asking to have my purgatory here on earth. I also put more emphasis on making amends and doing penance. I prayed for ways to be more of service to the Church and to others, and to lay up treasures for myself in heaven, just as Jesus instructed us to do. And I began asking God to teach me how to love Him more.
Trust in Mary Our Mother
I look back and see that just like a seed that grows and becomes much more than it was, so too my closeness to God, feeling at peace with Him, learning to have faith in Him and to trust in Him, and to have courage and wait on the Lord, all in some way can be traced back to a simple childlike trust in our heavenly mother.
Whenever I relied on Mary for direction – guidance with a certain relationship with a girlfriend, or having to decide what was right for me – she never let me down or ignored me. I may not have always gotten the answer I wanted, but I always trusted that she would hear me, intercede for me, and help me.
In the end what I believe she really obtained for me was the ability to begin to love God and His will the way that she does. I believe she has helped me to overcome my fear of her Son and learn to confide in Him and trust Him in all things. And for that I will be forever thankful. I know today that I am on the road to heaven, thanks to our Blessed Mother.