As a Cradle Catholic I have been guilty of taking for granted the love Mary, the Mother of God has for God's creatures. My devotion to Our Lady has been kind of just 'there'. I mean, let's face it - she is reliable and constant like any good mother and so I just assumed she was always in my life. I also assumed that everyone loved her and that people understood the difference between loving and honoring Our Lady and worshipping God.
I have been educated in that area, let me tell you. The number of people who are absolutely adamant that loving Our Lady is somehow blasphemous is astonishing and I am so sad for them. To disrespect the Woman, the Ark of the New Covenant, the Mother of Our Lord - they are losing so much of true Christianity by doing so. They leave themselves open to spiritual attack. They take the most important woman ever born, ever created, and reduce her to a body part 'rented' by God.
How sad.During my time away from The Church I never considered giving up my Catholicism; rather, it was an inconvenience to the life I was living. I could not participate in the Life of The Church and be the person I thought I needed to be in order to survive in the world. I was wrong, of course, and when I got sober I was put back on the right road, the road to recovery from alcoholism AND the road to recovery from the damage caused in my life by giving in to the world.
So first I got on the road to recovery. At two years sober I got back on the road to salvation, through the praying of The Rosary and attendance at Sunday Mass.
I started as a personal ‘dare’ – I dared myself to go to Mass on Sunday for one month. At the time it did not even dawn on my that going to Sunday Mass for one month meant four times, for the love of Pete; rather, it was just the idea that challenging myself to do something out of my comfort zone for thirty days would kick start a new chapter in my life. I was right, and I have not missed Sunday Mass without the proper dispensation since that first challenge.
My challenge to pray the Rosary once a day, Monday through Friday, for thirty days came next. I knew it would be difficult but I also knew, by this time, that I could do just about anything for 30 days. By golly, I was right and praying The Rosary, five days a week, has been a part of my prayer discipline ever since.
During the past 20 or so years, I have learned much about Our Lady and my love and admiration for this woman has grown. As a Dominican, I have a special relationship with her because it is in our tradition that it was to St Dominic she taught to pray The Rosary. We love her as we love our own mothers and for those unlucky enough to have lousy mothers, Mary gives a special grace.
Today, my devotion to Our Lady manifests in my utter dependence upon the instructions she gives to all of us. I believe that when I am frightened or worried about the consequences of following Jesus, His mother will help me do it. His yoke may be easy but I can make it hard through my own attachment to people, places or things. Our Lady helps me overcome that attachment and walk through life with dignity and grace.
My belief is this: If you need a woman role model in your life, someone unselfish and strong and willing to do what is necessary to advance the good in you and in the world, Mary, the Mother of God is the girl for you. We can learn much from her, this humble and mighty woman. We can thank her for much as well. Most importantly, we can always count on her to give us right direction:
Do whatever He tell you to do.
Together we can pray:
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to 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. Amen.