As a little girl, the first Saturday of every month I used to go to church and offer flowers to the Virgin Mary. I’m not sure I remember this, maybe these memories I have are based on old photos that I’ve seen of my little self wearing a dress and walking towards Mary in the Church. In my childhood I used to pray the Hail Mary (among other prayers), but my family was never very devoted to Mary. My grandma had -and still has- a great devotion to St. Jude, so I do remember praying to San Juditas Tadeo quite often.
In time, I did my First Communion in the Parrish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Virgen de El Carmen), yet I was not particularly closed to Mary. Yes, I know I’m from Mexico, a place where our patroness is the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe. But again, while I’m confident that my mum and abue loved the Virgin Mary, she never really represent a big part of our faith.
As time passed, I still continued to pray to Mary, specially at nights; I’d automatically pray the Hail Mary without any further thinking or reflection.
But this year things have changed. Many things about my faith have changed and improved (significantly) and one of them is my relationship with Mary. Since May 11th, I’ve been praying the Rosary every day. On the time preceding May 11th I made an important medical decision that made me very afraid, uncertain about the future. I was quite terrified, which I knew it wasn’t right. I remember that during Confession, the Father told me: don’t be afraid, Jesus has blessed your decision. He pointed out that, this didn’t mean things were going to be easy, but that I needed to trust that Jesus had blessed the decision I’ve taken. The Father’s words made such a difference, they comforted me in a wonderful way. That’s when I decided that I was going to pray the Rosary everyday. I guess at the beginning my decision was a bit selfish; I wanted Mary to intercede for me, to help me be calm and not afraid. I thought that the Virgin Mary would understand my fears, and precisely because of that, she was the perfect intercessor.
It was intimidating and very difficult at the beginning. I wasn’t even 100% sure how to pray the Rosary; no one ever told me how. But, the Internet, what a wonderful thing! I found a website that help me very much. I visited the site just a few times and then I felt confident enough to do it by myself. But I got a new problem: I was distracted all the time! I didn’t know how to fix this (back then I didn’t think of asking the Holy Spirit for help).
I tried many things like:
- Focusing on images about the mysteries (it sort of helped)
- Actually reading the prayers although I knew them by memory (it was more helpful than the staring at the images).
All these stories I’m writing about happened over weeks, and during that time my faith and devotion were growing every single day. Daily Mass and the homilies helped me understand Mary in a personal, loving and different way.
The focus of my Rosary started to shift; I started to dedicate each mystery to someone, or a cause.I finally understood the meaning of meditating in each mystery. I wasn’t getting distracted anymore. I also started to feel closer to Mary, I started to talk to her as my mother and I realized that while I still missed my mother very much (she lives in Mexico and I’m in Canada, plus I haven’t seen her in over 5 years), I didn’t feel as lonely, as motherless I guess is the right word.
This morning, I read this wonderful blog post, and I cried. It made me feel happy, thankful and loved. I’m so grateful and joyful to have Mary in my life. To know that my relationship with her is growing, that it’s stronger everyday. I miss my mum every single day, but I’m not alone because I know the Virgin Mary is with me. Mary is my mother, and she loves me because I am her daughter. She looks after me, she listens my prayers, comforts me when I need it. This is an immense gift that I didn’t appreciate before.
I know Jesus blessed that decision I made back in May, but I never thought that one of the blessing I was about to received was going to be this personal and growing relationship I’ve been developing with Mary ever since.