I have always felt this strong connection to our Lord, but have lacked that sense with our Blessed Virgin Mary until this past summer. It’s not that I was never taught that much about her as I was Jesus, well actually, maybe it was. But what I did know was that what I learned changed the way I thought. Changed the way I lived. Changed my life.
As a little kid, I always saw Mary as the Mother of Jesus. Yes, she for sure is, but now that I’m older I have seen that she is so much more than that. Not only is she His mom, Mary is our mom too. Honestly, that was really hard for me to grasp, and I am still learning more about it all but I was so fascinated by that. I mean we are talking about Mary here. Do you know who this woman is? She is the one who said yes to the angel, though she may have been frightened. She is the one who was so trusting of what the Lord had asked of her, and stopped at nothing to fulfill His wishes. She is the one who walked with her son all the way to His death.
Why did she do all of this you might ask? Well this is because she trusted in the Lord so much. If there was something she was afraid, she knew it would be okay. And that was all because of this deep trust she had with Him. I don’t know about you, but that’s something I strive to be like one day. When there is something going on in my life, I need to call upon Mary. No matter what the circumstance because Mary knows. Mary knows the things we go through on this Earth. When she was here, she witnessed the cruelest acts being done to her beloved son. She understands that what we go through isn’t easy, but we need to know that she is always there.
Mary is always there to listen to us. As our mother, she wants to help us, just as our own Earthly mother would to. She doesn’t want us to go through life, and struggle or worry about every little thing. She wants us to talk to her. To grow in this relationship that leads us to closer to each other.
This summer, I was introduced to the 10 Virtues of Mary. Now, these are the most eloquent virtues I have ever heard. They truly reflect who our Mother is and her devotion to faith:
Lively Faith- constantly seeking God’s will and never settling for complacency
Ardent Charity- letting her love for God be the driving force behind every decision
Divine Wisdom- always begging for God’s spirit to guide her
Blind Obedience- following God’s call without counting the cost
Universal Mortification- seeking to lay down her life and her will at every moment
Surpassing Purity- having a heart immediately clean and unstained by sin
Angelic Sweetness- radiating joy and peace to everyone she encountered
Constant Mental Prayer- always being aware of God’s presence
Profound Humility- knowing who she is before God, nothing more and nothing less
Heroic Patience- always trusting that God was on the move, having more faith in His plans than her own
After reading these virtues, what do you feel? I know I felt complete and utter astonishment. I mean this are such important things to be focusing on. They give us an example of something to grow in. We are not perfect. But Mary was, and these virtues she has given us, give us an opportunity to grow in something incredible. A part of her life, that we are sharing in together.
This life is crazy. There are so many distractions that can lead us away from the kingdom if we give in. There are times when we feel so distant, but it’s things as simple as these virtues that can bring us back if we let them. Since August, I have focused on one of these virtues for a month, and I highly encourage you to do the same. October is almost over, so you could start next month or start now! Even better! You can do whatever you want, but as a suggestion I have a reminder of the virtue on my computer that I see everyday. That was one simple thing I did to be reminded daily of what I was focusing on. The possibilities of what you could do are endless, but definitely do not forget to pray about the virtue. Pray that you seek it out daily. Pray to Mary to give you the strength to display the action when it may be hard. She gets what you go through. Also, whatever prayer we offer up to Mary, she will hand on to her son, and there is nothing her son won’t listen to she asks of Him. So seek out these virtues, and begin to live into this relationship today.
I know that my relationship with Mary is not as strong as I would want it to be, but I am working on it. It takes time like anything. Relationship takes time. But it will not grow if we don’t work at it. We cannot pray one time, “Mary make me closer to you.” Yes, that is a simple and beautiful prayer, but we need to make it a part of our daily life. We need to make time in our day to grow in this relationship. It is really easy to fill our day with things of this world, but when we get to the gates one day, what will matter is how we lived our life. More importantly, who we lived it for and what we did daily to live it for them.
I want to leave you with this prayer the “Sister Strong Prayer” that was made by the women campers and staff at Camp Tekakwitha this summer. I really love this prayer, and it incorporated these virtues so well:
Come Holy Spirit, living in Mary.
We come before you Mary, as daughters and sisters who are known, loved, and forgiven by the Father.
We entrust our hearts to you, our Heavenly Mother, to make them like yours.
To constantly seek God’s will and never settle for complacency. Mary, we entrust this to your heart.
To let our love for God be the driving force behind every decision. Mary, we entrust this to your heart.
To always beg for God’s spirit to guide us. Mary, we entrust this to your heart.
To follow God’s call without counting the cost. Mary, we entrust this to your heart.
To seek to lay down our lives and will at every moment. Mary, we entrust this to your heart.
To strive to have a heart immaculately clean and unstained by sin. Mary, we entrust this to
To radiate joy and peace to everyone we encounter. Mary, we entrust this to your heart.
To always be aware of God’s presence. Mary, we entrust this to your heart.
To know who we are before God, nothing more and nothing less. Mary, we entrust this to
To always trust that God is on the move, having more faith in His plans than our own. Mary, we entrust this to your heart.
Mary, help us to have the strong sisterhood that you share with Elizabeth, a sisterhood that
shares each other’s joys and sufferings and brings us together to your Son.
Mary, Star of the Prairie, pray for us.
Jesus, Alpha and Omega, have mercy on us.
Through the simplest acts we can each grow closer to Mary. We just need to be willing to give that time up for her. Mary is such a wonderful person, and there is so much more I could say about her, but I will leave that for another time. The fact of the matter is that we have this mother who wants to help us. She yearns for this relationship with us, that is fruitful and guides us into a deeper understanding of life through knowing each other. Now that is so amazing, and something we should hold onto because it is an incredible gift that has been given directly to us.
Also, we need to build each other up as sisters, and care for one another just as Mary does for us. Just think about what a community we could create. Starting in our homes, going out into our school, community, and then spreading out into the world. Is it an easy task, well no. But is it worth it. YES. It brings us all closer together because of this common goal, and because we are all loved by the Holy Family. We are called the be disciples and witnesses to the Gospel to everyone, and how will we do that if we are not displaying this love we have been given. This faith, and relationship with Mary we have been entrusted with is something to share. Not something to hide because it can change lives.
Lead us into being disciples of your blessed life, and truth. Give us the strength to build up the Heavenly Kingdom for the good of our neighbor. Guide us into living our lives for the glory of our faith because it’s something so important to us. Amen.
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Pray for Us.