Friday, May 6, 2011

A Mother's Prayers

I received a note from an on-line friend the other day. She had gone back and re-read a post I wrote last year about (what I consider) a miracle associated with the operation on my sister’s brain tumor, and my seizure that same night. To answer some of my friend’s questions, I went back and re-read the post myself (Wailing, posted on March 6, 2010). Like my friend, I too was touched by the memories of that time, and how good God has been to me.

It is the month of May, and the trees are in bloom in front of my house, and the spring flowers in the back. Out by the curb, the mountain phlox is budding its purple flowers; and there will be a purple runner along the road next week. And on most days the sun is out. It feels right to think good thoughts these days, and good memories seem a little more meaningful – maybe it’s just the good Spring mood I’m in which enhances their impact.

Last Tuesday I heard a man speak on the Opus Dei organization. He mentioned that its members had some targets, measures of their spiritual growth and well-being, things they try to do to live out their faith in their daily lives. He even showed me an I-Phone app which you can download, which lists the targets. And there, among the many things (most of which I was pleased to find I regularly do) was something I didn’t expect at all. They recommend saying three Hail Marys, each night, before bed.

It was a Felician sister, when I was in the second or third grade, who told us that if we say three Hail Marys before we go to bed each night, Mary will never forget us. I don’t know the source of her admonition, but I have always been loyal to that charge, even during those years when I hardly ever went to church. The similar Opus Dei call was the first time I heard anyone else recommending the practice. And so I was more than a little shocked. And it tugged at my mind as I went through the rest of that day, remembering so much of what Mary has done for me during my life. She has never forgotten this weak sinner, no matter how bad I got. I think she has always prayed for me, remembering me, I guess, because I remembered her. I guess that’s just the way mothers are.

And I am so thankful.

This morning I attended a First Friday talk by Sister Ann Shields, the well-known author and radio show host. She spoke on, of course, the month of May --- and Mary. As a speaker, Sr. Ann is like a mother herself, so soft-spoken, and yet persistent. And even if you had any doubts about her topic, she wouldn’t let you harbor them, but she hammered away at her point until you could not but agree. Even if you didn’t really fully understand the topic, you just found yourself nodding at her words.

Mothers are like that; when they’re talking about something that they say is “for your own good”; they’re always right.

I guess all these thoughts got me thinking of my relationship with Mary. I suppose our relationship started with her loving me, before I even knew it, kind of like a mother loves her baby. But even if I didn’t intellectually know it, I kind of always felt it, I guess like a baby does. From my early education and thoughts about her, I always felt good just thinking about Mary. Knowing what she did for Jesus, and what He did for me, I always felt that special kinship with her. And I couldn’t think bad things about her.

It’s a strange thing. I admit that there are some times when I feel a bit estranged from Jesus, like when I sin and just want to go and hide from Him. And there are other times when I feel I really need Him, but He doesn’t seem to be around, and I wonder where He is, and what He is thinking. But I’ve never felt that way about Mary. Why is that?

I guess I think of Mary kind of like Augustine thought of his mother, Monica. Augustine went off and did his thing in his youth, and Monica just kept praying for him. And then when Augustine finally found God, he very much appreciated his mother’s constant prayers, never giving up on him. I think of Mary that way. I suppose I needed a lot of prayers over the years. And I’m thankful they’ve been answered, at least to some degree.

I care for my earthly mom these days. She needs me, as I once needed her. In my youth I needed her; in her old age she needs me. And although she forgets many things, and often gets confused, yet each night as I put her to bed she tells me “you know I love you.” She never forgets that. And amidst all her confused thoughts, the fact that she remembers to say that almost every night is something of a miracle.

I suppose I should write some about other miracles which have happened to me in my life, and of that time sis and I went to Medjugorje, which started it all. I’m in a mood to recall those blessed times.

When I started to bloom, because of my mother’s prayers.

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