Nail Marks

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"Nail Marks" by Susan Anderson (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2016 Susan Anderson. All rights reserved.

Since we are living the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima, why not pray the rosary every day? I mean, isn’t that the point? Sister Lucia has shared that Our Lady said that there is no problem that can’t be solved by praying the rosary.

I’m starting to believe it. I say I’m starting because we exercise our muscles of faith. Use it or lose it, right?! Blessed are those who believe though they can’t see. John 20:29. That’s what Jesus said to Thomas, right?

Let’s be honest though. We all have a little ‘Doubting Thomas’ in us.

“Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.” John 20: 25

In a mere mortal way, our tangible touchy-feely selves aren’t ever quite sure, are we? There has to be a touchpoint, or a sign or wonder, if you will, that shows us it’s worth trusting in God. It’s worth the struggle and sacrifice to pray.

I have to know that God loves me.

But I’ve learned that. He shows me every day.

Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

I offer that in praying the rosary, we strengthen our faith and trust in God. It is by holding our Most Holy Mother’s hand that we get through the day.

The rosary is the perfect prayer, in my opinion. It is a prayer of humility. How? Because I know that my own lonely prayers aren’t good enough. I know that in praying in union with our Blessed Mother, who loves me, I am supported and though I think I might want things, I know that God’s perfect and divine will is best. It is through contemplating the events of Christ’s life with Mary, I am seeking God.

The rosary is also not exclusive. Rather, it works in rhythm with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In growing more devoted to Jesus through Mary, it makes me want to go to Mass and receive Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament more!

The other reason I think it’s the perfect prayer is because it costs me something. There are often times I don’t feel anything. I pray because I copy one of Mary’s 10 virtues; that being ‘blind obedience.’ In other words, “It’s not about me!” That’s another way I know that it is fruitful prayer. I like to think that I am striving to be like Mary rather than Martha, to choose the better. To sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to him. In reciting the Hail Mary, while meditating upon the mystery at hand, say for instance, The Annunciation, I am focused on Christ. The 10 Hail Mary’s serve as prayer, but also as a trusting chant to help me concentrate on the larger truth. The Hail Mary’s are my Ipod, so to speak. My background music.

I’ve learned the facets of that particular event when Mary was visited by the Angel Gabriel, and given God’s message that she would be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and conceive the Messiah, the Son of the Most High, (Oh yeah, that means that Mary did know). I know that it is by reflecting often upon this singular Truth, that my trust grows. My love grows.

It is a multi-layered prayer. Everyone in my sphere of life is covered as I pray the rosary.

Not only am I worshipping Jesus, I am petitioning Him for souls. I am learning forgiveness, humility, and holiness.

Because I’m a little like Thomas, I want to see it for myself. What I’ve realized is that there are signal graces that show me I’m on the right page. It just came to me now as an epiphany! They are my nail marks that the Lord gives me.

It’s the little things that go right that are the nail marks.

My husband and I once passed a yoga studio where they had a sign outside that read, “Wheatgrass Shots – $3.” Rob commented, “they’re going to have to pay me a lot more to choke that down.” After praying a 54-day rosary novena, he is now drinking healthy juices of beets, carrot, celery, cucumber, apples, and lemon. As we clink our glasses together, we say “Cheers! Better than chemo.” That is a nail mark.

My son Mark surfs all the time. He is safe. He feels a strong sense of joy and purpose. That is a nail mark.

My autistic son Paul has grown more articulate. He prays for everyone. He makes use of holy water several times a day. These are nail marks.

My daughter Danika loves God and trusts in Him totally. That is a nail mark.

My daughter Katie is deeply spiritual. She is caring, and has influenced her friends in ways she doesn’t even know. Her humility is a nail mark.

My son Scott is pressing on in true manhood. That is a nail mark.

Bethany, my youngest, is a junior in high school. She wears a purity ring. That is a nail mark.

There are so many nail marks. It is why I don’t tire of the Sorrowful Mysteries. As morbid as they are, meditating upon Jesus’ five points of Passion: the Agony in the Garden, Scourging At the Pillar, Crowning of Thorns, Carrying the Cross, and the Crucifixion yield perspective on our suffering. It is then we can recognize our signal graces; our blessings. We can count the nail marks, as Thomas did. We no longer hold skepticism, but rather embrace trust in the Messiah who loves us.  

I’ve not arrived yet, but I’m getting there. 

It is my conversion that is at stake. I also have a responsibility to the souls God has entrusted to me. Everyone I know… 

In the following articles, I’ll take one mystery at a time and break down what I’ve gleaned.

What are your nail marks? What are the situations in your lives where God is showing you He has you in mind, and Sacred Heart?

Copyright 2017 Susan Anderson 

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About Author

Susan Anderson is a wife and mother of six. A convert at age 33, she is an avid fan of Mary and keeps her sanity through rosary prayer. She helps Rob, her husband, at Cactus Game Design, provider of Bible based games and toys. Her book, Paul’s Prayers, is about her oldest autistic son. She likes music, jogging, swimming, and redoing thrift store furniture.

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