I fall in and out of praying the Rosary, and I am not sure why. Maybe laziness, probably distraction, or most likely, when things are going well … the beads fall to the side. I get into these different routines, depending on the present joy or struggle, of what prayers I reach for, which spiritual reading grabs me, a certain scripture I feel called to soak in.
This morning, I reached for the beads.
Not because I had the idea. But because Mary did.
Because Mary took my hand and led me to them.
You can call me crazy, but I do believe, more than ever now that I am older, that Mary has been holding my hand since, well … forever. From my little-girl days, hiding in my sister’s closet with only the warm glow of her Mary nightlight to comfort me, to my rebelling teen years, when I unwillingly recited the Rosary with my family around the kitchen table, rolling my eyes with each Amen, to our “discovering faith” days in Los Angeles, when a photo of Mary literally jumped off of our mantle when I spoke her Son’s name, to the morning of the shooting in my hometown of Newtown, CT, when I had no details at all, but demanded that my husband drive me to the statue of Our Lady because I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. And to the miraculous moment, when after a day of chaos and sobbing and the enemy at the height of his time in my life, a priest placed in my hands beautiful, delicate rosary beads, and shared, “these were blessed by the Blessed Mother, and I was told to give them to someone who needed them.” The priest had no idea how very much I needed them. But Mary did.
I do not worship Mary, in case you are wondering. But I do love her. I trust her. I depend on her. I lean on her. I pray through her. I give my children to her. Every. Single. Hour. Of. Every. Single. Day. I place my loved ones in her hands. Maybe because humans are so selfish, and always want the attention for themselves, it is hard for us to understand this, to understand her role. Her whole life was lived by doing the will of God. To point us to God. To lead us to Him. She never keeps the glory for herself. In other words, Mary would never take a selfie. Because her focus is not on self. Her focus is on Christ, and her daily mission is to lead all of her children to Him.
Mary is my Mother and she is your Mother too.
And it is difficult, isn’t it, in the darkest of days, to believe that a mother … The Mother … would sit by and allow whatever the current tragedy is to happen. If you never feel this way, please share with me your secret. Because I will admit to my weakness, my flesh that is just so … fleshy … and I have cried and asked her to please do something NOW. I have had moments where I wondered if she had forgotten about me … if maybe I was getting too annoying … or if my troubles were silly and unimportant. I have had these thoughts. Why would a mother sit and do nothing?
But then I remember … Mary doesn’t sit. Mary stands.
At the Presentation.
At the crucifixion.
Above the moon.
On top of the serpent.
And when I recall those moments that literally knocked me to my knees … when I close my eyes and think about it now … while it was Jesus I encountered … Jesus, who was reaching out his hand to pull me up, it was Mary that led me to Him. It was Mary that got the ball rolling, as she did in Cana.
Because a mother knows when we are in trouble. A mother knows when we have lost our way. A mother knows when her children are in pain. A mother knows when her child is lying to himself. A mother knows what her children need. A mother knows where true help is. And our heavenly Mother knows that if it were up to us and our own strength, we would never get up off of the ground when all hope had been beaten out of us. We would never have faith. We would never find peace.
And so through grace, she comes to us. Every single day, she walks the journey by our side, by our children’s sides. And she holds our hands, she cups our tear stained face in her hands, and she whispers, “It is ok, sweet one … Mommy is here.”
And she invites us to stand. Never alone. Always with her.
Copyright 2018 Laura Mary Phelps