to Jesus through Mother Mary

Mary, Mother of the Eucharist by Tommy Canning
Mother of the Eucharist by Tommy Canning
We have a print of this in our living room and it is absolutely beautiful!
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I’m on an official quest to draw closer to Mother Mary. I realized that although I think I know about Our Lady and I have many friends and family with strong devotion to her, I don’t naturally go to her to draw closer to her Son. I have thought of her as the ultimate model for motherhood which is true, but her perfect motherhood (you know, born without sin and all…and raising Jesus, the Son of God) … intimidates me. I found myself wondering how she must see me in my little impatient Mom shoes, getting tired of the continuous demands of our precious little humans and being not so gracious about it.  If it weren’t for her being so perfect, I would think she might be shaking her head, or at least sighing deeply…
But she’s OUR MOTHER! I’ve heard how much she loves us (you and me!) and that she is our Mother ever since Jesus assigned her to us (alongside Apostle John). I’ve heard from others with deep devotion …of her unfailing love for us, gentleness, compassion and her desire to draw us ever closer to her Son.
So I’ve been reading 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration (I’m on Day 28!) with a little Under the Mantle: Marians Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest on the side…and had some spiritual direction with my favorite priest.

I’m going to keep trying to remember to pray for her help…and learn how to entrust myself completely to her so that she can bring me closer to Jesus.

a prayer

Jesus, I want to know Your Truth AND live it. Jesus, I’m so easily distracted, so easily jostled, startled, untethered. Jesus, I worry about so many things.
Jesus, I want to pray. I want my words to be deliberate and heart-felt. I want to say what my heart feels and listen intently and hear Your Words to me in my heart, with no doubt, no second guessing. I want to be focused and consumed by You and undistracted.
I want to know You, bathe in Your Love, be directed by Your Priorities and I want to receive Your Love and Your intentions for me, correctly, fully, purely.
I want to brim over with the fire of your Love, uncontained, unfettered, unlimited, unconstrained so that I can only reflect Your Love, enthusiastically and untarnished by human limitations.
I want to see and think clearly, without muddying Your message to me, and to those around me.
I want to use the creative gifts You have given me to serve You and draw closer to You and to lead others to pursue You as You desire. I want to fulfil my vocation to the best of my abilities, recognizing but not giving in to my failings, offering up the little chores, the monotony and the little annoyances, frustrations and worries, surrendering my will and my lack of control, my pride for Your Greater Glory.
I want to pray. I want to express the yearning of my heart, to remain undistracted but focused on You. I want to connect with You, feeling Your unconditional Love, a love that is impossible for humans, only possible for God, loving me as if I was the only human, loving me incessantly despite my faults and failings, loving me without hesitation or requirements, expectations or conditions. Loving me because You have made me worthy through Your Suffering, for me, when no one except You could have even known I would exist.
Jesus, I don’t want to get distracted by the meaningless details. I don’t want to be preoccupied with menial concerns.
I want to pray, giving Glory to You, recognizing my weakness…and my only strength in You, through You, by You.
I want to cleanse the corners of my soul, I want to be open to Your Will ever trusting that You will only expect of me, ask of me, what I can truly handle. That You know what’s best for me, You only want what is best for me and for my salvation.
I want to be a good wife, mother, daughter, friend. Jesus, I love You. I’m a afraid to be put to the test, because I know How weak I am. I know. I’m scared Jesus because I don’t expect that I can measure up. I know I don’t deserve Your Love. I’m as flaky as anyone. I’m selfish. I’m weak. I’m distracted and overwhelmed. I worry. I don’t trust. I need You. I need constant reminders to pray, to focus, to offer up my will for Yours, to ask, to beg for Your pardon, Your Mercy and Your Help for every breath, every step, every worry. Jesus, I choose to trust in You but I need constant reminders to recommit. To trust. To serve, to surrender my pride, my attempt to control.  Jesus, I love You.
Let me feel Your Love.

Our Mother Mary

August is a special month for Mary, with the Feast of the Assumption on August 15th and the Queenship of Mary on August 22.

I want a deeper devotion to Our Lady. I know that Jesus gave her to us as our Heavenly Mother and given her role as Mother of the Son of God, she is the ultimate model for us Moms. Sometimes I assume that the house of the Holy Family must have been perfect; with Mary born without sin and Jesus, human in all things but sin and His Foster Father St Joseph, the epitome of humility, obedience and gentleness. I picture everyone gliding around the humble little house seamlessly, constantly serving each other with a smile, always anticipating the needs of the other. With just the necessities for food and clothing, the house was orderly and impeccably clean (not my house!). No one raised a voice or argued with another. Everyone knew their responsibilities and carried them out diligently, with love.

Well, even if these three were practically perfect in every way, there was still emotion. We see emotion…and even a little attitude finding young Jesus in the Temple or at the Wedding at Cana when Jesus says to his Mom….”why should I help? it’s not my time!” and Mary kind of ignores Him and tells the others “do as He
tells you”.

We also can’t discount the world outside their home. They were driven out to Egypt for the first couple years of Jesus’ life and that must have been quite the upheaval with a new baby! How well do you remember the early days with your first child? I remember what a big deal every outing was, let alone travelling!

Even once they returned to Nazareth and their family and friends…there were no doubt those who didn’t buy the ‘conceived by the Holy Spirit’ part and looked at Mary in a disapproving way. There would also be the everyday work that brought interaction with others: regular people with their less than virtuous thoughts, opinions, human motivations and personality quirks.

Mother Mary certainly sees our trials and challenges. She is the ultimate model motherhood with her prayerful, gentle way to cope with life’s little adventures. Perhaps if we pray more incessantly for her guidance and her intercession, we can better follow her example bringing more peace and Faith into our homes.

Easier said than done!  Back to the Prompt Me to Pray prayer!

Sweet Mother Mary, pray for us!

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The Prompt-Me-to-Pray Prayer

I have written about Br Lawrence’s Practice of the Presence of God
before. I think it’s a simple yet profound way to deepen our relationship with
Jesus, do small things with great love like St Therese and to grow in virtue
while we live out our Faith more consciously. I know I’d like to carry out my
vocation as Mom…graciously, with more patience and love, but I inevitably
become unravelled, and caught up in my often self-inflicted pressures of family
The tasks set out for me in my vocation as a Mom, if carried out
with love, are supposed to catapult me to holiness!  This is the Mom’s School of Holiness. I’m not sure where I have read this, but my friend Fr. Roger tells me this all the time.
I get flustered by the needs and demands of my family and the general chaos can be overwhelming.  I’d like to carry out all my tasks prayerfully…with grace and patience and gentleness, but I know…and I know my kids would agree….I just can’t pull that off.  Even if I could get it all done….grace and patience and gentleness slip away pretty fast!
Cooking, cleaning, training, managing, driving, shopping and never-ending laundry can be tedious, thankless and frustrating.
I’ve had a problem with practicing the Presence of God, ever since I read my doggy-eared paperback discovered at a used book store…almost 20 years ago. And back then, I wasn’t even a Mom yet!
I usually forget the most important part of practicing the Presence of God:
I do pray…but Brother Lawrence prayed continuously while he went about his simple duties.  He was in constant conversation with God!
Everything is better when I remember: I just can’t do everything all on my own!
I know I need
to ask for help from my husband AND my kids before I enter the realm of
I’ll-just-resentfully-do-it-myself…but the MOST important help I need to request…is from Jesus and His Mother Mary. Mary knows how to get it all done…connected constantly to her Son.
The problem is that I get so overwhelmed… that I forget to ask. I forget to pray.
But here’s my idea: what if I pray each day asking for Jesus and Mother Mary to help me to remember to rely on Him and ask for His Help when things start getting tense? I have on occasion asked Him for a reminder to get myself to weekday Mass or Confession….and I must say…He’s very reliable! I will inevitably be prompted to prepare to go to Church, just in time, with minimal neglect of my Mom duties.
Isn’t this a great idea? It’s a big deal to truly unite our efforts with Jesus and call out to Him, relying on His Strength, not ours….but some of us need to take a step back and ask for help before it gets to the crunch.  We need to ask for reminders and prompts to remember to call on Him and I think Jesus (and Mary!) will be more than happy to help us out.
I have found asking for His reminder to pray and call out to Him….has
helped me increase my prayer and carry out my vocation with a little bit more
patience and calm. I think that this is a big deal…especially having everyone home for summer!

I find that I am remembering to pray more often.  A quick little prayer goes a long way to help focus and stay calm. I think as long as I remember to keep asking for His reminders….I could make practicing the Presence of God… a habit!

Imagine the possibilities…of being in constant conversation with God!

Jesus, I trust in You.  You want me to draw closer to You, praying more, engaging more, asking for help instead of struggling on my own.  Please remind me to call out to You and look to Mother Mary as my model.  Please prompt me, remind me and guide me.
Jesus, be my strength, I trust in You.

All I need to do is to remember to ask.