Monday, February 11, 2013

Marian Monday: Weekly Checkup

Reflections for starting the week off right, I'm joining the gracious ladies Kinsi and The Real JZ for Marian Mondays.

So shocked at the news this morning, along with a feeling of anxiety for our Church and its future. But that is my lack of faith speaking, and also a saddened heart.  Obi and I watched, while wrapping presents in the wee hours before Christmas morning, a re-broadcast of Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peter's. Pope Benedict XVI's words, so well prepared, and straight from the papers in front of him, touched accurately upon the woes and blessings of this modern world. 
If God's light is extinguished, man's divine dignity is also extinguished. Then the human creature would cease to be God's image, to which we must pay honour in every person, in the weak, in the stranger, in the poor. Then we would no longer all be brothers and sisters, children of the one Father, who belong to one another on account of that one Father. 

Reading his letter of declaration to step down, one point struck me particularly, "... in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary..." Have we become, with our "rapid" way of life, a people that can only be guided by one who can keep up? Are we such eager little lambs to fall away that we cannot follow a well-loved shepherd, whose back has become bent under the stress of giving all himself to us? I trust in the Holy Spirit to continue to guide Our Mother Church. Mother Mary, pray for us.

My original post for this day centered around the particular devotion I have with the Blessed Mother after every Mass. We have lived in a lot of places, Obi and I, since we were married almost 19 years ago: four states, eight cities. And belonged to just as many parishes, actually more, because it always takes us awhile to find the right place. But no matter where we go, I always find that beautiful statue of Mary, somewhere in the church, and kneeling in front of her after Mass becomes a little home for me. "Here I am. Here I am," I tell myself as much as I tell her. 

my current place of refuge in St. James Cathedral, Orlando

I never created a formula, and honestly never noticed I had fallen into such a concrete prayer, it all formed itself organically in the years I found myself gazing up at her and asking for protection and direction. 

But it always goes roughly like this: after dismissal and when the general populace is making its way to wherever it's going, I find the statue of the Blessed Mother and kneel. First I breathe deeply and let whatever irritations I accumulated while reprimanding children during Mass just fall away. Next, I ask Mary to adore Christ in the Eucharist with me, the fire of the Communion still burning strong within me. When I feel her presence, and her devotion to her Son overflowing from her heart to mine, I sit in that moment just a minute before bringing her my burdens. 

But the burdens I do then bring. All of them. I let all the disappointment in myself, all my failings and inadequacies from the previous week, just spill out there in front of her feet. 

At this moment I look to the statue, and am always drawn to something: her soft, reflective eyes, her strong and determined sandaled stance, her mother bear grip on the Divine Infant, and I beg for her guidance. I beg for her intercession, I beg for her presence in my daily life. And I list all my petitions, actually list them. And they too fall away, there on the ground with all my inadequacies. 

Then I look to the challenges of the coming week. Each one I bring up in the prayer, and see it for what it is: floors need cleaning, boy needs nurturing, garden needs weeding and my hands are just too tired. I ask for her help, for her determination, and for her eyes to see what it is that God wants from me. Where does He want me to go, whom does He want me to serve that week, what real change can I make in my life, in my actions, to bring that happiness that God wants for all of us to myself and to others? 

I ask all of this of her. In her presence, with the Eucharist within, there on the floor, on my knees, every week.

I whisper a Hail Mary, I kiss her feet, I get up, and the rest of the week awaits. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for linking up. I always stay and pray awhile after Mass, but more and more I can see that coming to the feet of Our Lady would be especially beneficial. Praying for our dear pope- already I have heard ugly comments and it saddens me that people are so cynical. I am excited to know who our new shepherd will be, more than anything.


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