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Mary Truly Became My Mother?
At about fourteen years old. I remember distinctly that I was feeling down and hopeless about a certain situation.
Going into my bedroom I began to pray about it. It was the first time I had ever prayed a ‘Hail Mary‘. I quietly whispered “Hail Mary, Mail Mary”. Those were the only words of the Hail Mary I knew.
I can’t say where I had heard those words, T.V. – maybe? But, I knew it was a prayer and I was prompted somewhere in my heart to say those words. Perhaps this is when my slow conversion to the Catholic Church really began…
I have taken you through all the major landmarks I have experienced throughout my journey home to the Church. This is the final part of this particular series. (Part 1 of my journey here)
It wasn’t until Mary truly became my mother, that I could truly and finally find that deep abiding peace knowing I was truly and finally Catholic.
The truth is that the Catholic teaching surrounding the Mother of God was where I struggled the most. The Eucharist, Confession, the Pope, and Birth Control were somewhat difficult. But, compared to the doctrine on Mary, they were much easier to embrace and accept as part of my daily faith life.
At the beginning of my walk as a newly baptized Catholic, I had tried to read a book called “True Devotion“. This is a book written by Saint Louis de Montfort. He is known for his writings and devotion to Mary, the Mother of God.
But, the book was way too much for a recent convert. Especially one, like myself, who had heard all her life that ‘Catholics worshiped Mary‘ and that in itself was sinful.
I remember my mother telling me that she, Mary, was just a human just like we are and she was now dead. No further talk or acknowledgment about Mary was necessary.
It was as if my mother believed that just because Mary played a part in the biggest miracle in history, it was not as big of a deal that the ‘Catholics‘ thought it was.
Yes, as Protestants spoke about her. But, only once a year during the Christmas season. She was remembered as a part of a nativity scene or a Christmas decoration and really not anything more than that.
Catholic Teaching On Mary
I had learned that many holy people and Saints loved and honored Mary. Saint John Paul II was one who had a great devotion to her. I loved and respected him soo much. His Marian devotion was interesting to me so I began to read and study more.
Listening to podcasts and teachings was a big part of my coming to deeper heart knowledge and love of her. I was falling in love with everything I learned of her. I especially connected with the explanation that when we honor Mary we are just imitating Christ himself.
Of course, Jesus honored his parents. He followed God’s commandments perfectly just as we are called to do. Every Christian would agree with that! But, then consider. If he honors his beloved mother Mary, what would he desire us to do? Nothing less I think…
I know if someone put down, dishonored, or even forgot my mother, who is very human, imperfect, and in no way as holy as the Blessed Mother Mary, I would be deeply hurt and offended.
Just as I am commanded to honor my mother, so too we are called to honor the mother of our brother – Jesus’ mother.
What Makes Mary So Special
The Angel Gabriel came to her, Mary, and asked her to be the mother of God’s son…
26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
29 But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31 Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.
32 He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
33 and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom, there will be no end.”Luke 1:26-33
So, Mary was called ‘Highly Favored one” & told that the Lord was with her – by an Archangel at that.
She was also told that she had found ‘favor with God‘. Mary would conceive a baby and that baby would be called Son of the Most High God and His Kingdom (meaning He would be a King) would have no end.
I was always taught from an early age that Jesus was God. He was God’s Son. So, wouldn’t this make Mary the Mother of God ?
And should the Mother of God not be honored? I found that the answer to this question was obviously yes, she should definitely be honored.
So honoring her became understandable and accepted by my heart.
Praying the Rosary
When I had a difficult time understanding what I was reading and discovering I prayed. I prayed and asked Jesus to please introduce me to His mother…He did – and in a profound way although, it literally took years.
I began the devotion of ‘Praying the Rosary‘. Like I have said before when I became Catholic, I was all in. I trusted what Holy Mother Church held in its beliefs and teachings. The Rosary was a natural next step.
Praying the Rosary was just one of the gifts that the Catholic Church has gifted to me. Praying this ‘Bible on a string’ slowly started to open my heart to Mary. I was slowly coming to appreciate and yes, love her.
Years later, I was invited to take a personal retreat. It is following along in a book written to really intoduce you to Mary in a deep way. I decided it was time to really put to rest any hesitations I still had where Mary was involved.
The ‘retreat’ took 33 Days. And at the end of the retreat I cannot even explain how Jesus reassured me that devotion to and love for His Mother was within His will for my life. I will never forget how he revealed him Mother to me in such a personal way.
I simply could not help but fall in love with the Mother Jesus gave me. Gave all of us.
Mary Truly Became My Mother & Yours Too
Remember at the foot of the cross when Jesus looked at Saint John and said the words, “Behold your mother“? ~ John 19:26
John represented the Church. This has long been the understanding of the early Church.
You see, John had an earthly mother. She was the one who so brazenly asked Jesus if her sons, John and his brother James, could sit and rule with Him. One at His right and one at his left hand.
If John had a mother, why would Jesus say this? Wouldn’t it cause contention, and conflict? John’s mother seemed to be very outspoken and would have surly objected if it was out of order some way.
Simply explained this last gift Jesus offered had a bigger more universal and inclusive meaning. He was lifting Mary to the given Honor of being the mother of all of us – Mother of All Humanity.
Where To Go From Here?
All I can say is the Holy Spirit was not done with me on that April 11, 1998 Easter Vigil when I was welcomed into the Catholic Church. And He is not done with me now.
My journey is ongoing daily. I love the Church and all the beautiful Truth it holds and protects.
I continue to pray, study and learn all that I can about this rich, rich faith. If something comes up that I have a hard time understanding, I simply pray, ask, and research.
The thing about the Catholic Church is that you can always find the answer to your doubts and questions.
Others On The Journey Home
One show I have watched weekly since 1997 is The Journey Home on EWTN. I have watched this every Monday night since it began. It is a show where the host Marcus Grodi interviews people about their conversion to the Catholic Faith.
Every guest has a different conversion story and every story touches my heart in some profound way. It really helped and blessed me throughout my journey. I still watch it today and always am blessed by it!
I know I didn’t touch on every aspect of my journey, like Confession or the Magisterium, the Pope, and his authority. Discuss those things as I go forward with my ministry will come.
My conversion was not instantaneous. It was and continues to be a wonderful ongoing journey.
And as I look back on it now, I really believe that the little ‘Hail Mary‘ I quietly whispered so long ago was that moment when a small opening in my heart was presnted to her. This was her invitaion to pray for me and to help lead me into the beauty and Truth of the Catholic Church.
I praise God for that every day!
I look forward to sharing more of all the beauty I have discovered within the Catholic Church. Thank you for reading and may God Bless!
A Catholic mom of 10 & a Deacon’s wife.
I Help Inspire Christian Women to Grow in Their Faith & Share with Others, Improve their Health, and Create Whole-Life-Wellness From the Inside Out.