I gave one of my sons the game Bananagrams for Christmas and it became an obsession for some of us. We’ve played over 100 times since Christmas day, including a “Bananagrams Madness” tournament at our little New Year’s Eve gathering. (I admit that I am one of the people that look forward to playing whenever someone else is willing. Scrabble has always been one of my favorite games and Banangrams is similar with a quicker pace!)
Keeping on the topic of favorite things, one of my favorite feast days recently passed; Our Lady of Lourdes. Growing up, I really didn’t learn much about the saints despite attending Catholic elementary school. It wasn’t until I was a young adult that I started to read more about my faith, which included the lives of the saints.
About 21 years ago and only about 2 years after my reversion…I am a cradle Catholic who, beyond going to Mass on Sundays, didn’t really have a relationship with God until I was about 20…my husband, Jay, was going through a rough time with his first of three grad school clinicals. He had been placed in a setting where his supervisor was unprofessional and had an issue with men. It was a very negative atmosphere and a very stressful time. At the time of the clinical, we had three little boys under 5 and I was pregnant with our first daughter. I was working part time and really worried about Jay and everything he was going through.
My introduction to Our Lady of Lourdes seems to have been a happy accident, but I prefer to see it as a Godincidence in my life at the time. On February 11th, 1998, I felt the pull to go to Mass before going to work that day. I walked into Mass carrying all of my worries and still very new to my faith. During Mass, the priest announced that it was the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. All that I knew about Our Lady of Lourdes was from the CCC video on St. Bernadette that we had bought for our sons. But, just knowing that is was a Marian feast day brought me comfort. I left Mass feeling a deep sense of peace and I thought it was a sign that God was telling me everything would turn out all right.(i.e. the way I wanted it to!)
Now that I’m not so new to my faith, I understand that a deep sense of peace and knowing that God is in control does not mean that things will turn out the way I hope they will. Sometimes when we bring our fears and worries to God, He takes them completely away from us. Other times, God gives us the grace to carry them and the consolation that we are not alone. He is always right there with us.
The next few months of 1998 taught me a lot about suffering and faith. Jay’s clinical did not turn around, and the school removed him from the terrible situation but he had to repeat the whole clinical and had to wait three extra months to graduate. My pregnancy developed problems and I delivered a baby girl that May, who we only got to love in this life for 16 days. Yet, throughout all of the discouragement and suffering, God carried us. He helped us to survive such traumatic experiences and, over time, healed our broken hearts.
This year, I prayed a novena to Our Lady of Lourdes and I was able to attend Mass for the feast day. At Mass, I remembered the peace that Mary brought me all those years ago. I am so grateful for a Mother in Heaven who reaches down to console me when I bring my hurts to her Son.
Is there a time in your life when you felt Mary’s presence or intercession in a special way?
Michelle Hamel is a cradle Catholic who tries to keep up with the chaos of raising eight kids with her high school sweetheart. She spends her days trying to make sure everyone feels loved and squeezing in adoration visits. She blogs about faith and family at Normal Chaos.