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Anni Ink Slingers Motherhood Prayer Vocations

The Guiding Light of Mary: Inspiration for Deepening Our Relationship with Christ

The month of May is one of two months devoted to Mary, the mother of God. This past Lent, I found myself reflecting on the ways in which Mary endured her Son’s Passion – how she followed His final steps, and remained at His feet until it was time to accept His lifeless body into her arms, and prepare it for burial.

We then turned the page to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection, and yet, my reflection on Mary didn’t end. Instead, it took a curious turn from how Mary stood by her Son, to what her reaction was when she was able to tangibly see Scripture fulfilled before her eyes – with the child she raised, risen from the dead!

Throughout Mary’s life, she maintained an unshakeable, unwavering faith. From a young age, to being a new mom, to becoming a seasoned woman, Mary continually committed all she had in fidelity to God. No matter how bleak the horizon looked for her, she trustingly held faith in her God’s plans, and His will for her future.

And, when her Divine Son appeared to her after His Resurrection, she had to have breathed a sigh of relief. Perhaps not the kind of relief that would indicate she doubted her Son would rise; rather, a sigh of relief that, after all she had witnessed, her baby Boy was okay.

By her role as the mother of God, Mary became a guiding light for all of us to follow. In her example as a physical mother, we find the courage needed to help guide our own children to meeting God on a personal level. In her example at the mother who lost a Son, we find the strength to move forward in pursuing the will of God, even in our darkest moments. In her acceptance of being assigned the role of mother to the apostle John, we are clearly assured of the importance of spiritual motherhood, looking out for those who may not have been born of us, but who are nevertheless in need of the compassion and love our feminine genius offers.

Mary’s role as mother did not end with Jesus’ death on the cross, nor did it end upon Jesus’ Ascension. Instead, she continued to serve God in her vocation as mother long after her own flesh and blood no longer walked this earth. While apparitions of Mary are not required to be believed by Catholics, one could argue her vocation of motherhood took on an even greater role after her own death. She continues to include all of us as her children, centuries after she herself ceased walking this earth.

“To Jesus, through Mary,” is the reminder we are given when doing a Consecration to Jesus. We are reminded that Mary will lead us deeply, passionately, and unreservedly to her Son. We see her guiding light as early as Luke 1:38, when she tells the Archangel Gabriel, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.” And, again, when she confides to Elizabeth in Luke 1:46-47, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” As early as those recorded statements are included in Scripture, we see Mary pointing back to our Lord God. We see her acceptance of God’s will, and her humility, which points not to her role, but rather, points us to her Son.

Throughout Scripture, she continually reminds us to do her Son’s will, while simultaneously affirming His role in our lives. With Mary’s light, illuminated throughout history, it is easy to see how her radiance magnifies Jesus and His role as Savior for humanity. She asks nothing of us for herself. Rather, she asks that we love her Son – the Boy she raised, the Man she knew, and the Savior in whom she loved and believed.

Therefore, this Month of Mary – May – let us follow her guiding light into a deeper understanding and relationship with the Joy of her life – Jesus.

Perhaps we can do that by meditating a little longer on the mysteries of the Rosary.

Perhaps we can do so by asking God to grant us more humility for ourselves – that we will let Jesus radiate through us, with no thought of our own gain.

Perhaps we can deepen our relationship with Christ by focusing on increasing the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity/love.

The ways we grow closer to Christ are really limitless, when we set our minds to doing so, and we commit to not allowing anything to derail our growth. Sometimes, we may just have to get a little creative. And, sometimes, we may have to ask for a little heavenly placed assistance, through Jesus’ mother, Mary.

How will you allow Mary to lead you closer to her Son this month?
How will you thank Mary for being a mother to us all?
What will help you better follow Mary’s guiding light in the month of May?

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Books Ink Slingers Karen Mary Reviews Spiritual Growth

33 Days to Morning Glory: A Book Review

A few weeks ago, a new friend told me about a program coming up at an area Catholic Church called 33 Days to Morning Glory. A group meeting once a week would watch a video after reading a chapter of a book by the same title and completing daily reflections. Not knowing anything about it, I looked it up online and found that it was a Marian consecration preparation. Uh, no thanks. I was accepting of Mary, admiring even. After all, how could you not admire the woman who bore and raised Jesus, and gave a humble, yet confident “yes” to God at the Annunciation? But the stretch of being consecrated to Mary? I was not interested. But, I thought about it. A closer relationship to all the holy men and women of God, including Mary, was undoubtedly a good thing. So, I realized I ought to try it at some point.

The same new frie33daysof morning glorynd brought up the Morning Glory program to me again, forgetting she had previously mentioned it. I said I would think about it, and almost immediately realized that everything that was going through my mind causing me to shy away (busy, hassle of bringing kids to a meeting, not really interested in a consecration, etc) were not good reasons to not attend, participate and explore what our beautiful faith has to offer about Mary. In fact, being too busy for Our Lady and for something that could draw me closer to Christ was undoubtedly a feeling not rooted in God, but in the Evil One attempting to draw me away.

In starting the readings, I learned something right off the top. This was not a consecration to Mary, but a consecration to Jesus through Mary. Burden lifted. This was not a form of Marian worship. Phew!  Also, this Marian consecration is based on one outlined by St. Louis deMontfort and expanded on, or otherwise followed by other saints who followed him.

The book is broken into four chapters (along with an introduction at the start and a final preparations section at the end), each dedicated to a particular person known for their devotion to Mary: St. Louis deMontfort, St. Maximillian Kolbe, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and St. Pope John Paul II.

St. Louis deMontfort demands that we devote ourselves to Mary. That we give our whole selves over, including our prayers, petitions, and graces, for Our Lady to do as she sees fit. She in turn gives us grace and peace to do God’s work. At first this was so very hard for me to stomach. Giving everything to Mary, given my pre-existing hesitancies…well, I almost decided the whole thing wasn’t for me right then and there. But something, perhaps the Holy Spirit, nudged me to continue. St. Maximillian Kolbe said more of the same, but called for even more: developing an army of folks devoted to Mary. Okay. That was hard too.Pray for Intercessions

But then the book dives into Blessed Mother Teresa and her spiritual journey. It was this that sold me on Marian consecration. She had a deep and wonderful relationship with God. The most beautiful of which discusses how the darkness we experience is when we are closest to Jesus; that suffering is necessary to gain that sort of relationship with Jesus. And Mary can help us with this. St. Pope John Paul II has even more wisdom to offer. I won’t dive too deeply in each section because it is best for it to be read in contemplation in order to get the most out of it. But it is a beautiful book, with a wonderful opportunity for growth in faith and love of Christ, and really does a thorough job of preparing you to give your heart to Mary to use to serve the world and salvation best.

If you choose to do the retreat, whether privately (the book may be purchased on Amazon) or in a parish group, prepare for setbacks. This will bring you closer to Jesus, and Satan is not a fan. Literally every week, there has been something that nearly keeps me from a meeting, causes me to be late, takes me out early, or interrupts my reflections and reading through the week. It has taken serious effort to do the work of the preparations. We’ve had a cold, a stomach bug, a major water leak in our bathroom, kid potty accidents during a meeting, and on and on. Pray more. Go into it knowing things may will come up. But offer it up to Jesus through Mary.

I strongly recommend to anyone considering Marian consecration, or considering simply a good book to read that will bring you closer to Jesus through Mary, to pick up 33 Days to Morning Glory by Father Michael E. Gaitley. It’s a marvelous read and one to surely bring you closer to Jesus through Our Lady.