Do you have a relationship with the Mother of Jesus? If so, have you always had a relationship with her? Or, do you feel as though your relationship with her could be strengthened and developed more?
We at Little with Great Love all have our own different experiences with the Mother of God. We share them with you here for two reasons. One is to celebrate the awesome and beautiful Mother of God during October, this month dedicated to the Holy Rosary. The second reason is to inspire you to look at your own relationship with Mary. We invite you to join us in asking Mary to show us where our relationship with her could be renewed and restored—so that we can walk more closely with her Son, Jesus.
Each of us shares a unique, personal walk with Mary…
I’m so grateful for Our Lady and how we can consecrate ourselves to her and entrust our every prayer to her. When I see people’s suffering through their Instagram or Facebook posts, I’ll often let them know I’m praying for them and then entrust them to the heart of Mary. Then later, when I’m praying, I just ask that she takes all of my prayers, distributes them, and keeps in mind everyone I promised to pray for. That way, there’s no forgetting to pray for someone. Even if I forget a specific intention…she knows. Mama Mary knows… and she’s got this.
Growing up, my mother used to tell us about this image she would carry in her heart. She’d be having a really rough day and be extremely overwhelmed or worried. In her heart, she would see herself kneeling at the feet of Mama Mary, grasping her cloak or dress, looking into her eyes and saying the Memorare, begging for help.
Over the years, I’ve carried this same image in my heart and on days when I’m worried or feel overwhelmed. I, too, am grasping onto my Mama Mary’s cloak, just throwing it all at her and letting my mother take care of the rest as I say or sing the Memorare prayer (that my mother put to music). It’s such a powerful image and one that draws me deep into the heart of our heavenly Mother. Over time, it’s brought a lot of healing and helped to grow my own special relationship with Our Lady.
* Totus Tuus, Mama Mary. I’m totally yours. *
I used to sing in the church choir before we moved to Austin. A friend of mine in the choir knew that my husband and I had been struggling with infertility. After one of our practices, she approached me with a precious little statue of Mary, pregnant, saying she wanted to give it to me. She’d never seen a statue of Mary pregnant, and it struck her, and it made her think of us. What a beautiful sign of hope she gifted me, and that expectant Mother Mary still sits on my nightstand today.
My relationship with Mary started in high school. I went to a Marianist high school where I went on many retreats where Mary was the center. I learned that we could pray through Mary to Jesus. I also learned about Mary as a woman and studied her yes to conceiving the child Jesus, what she must have felt like, and what she must have gone through. I felt closer to her because of studying this, feeling like Mary can closely understand what I go through as a woman. My Abuela (grandma) is a Cuban-American who immigrated to the US and holds a deep devotion to Our Lady of Charity, as she is the patroness of Cuba, known as La Virgen de la Caridad. I have always had Mary present in my life.
My first trip outside the USA was to Nicaragua. I returned there over a dozen times during the next twenty-six years and traveled to other countries in Central America. Pictures of Our Lady of Guadalupe were present in every household I visited and in the clinics where we worked. The devotion to Mary was palpable in each country, and rosaries were constantly being massaged in the hands of our patients. Anthems were sung about La Guadalupana in churches and before meals. Her closeness to the Americas was precious to those who relied on her assistance, intercession, and counsel.
I got to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe on three different occasions, and the site is ethereal. The history, miracles, gardens, chapels, sacredness, and holiness of the site are incredibly moving. Masses are said through the entire day and the bright and vibrant Tilma, with its numerous layers and the power of God that exudes from it, is stunning. Pilgrims ascend the steps to the hill on their knees, one Hail Mary at a time. They pray and celebrate her love for the poorest among us and how she leads us to her Son time after time.
I had a very difficult relationship with my maternal grandmother. She found me to be very disrespectful as a child, and our interactions were always negative. When she corrected me, she would often say things like, “you should pray a rosary or something! Ask Our Lady to help you be nicer.” Our Lady became someone who thought that I was a rotten child as well. It had always tarnished my view of Our Lady.
As I grew in my faith, I remember getting into an argument with one of my acquaintances at Franciscan. “I will never be a servant of Our Lady.” I remember thinking she did not see me as a beloved daughter.
Fast forward to 2011 when my husband was suffering from encephalitis, and I had 4 children under the age of 8. I remember one of my girlfriends prayed with me for Our Lady to “wrap me in her mantle.” As I cried on the phone, I begged, “Please…please help me.” I couldn’t imagine why she would help me, but at that movement, I felt overwhelmed by such a warm, calming sense of Our Lady with me. At a time when I was hurting, she was the one who brought me peace.
There were many times when my peers would pour over their love for Mary, “Mama” Mary, and I simply could not relate. There are many reasons for this, beginning with having brokenness in my relationships with my mother and grandmother at times.
But over time, Mary has planted seeds for me, showing me that, despite the imperfect relationships I have with other maternal figures, hers is one of perfection and absolute love. I share more on these planted seeds from Mary in my story with her here.
I’ve dwelled again and again on how, despite my lack of fervent devotion to Mary in the past, Mother Mary has always been devoted to me. As Catholics, we believe that Mary is the Mediatrix of all grace, that grace ultimately comes from God, but that God allows Mary to distribute all that grace.
So – the countless blessings in my life, the goodness, all of which I’m grateful for – this mother that I am now growing in relationship with is the person who laid it at my feet! This is why Mary amazes me. I’m amazed by her love for me, her devotion, and her tireless efforts to lead me on a path that leads closer towards her Son and His will for my life. I am so grateful to call her mother.
Thank you, Mary, for being a faithful, beautiful mother who never gives up on me.
What does your walk with Mary look like?
My soul magnifies the LordLuke 1: 46 -55
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid;
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;
Because He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His name;
And His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear Him.
He has shown might with His arm,
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of His mercy
Even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his posterity forever.”