Sometimes in the Protestant perspective, a Catholic’s love of Mary gets turned into an idolatry, or worship. It’s actually a deep reverence and appreciation for who she is, that leads us to ask her to pray for us! Without Mary, we would not have Jesus, and she was with Him for most of His ministry, and a supportive presence from what we read in the scriptures. The famous Rosary is really just an old Biblical Prayer, used as an excuse to remember all the important steps in Jesus’ short but powerful life. She accompanies her Son on most of His earthly tour, seeing His miracles, and feeling His pain at being rejected, all the way through until His death, and beyond!
I find that everyone I speak to lately has some incredible burdens to bear. There are hardships all around us, and what can we do except pray? I really feel small and helpless sometimes, not only confronting my own struggles, but all the good people I know. How can we deal with such hard stuff, and not be angry or bitter in the process? How can we not become cold hardened people!?
I think looking at Mary is a great place to start.We know she is in heaven, so close to the Lord, ready to share our stuggles, ready to bring the prayers of our hearts before the throne of God! I have a story for you: My dear Mom-in-Law, Rebecca, told me of her encounter with this Icon, Our Lady of Vladimir. Here is a bit of history about one of the oldest icons:
“In medieval Russia this type of iconography was called «Umilenie – Tender Affection», which corresponds more closely to the imagery: the Child’s cheek is tenderly pressed up against Our Lady’s face; he embraces her with his left hand, and Our Lady holds the Child with her right hand, leaning her head towards him. A characteristic feature of this iconography is that the left foot of the Child is bent in such a way that His heel is seen. The icon is drawn on two sides. On the obverse there is a depiction of the «Throne of the Second Coming (Еtimasia)». The painting on the obverse evokes controversy to this day: some date it to the 15th century, others to the 19th century.”
One day when she was praying, and looking at the Icon, Rebecca heard Mother Mary say to her, “Here, you take the baby.” And she knew then that the position Mary was holding the infant Jesus in was one to hand off the baby! Totally makes sense to me! Mary’s whole purpose in life was to get the Baby out there. Remember the Wedding Feast at Cana? The first miracle happened because Mary told Jesus to pull himself together and HELP! So, before Mary hands you the baby, she kisses Him! The child Jesus is her one gift to the world….and what an incredible gift!
I am so blessed to be a mother, and even though it is often quite a struggle to accomplish everything, all the things I should do….The cooking, cleaning, organizing, nurturing, I know it can be done…..eventually! Maybe you are feeling tired today too, and you need to hear a kind voice offer reassurance, that what you are doing is beautiful, and caring for and loving the little people around you (big or small) is an act of hope. Just being there for them, smiling at them, interacting with them, it is a good work. I feel God putting the graces, and the people I need to make it through the hard moments. Even if you feel alone, you are surrounded by the many angels and saints!
I hope you are feeling supported in your efforts these days, and I am praying that you are able to reach out, and take the gift! “Here, You take the Baby!”