By: Maria Nowak
Sometimes when I pray, I don’t have the words. I don’t even know what I’m asking for, but I know that I need help. And I’m not sure who I’m praying to: God? Jesus? The Blessed Mother? All of the above? Should I pick one, or do they all hear me? Shouldn’t I have some sort of relationship with the Blessed Mother? She was a mom, I’m a mom…
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I am a cradle Catholic, but the further into motherhood I get, the more I feel the void of missing pieces. So when Andrea asked me to join her on a Marian Consecration, I felt a spark of hope. I had heard the book, 33 Days to Morning Glory, was good and wanted some direction in my faith, especially from another mother in a similar stage of life.
The book walks you through the process of Marian Consecration, or total consecration to Jesus through Mary. This is accomplished through a series of daily readings, prayers, and reflections. The super simple explanation of this process is that it is the giving yourself as a gift to the Blessed Mother in order to draw closer to Jesus.
This journey has changed my entire life.
In preparation for Consecration, I learned that we are created from God’s love and have been put on this earth with the freedom to find our way back to Him. I’ve never had anyone tell it to me so straightforward like that. It’s given me a whole new outlook on life. God loves us so much that instead of forcing our love in return, he has given us the opportunity to experience Him in our own unique way and choose to love Him by using our gifts to glorify Him.
Isn’t that all that we can hope for our kids too? We help build their foundation and hope that they remember those values as the live lives of their own. In my ripe 29 years, I’m understanding even more why we call God our “Father.” We will always find guidance and love from Him in the same way we turn to our biological parents- we never stop growing and learning.
It didn’t take long into my preparation for Consecration to realize why I felt so lost. Mary wasn’t a mother, she IS a mother.
“When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”-John 19:26-27
Jesus granted Mary us all to be her children, and her relationship with each of us is as unique as we are. All this time that I’ve spent reading books or listening to podcasts searching for spiritual guidance, she has been with me all along.
Is there anything like affection in the way a mother can comfort her child? Like when our babies can’t sleep, are hurt, sad, or just need your arms… I’m writing with my 7 month old asleep on my chest and I don’t feel worthy to look at a picture of the Blessed Mother holding her Son, let alone write about it. I’m trying to imagine her strength, love and selflessness, and faith in our Savior… and I just can’t fathom what it must have been like to be His mother, and to be the spiritual Mother over all of our wandering souls. To be walking with us when we don’t even realize it, never leaving our side, always finding a way to bring us back to Him. She is always with me… she is always with me…. What a wonder to rejoice in!! We always want our moms, and I live across the state from mine. In every corner of the country that I’ve lived, I’m so comforted to know that the Blessed Mother has actually never left my side. I feel her like the embrace of a hug, and I couldn’t be more thankful.
In the book 33 Days to Morning Glory, we learn some keywords to describe the gifts of the Blessed Mother like “thirst,” “heart,” and “mercy.” These words summarize the relationship she wants with us, but have also helped guide me in the mothering of my own children.
“When we let Mary into our lives, when we entrust ourselves to her care, she intercedes for us, consoles us, and gives us courage and strength to unite ourselves more fully to Jesus’ own consecration of himself for the life of the world” (page 118).
What better role model for motherhood than the Immaculata? Everything that I’ve learned about her points to one word: love. My role as a mom is exactly that- to love my children. As long as I’m modeling that, everything else will fall into place. Mary was a woman- just like me. I wonder what she struggled with while raising the only Son of God. She faithfully answered her calling and now she is waiting to be called upon by those of us wondering how best to love. I didn’t think it was as simple as just having to ask. Now that I’ve opened my heart to the Blessed Mother, I feel her open her heart to me; and that is joyous feeling.
Looking back on where life has taken me so far, I see where Our Lady has guided me at a crossroads, and there have been so many. When I question my purpose, I’m not scared anymore. I see that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t of earthly measure, but of eternal salvation. I’m a horrible decision maker- I just never want to make the wrong one. But now I realize that I won’t because Mary is watching over me. Just because our paths change course doesn’t mean that the journey is worthless- the journey is exactly what it’s about. I fully believe that everything I have done in life has meaning not just for that particular moment, but in preparation for the next step to take. When my journey takes a sudden turn, I will no longer retreat. I will actually feel more fulfilled to move forward. I am not alone, and I never have been. The goal will always be to find my way back to God, and the steps to get will never be the wrong decision, because Our Lady is guiding my path.
If you feel like something is missing, I highly recommend reading the book “33 Days to Morning Glory.” It has pretty much changed my outlook on my entire life.