IMG_2144When I was growing up, we had a plaque hanging somewhere in the house that read: “The greatest gift a father can give his children, is to love their mother.”  In many ways, I believe this is similarly true for priests and bishops with regards to our love for Mary.  One of the greatest gifts we can give the people entrusted to our pastoral care is to love our Blessed Mother. 

When I was a seminarian in Rome, I had the opportunity to meet Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta.  One morning, I attend Mass with her community, and then had a brief visit with her afterwards.  One of her parting comments to me, which she inscribed in my breviary was this: “Be only and all for Jesus, through Mary.”  Mother Theresa in that short instruction opened up a greater understanding for me of the role of Mary in the life of anyone who approaches her in prayer and in good faith.

Mary seeks to lead us all to her Son, Jesus, and in the process, helps us to live our life more and more for Jesus.  The more we can grow in our devotion to our Blessed Mother, the closer she will draw us to her Son.  Over the years, I have certainly grown in this devotion.  I will let history judge how well I have done in drawing nearer to Christ.  For any success in that, which is the goal of every Christian, I can give most of the credit to our Blessed Mother, and of course, to the grace of God.

I encourage you to pray to our Blessed Mother.  Speak to her as you would to a best friend or your own mother about your needs, especially your need for a closer life with Christ her Son.  As the Memorare says:  “never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided…”  Try to pray a rosary every day, even if a decade is all you can pray, and as best you can, leave the intention of the rosary to the Blessed Mother, and to God our Father, but certainly feel free to ask for whatever your own particular needs may be as well.

A similar theology of the intimate relationship between Mary and Jesus is contained in the Morning Offering:  “O Jesus, through the Immaculate heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day…”  This prayer became such a part of my own life growing up, that even now, it is the first prayer of my day.  Often, in that subconscious waking process, I find this prayer already being offered before I am even consciously aware, before my feet hit the floor, as if the Holy Spirit were praying in and for me.  Surely this is our goal, to be with Christ, in every moment of every day, consciously and subconciously, living more and more, only and all for Him. 

Mary, Queen of Peace, Pray for us!