Wednesday, May 06, 2009
When I was younger, I had difficulty relating to Mary in an intimate way. I went through all the motions of rosary, novenas and holy cards ,just like many have because I thought I should, being a Catholic. But although I believed in her, I did not connect with her.
It all changed when I received my Brown Scapular in a Carmelite Monastery. It was a great grace I received. The many years of my own efforts to know her was done for me in a few days of a public novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It was a turning point in my life and it led me to joining the Carmelites. I nourish my devotion to Mary by contemplating her life events as illustrated in the Rosary. The Rosary is the sum total of Our Lady's life. If we meditate on the holy rosary, not just reciting it, but really praying the Rosary, we will find how it will yield much fruit. We don't even have to do all 5 decades if we find it's too much at one time. We can concentrate on few decades and see Mary in the mysteries: In the Annunciation: what is she thinking? what is she doing? imagine her feelings and emotions? The Sorrowful Mysteries- imagine and feel her pains, her sorrows, her fears, because of what was happening to Jesus. In this way she comes alive. Reading books on Our Lady was not much help to me during this period of my life because I was reading life experiences of other people. I cannot relate to a flowery and overly pious books on Mary. St. Therese of Lisieux used to be so disappointed with the homilies about Mary in her days. She complained that homilies were based on Mary's imagined life, not her real life. I would like to add that even when we have tried everything well, we should not give up just because we can't experience feelings of intimacy with her. Feeling is not everything. It is the believing. I worked hard to be close to Mary but I labored in vain. And then She came to me , she changed everything with not much effort on my part. She knows we love her. Just like a good mother, she has a bond with us that cannot be broken even if we don't feel it.