“Are you kidding me? You’re telling me when we put the Flavor-ice popsicles in the freezer THAT is condensation? You put them in the FREEZER to FREEZE them!! This is ridiculous!! I am not going to help you if you aren’t even going to try!” — Me, to my 8 year old son
Suffice it to say, the brilliant and patient science teachers of the world need not fear I am coming for their jobs any time soon. Further, my general homework/studying philosophy to date has gone something like this, “I already passed the 7th grade, now it’s your turn.”
Have I helped renovate a science fair board, or given myriad spelling pretests, or assisted in researching the culture and political situation in Azerbaijan? Heck yeah. Have I edited essays and worn a path to our local CVS on endless supply runs? Absolutely.
Here’s the thing. On rodeo #3, I seem to have fallen off the horse. This is a horse of another color, you might say. We have only just begun, and I am frustrated, and I am worried.
Here’s my inner dialogue. A good mom would know what to do. A loving parent would have patient and loving answers and interactions. A God-filled mother would know how to close the gap caused by frustration and insecurity and would persevere confidently in the direction of success with her child.
Me? I yelled. I lost my patience. I wanted to do something else, anything else. I shared this with a friend this week, and then confessed I prayed, asking Mary for assistance. My non-Catholic friend said, “Mary?” I said, “Yes, Mary, The mother Jesus?”
“Ahh….THAT Mary! You Catholic girls. I don’t get the Mary thing. When I need a filling, I don’t dial up my Dentist’s mom, Shelly. Can you talk to me about what the story is with Mary?”
I wanted my friend’s consolation. Affirmation was the goal, then I wanted to head to Marsh for decongestant. Apologetics was not on my mind. I instantly recalled a great comment made by a friend several years ago at a CRHP meeting and I flippantly replied, “If Jesus is Batman, then Mary has the Bat phone.”
“Shelly. Why not just pray to Jesus to help you be the mom you want to be? That I would get.”
Then, we proceeded to have this surprising interaction. I asked her why it is that she asks me to pray for her, for her parents, and for others in her life who are struggling. We talked about how lots of people ask others to pray for them. Why do we do that? Why not just talk to Jesus?
I think there are a couple of reasons. First of all, we don’t live on an island. We need our friends. Others have compassion that we need to help us through this life, they stand in the gap for us—they intercede. Our friends, family members– all can be helps in our relationship with Jesus.
Second of all, and this is a new revelation to me. My Lutheran friend said to me “Well, I don’t pray to dead people.”
Here’s where the conversation ended for today, but I have been thinking about it ever since.
I should have said, “People in heaven are alive. This is what I believe.” It’s a fundamental belief that I mistakenly took for granted entering into the chat.
I think of Mary as the original prayer warrior. She doesn’t say much in the bible, but she does tell us that her role forever to the end of the ages is to magnify Jesus.
Let’s keep in mind here that like most good cradle Catholics I have encountered, I know virtually zero about scripture. BUT…..I am familiar with the Magnificat.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness, behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty one has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones, but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever. (Luke 1:46-55)
So, reading this, which is just lovely and beautiful playing in my head as a song, it seems self-evident to me that praying for her intercession isn’t worship and it cannot take focus away from the one who saved us—her son! In eternity, her sole job in my simple mind is to lead us to Him.
Does it diminish our relationship with Jesus to have devotion to Mary or enjoy Marian prayers? If it’s useful for our friends on earth to pray for us, then isn’t it possible those in heaven are even more equipped? I mean, who do you ask to pray for you when you REALLY need prayer? The holiest people you know, right?? Devotion to Mary doesn’t deify Mary…..it simply indicates incredible respect.
Writing this post about Mary was my way of making amends to her son, who I love, for the flippant initial response when I encountered the opportunity to chat with my friend about the queen of heaven.
We do not slight the son when we honor the mother. –St. Louis de Montfort
I feel like its possible God wasn’t really all that interested in consoling me about my poor behavior or soothing my bruised little feelings. I concede it’s more than probable that all of this was God’s way of pointing me to the greatest example of motherhood that exists.
Lucky for me, the greatest mother ever always takes calls from her children outside normal business hours.
Hail Mary, full of grace…..