Growing up, I was never Marian. My mother was and my grandmother, even more so.
In high school, I was surrounded by the Protestant mindset, and therefore, lost a fair chunk of my Catholic doctrine. It wasn’t until I went to college that Mary really became available to me.
Meeting Mary through the Missionaries
Attending Ave Maria University would be the appropriate place to find an appreciation for the Blessed Mother. From Rosary walks to the Angelus, I was given more than enough opportunities to know my Heavenly mother during my undergraduate studies. Yet, I still didn’t give her much thought.
During my junior year, I traveled to Kolkata, India on mission through the Mother Teresa Project at AMU. I never felt more inclined to know the Blessed Mother than when I went to India. Serving, praying, and living among the Missionaries of Charity was one of the most life-changing experiences I’d had in my life. I made it two decades on this earth without truly living.
The sisters pray various times a day and the prayers evoke both Christ and Mary. Soon after the mission, I took two classes specifically on Mary and consecrated myself to her for the first time.
While in Kolkata, I needed a guiding force to find consultation for the suffering Christ. I needed a mother. And I needed to be a mother to so many. The everlasting thirst of motherhood became real for me. I could see the true pain and suffering in others that didn’t make me sit in somber and sulk. In fact, I felt the Spirit guide me to do the exact opposite! It threw me into action.
In Action with Mary
Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah. -Luke 1:39
During the visitation to her cousin Elizabeth, Mary went in haste. There was no, “Let’s just sit, relax, and enjoy this moment.” Like Mary, I saw the value in bringing the Good News to all who were in my midst.
There was the child who couldn’t walk or even crawl to the lunch table because their limbs were so severely deformed. I would run in haste, being called by the child’s fear of being left behind. Looking back, I realized that I was the vessel of Christ. Comforting the afflicted.
There was the woman who wailed in pain. She had only an aspirin to ease her. She was in a crib with a broken leg propped up (on a contraption only a Missionary of Charity sister could possibly have made). I would run in haste to her side with a cup of water, falling to my knees to be able to look into her eyes and reassure her that it was going to be okay. Comforting the sorrowful.
Serving Like Our Lady
I have countless memories like this that flash through my mind in adoration, Mass, or meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary. I have found the root of service for the Kingdom is found in each corporal and spiritual work of mercy. And for women, it is to emulate the Blessed Mother by being a mother to whole world. But Pope St. John Paul the Great makes a better case for us.
In the light of Mary, the Church sees in the face of women the reflection of a beauty which mirrors the loftiest sentiments of which the human heart is capable: the self-offering totality of love; the strength that is capable of bearing the greatest sorrows; limitless fidelity and tireless devotion to work; the ability to combine penetrating intuition with words of support and encouragement.
In my meditations on the Blessed Mother and praying for the souls I met in Kolkata nearly three years ago, I have found fascinating correlations.
How Mary Calls Us to Christ
Firstly, the aspect of haste. We are told in this post-modern world to go, go, go! But why are we going to fast and where are we going? There is no true progress if we don’t understand the path of the goal. Our goal as Christians is Heaven. Therefore, to be in a place where all is holy, we must make sure our actions are haste but holy, or at least with that intention.
Secondly, I noticed the true essence of the Blessed Mother wanting us to stay focused on that goal. So, what are the two most important times in our life? Mary, giving us the Rosary, has shown us. “Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.” That line is intrinsic! And how many of us just zip through it to finished the bead, decade, or even the whole thing?
Haste. Now. Death.
These three words associate our journey to heaven with the Blessed Mother. We must go in haste to others, bringing food, good word, encouragement, or thanksgiving. The Spirit guides us where to go in haste, bringing Christ with us, just as Mary did with Elizabeth.
Set Out with Mary
We do not know the day nor the hour that our time or others will come. The hour that you get sick, get a promotion, or leave this world. Our deepest prayers can be encapsulated in the simplicity of the “Hail Mary”.
But remember, her response to us will always be: “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5).
May we learn from the obedience, grace, and humility of our Blessed Mother. Ask her, the first Christian, to intercede for you all the days of your life, guiding you to the Light that dwells within her.
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Katie Trudeau graduated from Ave Maria University. She works in political campaigns around the country, but has her hopes of being a Presidential speechwriter one day. She is a proud member of the co-worker branch for the Missionaries of Charity. You can always catch her flying somewhere or at the nearest Chick-fil-a. Her go-to books of the Bible are Job and Proverbs.