For so long, I had heard and read of the Saints and Holy people I know speak of their closeness to Mary the Mother of God the Son. They spoke of experiencing this closeness to her, and how much she led them to love and serve her Son better. They spoke of turning to her intercession in difficult situations of life and of their desire to be good sons of such a good Mother. The language was that of love, humility, and intimacy. I struggled with this because I did not experience this.
At first, I thought it was because, as a convert to Catholicism, I had been instilled with so much false teachings about the devotion to the saints, especially Mary, that I was finding it hard to overcome this on a psychological level. But having meditated much in the scripture passages involving Our Lady and on the writings of the earliest Christians, who clearly had a great love and devotion to Mary, I knew this could not be the reason. I thought maybe it was because I did not enter enough into the other great Marian devotions of the church, the Scapular, the Consecration to Mary by St Louis De Montfort, or read enough spiritual books on proper Marian devotion.
I went on a retreat for 8 days of silence with the Lord. There I asked our Lord, who while hanging on the Cross , having given His mother to the care of St John the Apostle; and according to the writings of the earliest fathers of the church , He gave her to everyone who is baptized. Since when we were baptized, we are made members of the Body of Christ. Mary truly becomes Our Mother, too. I asked our Lord why I did not experience this closeness that I knew He wants all of us to have with His Mother?
The reply was that I still had wounds from the relationship I had with my earthly mother. That just as some can find that they struggle having a close Relationship with God the Father because they have struggled in their relationship with their earthly Father. I love my mother so much and felt close to her. So, I then asked our Lord how this could be. He showed me in prayer, times when I closed off my heart to my mom because of wounds she most likely never intended to make in my heart. Because of this, I had to allow the Lord to show me these wounds and bring them before His cross with the willingness to forgive my mother (knowing most of these she would not even now remember). I received not only healing in these moments of prayer but a renewed desire to show love to my earthly Mother and my Heavenly Mother.
This was one of the great blessings of my life. Not only because I was able to have healing in my relationship with my mom, but greater mercy toward others who had hurt me even unknowingly in my past. I was also able to open my heart to the relationship with Mary that would lead me so much deeper into my worship of her Son Jesus at Mass, and to the acceptance of my own Sonship as a member of His body and as a Beloved son of God, the Father. This deeply affected everything in my life. The Lord did this all through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother and through responding to the call to have a relationship with our Heavenly Mother, who is here to aid us toward healing and wholeness only found in her Son.
May we all choose to grow closer in devotion to Our Lady this Month of October and see how she helps us to worship God with greater joy and peace. All praise be to His Name!
Your brother and father in Christ Jesus,
Fr. Scott Woods