Just like everyone else, whenever we have a need, Vickie and I pray. We hold hands, and one of us takes the lead. If it’s me I talk directly to God for both of us, sort of like: “Dear God, our worries about (fill in the blank) are killing us. Please help us to think your thoughts, not our own. Take away our worries, and replace them with your peace. We put this problem on the altar of your love. We know you will take it from us and everything will be okay in your time, not ours. We know your will for us is better than anything we can imagine. Thy will be done. Okay, we’re not going to think about this anymore. Thank you, God.” That works pretty well, even though we may have to repeat it later in the day. Now if Vickie takes the lead, we hold hands and it goes exactly like this:
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
And that works too. Vickie knows from experience: the best way to get to a son is through his mother.
Catholics who feel a bond with Mary know, as Martin Luther did, that when they go to God through Mary, it works. They can’t prove it intellectually. They know it through the spiritual fruits that sprout from their prayer: peace, understanding, gratitude. Jesus put it this way: “You will know them by what they produce. People don’t pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles, do they?” (Matthew 7:16, adapted). Catholics go to God through Mary and receive grapes, figs, apples, pears, and sometimes pizza. It works.
Mary’s presence in the lives of Catholics—and anyone else who goes to God through her—is the presence of a mother. She is the beat of Jesus’ heart. She is a mirror that shows us who and what we are. The mystic Meister Eckhart said it best:
What good is it to me if Mary is full of grace and if I am not also full of grace? What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son if I do not also give birth to him in my time and my culture?…We are all meant to be mothers of God.
Today’s post is excerpted from my book Why Stay Catholic? Unexpected Answers to a Life-Changing Question. Also be sure to read The Average Catholic and Mary (Part One).