My love affair with the blessed Mother (and the Church)..

As far back as I can recall, I have always loved the Virgin Mary……..There aint no way around it, it’s just a fact I’ve come to realize over the past few years, and when I say always, I mean always. When I was a little boy, my favorite person in our nativity scene was..Yep, you guessed it, the Blessed Mother. I didn’t know much about her at the time, save for the fact that she gave birth to Jesus, but in a Methodist household, that’s pretty much all her part in the bible was. We certainly didn’t ask for her intercession, or pray the rosary. In fact, the “C word” was very rarely ever spoken in my family. I can still to this day recall my Grandmother saying: “He’s such a nice man, so well mannered, but…(look around for effect and whisper  loudly) he’s Catholic!” She also told me once that her Father had been a member of the Orange Order, but at that point, she had started hiding money in pots and pans, and taken to having long conversations with my Grandfather (10 years gone from this mortal coil), so none of us put much stock in that claim.

Nevertheless, I loved the Blessed Mother. as time went by, and I got older, I found myself drawn to pictures of her, and I taught myself (at this point a new-age type wannabe wiccan almost) the Rosary, for no apparent reason other than to know it. I said it all the time, not as much as I do today, but I said it at least once a week, which is pretty good for a 24-year-old punk rocker!

I also found myself with a deep respect for Nuns too. I can recall berating some guys one time for goofing on Nuns outside a store in Columbia, South Carolina, admonishing them for having no respect for such holy people….This coming from a guy who three days earlier gave Ronald Reagan the finger -to his face- as his limo passed by. I know, I know, in retrospect it was a bad idea, but what the heck?!? Here I am, a self-proclaimed anarchist, doing his best to destroy the government (that never really panned out as anything more than drinking and some occasional spray painting of some ideals that belonged to someone else), haranguing my peers for offending a group of Poor Clares with lewd gestures! How wonderful! What a gift I had been given, and yet, I refused it!

So down the road I went, meeting flaky girlfriends with weird ideas about the energy of Crystals who liked to dance naked under the light of the October  moon and talk to ancient Celtic warrior goddesses. I appreciated their whimsy, their ideas that flitted around in the ether like so many faeries, and i kept my rosary to myself, and passed my love off as a strange fascination…… Oh, I only wish I had seen it back then!! All the signs I mean. I entered the church at Easter of 2001 and for the better part of 20+ years, The Lord had been trying to show me what path to take, and I had ignored all the signs!  So here I am now, and as the pieces all start to fit, and the tumblers fall into place, I find myself amazed and confounded.

I think back to one warm summer evening, when I was out to eat dinner with my girlfriend at the time, and her best friend. As we waited for our food, we talked, drank coffee and watched the people around us. At the next table over was a family; Husband, wife, two small children. Before they began to eat, they joined hands and prayed reverently. I can recall my girlfriend saying something crass about them, and I defended them by saying it was their right to worship God in the way they saw fit, and that no-one gave her any grief for the way she worshiped, and she should in kind, do the same. She looked at me with this blank star on her face and said “Who?”

I can recall thinking “This is just not right Steve, these people are wrong”, and I think it was that precise moment when I realized I wanted something else. It still took a few years to get  an obvious place where it became crystal clear, but that was the start of it all.

How is it that I could miss so many signs? Not feel the gentle nudges? Moreover, what am I missing today? Right now?! It takes more effort now, and I try to follow that great quote from St.Francis “Pray the Gospel always, and when necessary, use words”. So I pray with my heart more, and listen to the silence, but still I wonder what I could be missing.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee.

Blessed are thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners now,

and in the hour of our death.

Amen

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~ by keystone28 on 05/12/2010.

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