Our Lady of the Rosary

Shannon’s & I at the Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine in Emmitsburg Maryland September 2020

Do you ever feel so dang gone lost or overwhelmed or buried that you don’t know where to start? Do you ever feel like the path forward is really hidden? Do you ever feel those anxious thoughts that make your throat tight or your breath constructed or your whole body just tired – even when you know you can get through this just like all the other times this happened… Is it just hard? Of course you have …. you are human! But it doesn’t mean these moments of struggle or thoughts of weakness or fears for the future are made easier or more comforted because it is normal, so having some tools to get through them are so important. 2020 has brought these moments more frequent than other years and and I can admit gotten the best of me as times….. my solution? Our Lady of the Rosary.

As I shared earlier this fall, watching the move Fátima caused a great spiritual awakening for me. It was time to turn to my faith like I have never before and to remember the power it posses for my mental state, physical strength and ability to hope. This has resulted in some changes for me personally and for our family and one of them being the return of the daily Rosary.

Over this last year there have been so many uncertainties , disappointments and fears my mom has been such a source of comfort. So many of my decisions for both Shannon and I centered around what my mom was doing. She lived with me for a full month waiting for Shannon and then was my plus one at the hospital, and the one who took care of me postpartum. For the months leading up to that time, when we were still allowed at Hopkins, she  spent a lot of time just being there with me. In fact often she was just down in the different lobby areas waiting and working just in case I needed her….. and I felt better knowing she was there. This year has also taught me the power of motherhood even just in the learning the cries of your child or to be the one that picks them up and hugs them in the dark. It is true there are times when there is nobody more important in your world than your mom. By diving back into the Rosary more regularly I am reminded that Mary is our mother. And in a time when I feel the need for comfort, not knowing what the future holds and not feeling like myself every day…. I can come to her and just be guided, cared for and hugged in the dark. The source of comfort from Our Lady of the Rosary has been powerful.

Visiting Saint Theresa’s different areas before becoming a mom March 2020

As I have continued with my practicing, not only have I remembered the value found in the words or having a repetitive activity to calm your mind and quiet your heart…. I have also studied the Rosary mysteries, the power each one contains and the things that we are praying for when we come to Our Lady of the Rosary. And the one that’s probably struck me the most is that not only are we running to Our Lady for her protection and guidance but we are also finding our way to her son through her! We know from many stories in the Bible Jesus listen to his mother, He revered his mother’s words so obediently that we can forget he is the Lord, as he seems to often be a regular human just trying to follow their mom’s guidance. To know we can find a way to connect with our Lord through his mom is pretty incredible honor. So in a season when I’m especially looking for direction with my heart, it’s incredible to envision that I’m working through the heart of our mother to connect to the heart of Jesus.

So what really brought me back to this practice with a desire to better understand the Rosary and truly use it as a tool to navigate this season of life? It surely could not just be a movie…. but really that was just the start and I think the thing that really spoke to me in the film was the way the children saw Mary. It wasn’t just about the power of the vision and it wasn’t only the fear of not praying enough…. in fact there was this sense that the kids already knew the power of the Rosary! From their upbringing or their culture something already told them the power they possess by praying to Our Lady of the Rosary….. and in a weird way it was almost like they expected this kind of answer to prayer. I’ve been Catholic my whole life and there are certainly moments in my faith journey and experiences that remind me of the power of our beautiful religion, but I still think I’d be pretty shocked if Mary appeared to me. Mary‘s visit to them was not to prove the strength of the prayers or demand that they do it better, but instead to implore them to help the rest of the world remember how much love she has for us and how much that love comes straight through those prayers to our hearts. As the children see her more and more frequently there’s certain things they do to just show the immense respect they have for Mary and for the gift of our faith. The come to her on their knees, they ignore the world’s attempt to tell them they are wrong or turn away…. these little children know the love of Mary and the power of their faith will see them through…. even when none of it makes sense. THAT is what spoke to my heart… I need childlike faith in my life and now.

Mom and I waiting on Miss Shannon – we were laughing at “who wore it best” March 2020

And there is one final part of the Rosary that is giving me such comfort and strength … it’s in my blood. My Ganmommy prefers to only buy clothes with pockets, so she can carry her Rosary. She has plastic Rosaries in every color imaginable and is known to match them to her outfit. My Ganmommy has been through a lot of life that did not make sense… that challenged her…. that required blind trust or a strength that seems unimaginable between losing siblings, marrying against her parents ideas, and having 7 kids…. and the Rosary was her prayer of choice. Then while growing up we would pray the Rosary as a family…. in fact on car rides using this one tape recording that my brothers and I hated it cause they sang between decades and it seemed to take SO MUCH LONGER. The Rosary has been a part of my family’s faith journey for generations…. Mary Our Mother has brought us this far…. she will keep watching over us.

So if you are looking for a little comfort… a lot of peace… and some extra fortitude in this season of life or for the starte of another year, I encourage you to join me in turning to Our Lady of the Rosary.

Mom, Shannon and I in post-Delivery Quarantine March 2020

Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!
Jackie


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