Monday, March 1, 2010

Ave Maria

So, on this Lenten journey I am taking, I thought it would be appropriate to really "re-sculpt" my character. Now, I've tried this a lot, and posted about it, and have always fallen short. For a while, I've just "gone with the flow" of who I am and how I act, but upon going home this weekend, I discovered a simple necklace that seem to have changed my mindset completely.

Mary, as in the Mother of Jesus, has always been a controversial subject with me...coming from a protestant perspective and all. My mom, as she knows I have been studying my Catholic faith for some time now, has been leaving me Catholic jewelry, rosaries, books, etc in my room for me when I come back to visit. This time, I found a little prayer card with a little ovular necklace taped to the back. The medal had Mary on it and the text around her read "O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. 1830".

I didn't realize it was a miraculous medal at the time, but I felt a strong urge to start wearing this necklace, and thus I immediately put it on. For a split second I wondered "Should I?...What if this is not what God wants? Is this an idol?" But literally, one moment later, my worries vanished and I felt very at peace wearing it. I even felt a stronger sense of her presence when I was asking for was just weird to me, but I liked having this medal around my neck. I have been asking God for guidance over a certain area of my life that I am utterly confused about, but after asking for Mary's intercession, my mind immediately calmed. I was dumbfounded, I have been going absolutely insane for weeks over this matter and in one simple prayer, no different from the others, I get exactly what I needed. Clarity and peace.

I put the necklace back on today at school and I have been feeling more of a pull to say my rosary, read the bible, have compassion on those who hurt me (and believe you me, that's not a natural instinct from this stubborn sister!!), practice not talking so much and just keeping things between God and myself (another not so "me" character), and to learn more about the complexities of the faith. I looked down at this little medal and did a google search, where I found that this was a miraculous medal. (What are medals with other saints called?) I read the story Saint Catherine Laboure and her visions that eventually lead to the creation of this medal. This story of Marian visions reminded me of the story at Fatima, which I then searched as well. I am coming to see there is more to Mary than I have understood thus far. I definitely have a lot to learn from her, her life, and her Son and it's high time I put my protestant anxieties behind me and let God work His plans out for me. I'm excited that this stage is beginning, as I always wondered if I could ever make the hurdle past Mary...who was she to me anyway? But now, I can almost taste the spiritual fruit I will reap by building this relationship with her.

Maybe this mysterious pull to her is God's way of telling me He thinks it is time to introduce me to His mother ;)

Pray for me! And may God bless you all on your journies,


Carmela James said...

Other medals with saints are called holy medals. I am so happy that you have discovered the Miraculous Medal. (I just now found your blog, but still, I am so happy for you!) The Miraculous Medal is an extra-special holy medal, and Mother Mary has promised many blessings to those who wear it diligently. I attached one to my scapular since I normally wear a holy medal of Our Lady of La Vang.

~Joseph the Worker said...

Wonderful! My wife has a special devotion to the Miraculous Medal as well. Our Lady will always pull us closer to Christ the Lord.

caraboska said...

Sorry to be a troll, but just because it 'works', gives us peace of mind or whatever else it is we want, doesn't mean it's true. I think you are treading on very dangerous ground here. I am not even talking about the medal ultimately, however. I am talking about worshiping peace of mind. Been there done that, that's how I know it's an issue. I am grateful that God has preserved me from having peace of mind in circumstances that I would not have been sure were right in His sight.

R.A.~ said...

Thanks Carmela James, I'm glad you've found my blog :) I've been interested in the scapular for some time now too, I should definitely look into it more now.

She really does Joseph, I am glad I am finally coming around. I've been missing out.

Caraboska, you are no troll haha ;) How is worshipping God sinful or in the category of dangerous? I never said I am praying to Mary or's part of meditation. In the rosary for instance, when you meditate on Mary's emotions as she is witnessing her Son's draw into gravity of the situation and I cannot even explain how deep my repentance, joy, and hope is.

When I ask for intercessory prayers from Mary or any saint, it's like you and me joining together in prayer. Communal prayer is so special and truly empowering. I know that you are weary of this, as I was too because many people have it WRONG and they end up sinning by default. I know Catholics who are uneducated and would be like "Mary help me get an A on my exam!" NO! not how it goes haha That's sin and yes that is dangerous.

The saints, when one has the knowledge and understanding of their real place in the LIVING BODY OF CHRIST, only draw us closer to God. They do not become mini idols, it's like...they're arrows drawn on the straight and narrow that lead us to God. By knowing their experiences and devotion, we are strengthened and directed to Yeshua. We're all family by Christ's blood and they're not there to make us fall, but encourage us to get to God & His kingdom!

sorry that was so long, blessings to all!

R.A.~ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
caraboska said...

My problem is that we are supposed to have only one mediator and advocate, and that is Jesus. We're supposed to pray to God in Jesus' name. We are also not supposed to be communicating with people who are on The Other Side. This smacks of occultism, which in all its various forms (including contact with the dead) is a capital offense in the Old Testament, so while I don't believe capital punishment is for today (because Someone Else already died for our sins, so that it is exclusively God's right to end our lives, not that of any other human being), I fail to see how it somehow isn't sinful anymore.

Carmela James said...

Caraboska, I must respectfully disagree. (I'm assuming that you know the difference between dulia, hyperdulia, and latria.) Catholics believe that Jesus gave Mother Mary to us as our Mother when He was on the Cross. "For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace." (CCC 968) And this gives her a special place in the celestial hierarchy above even the angels.

When Jesus appeared to St. Bridget, He also told her specifically to pray to His Mother. Mother Mary has appeared many times herself and told us to pray to her. Mother Mary's death, like her life, was very special. Why would Jesus have crowned her Queen of Heaven and assumed her body into heaven if she didn't deserve special attention?

Concerning contact with people on the Other Side--I've never heard that rule before. "It is not merely by the title of example that we cherish the memory of those in heaven; we seek, rather, that by this devotion to the exercise of fraternal charity the union of the whole Church in the Spirit may be strengthened." (CCC 957)And Jesus is there too, isn't He? Prayer is vastly different from...say, summoning up someone's dead grandmother with a pentagram. The dead talk to us and intercede for us--just take a look at almost anyone's canonization process. Why would God let them talk to us if we can't talk back?

caraboska said...

The Old Testament forbids the seeking of contact with people from the other side. It is viewed as an occult practice and is therefore a capital offense (Deuteronomy 18:10-11, Exodus 22:18). I fail to see how Jesus or Mary or any other godly person would ask us to disobey Scripture.

I am at least vaguely familiar with the difference between 'veneration' and 'worship'. I don't believe we are allowed to give either to anyone but God. We are talking about Scriptures that tell us we must not permit anyone to give us such titles as Teacher, or Master, or Father. The point being that we have only one of those, and it is God/Jesus Christ. And I believe that includes our own parents, much less anyone else. So that a real saint would turn over in his/her grave if we were to start doing this kind of thing.

May the Lord preserve us all from error and lead us to give all honor to God alone.

~Joseph the Worker said...

Of course, ignoring scripture that tells us to pray for the dead and ask for their intercession, as well as showing how they bring our prayers to God must be part of your repertoire as well.

As for the Father thing, I guess you ignore those scriptures that describe a relationship as spiritual son/father that St. Paul and St. Peter write about in the New Testament as well? Where do you end it? Do you refer to school teachers as teachers? What made you decide to draw the line there? Arbitrary?

Maggie said...

I'm so glad you've discovered our awesome Mama!! She's so great. I started praying the Rosary before I was even Catholic, and wow, let me tell you- it's been fabulous!

My protestant friends were understandably a little freaked out (and many raised the same objections caraboska raised in this comment thread). I won't retread the same territory, because Carmela and Joseph have got it pretty well covered. But another analogy is this:

Mary is a creature. A full human, like us. Certainly not divine. But moms have a special relationship with their kids; a relationship that even their kids' best friends can't duplicate. Mary was Jesus' mom. She knew him better than anyone else on earth. And since Mary was created by God, she's his beloved daughter (just like you and I are! Wow!)

If you went to an art gallery where the artist was showing his paintings, would you ignore the art? If you admired the craftsmanship, saw the great work, and complimented the beauty, would the artist get mad? Would he say, "Um, excuse me... I'M the artist over here. Some love, please? eh?"
Of course not. Artists love it when their work is appreciated. Same with God. He made Mary. If we ask for her help and prayers the way we ask our fellow Christian for prayers, God isn't offended.

Ave Maria, indeed!