July 16, 2016. The feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It just so happened that my parish had a prayer service and adoration dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima that night. I found myself sitting in the pew, just looking up at Christ on the altar. I opened up my journal, which had in it the prayer of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I had been preparing myself for this day for the past 33 days doing the “33 days to Morning Glory” self-retreat. Not knowing what to expect and being frustrated with the struggles and dryness I faced, I started to say the prayer. It became harder to make out the words and tears just flew down my face like Niagara Falls. In that moment it all made sense to me, and with the help of St. Anthony, I found what I was looking for. I found a relationship that I never had with my Heavenly Mother.
On June 13th, 2016, the feast day of St. Anthony, I decided to commit to completing this 33 day retreat. I thought it was pretty significant that I started it on the feast day of this powerful saint, and asked him to guide me through these next 33 days and help me find what I am looking for (because in all honesty, I didn’t even know what that was at the time and he is the man for finding lost things). I would set aside a moment in my day where I would read the days reflections, take a few minutes in silence to think and journal about it, and end it off with a decade of the rosary. The first week, just like in any new commitment that we start, was super solid and fruitful. I enjoyed reading about the saint and learning more about what the heck I got myself into. Week 2 and week 3 come along…and the confusion and frustrations begin to hit. It took more effort to set aside that prayer time, and my moments of silent reflection went from 3-5 minutes to 3-5 seconds. Each day kept pushing me to let go of more things that I was holding onto, and to let Mary take everything and bring it to Christ. From the outside, it seemed like a simple thing to do. The deeper I got into realizing what that actually meant, my guards came right back up. I never had a special relationship with Mary. I struggled to see her as my mother and to let myself be a daughter to her. With that, came my struggle to trust her. Here I struggle with fully trusting God and giving Him everything, and now I am supposed to let go of everything and give it to Mary too? It became a daily tug-of-war between me and Our Beloved Mother, but she was so gentle and patient with me. She let me tug and push, and she kept loving me and reaching out to me with her gentle hand each time.
Right till the last day I struggled and I fought, because I couldn’t understand, and even deeper, I was truly scared to let go. Now we come back to the mass and prayer service on July 16th. I had no idea that there would be a prayer service and adoration to Our Lady of Fatima that night. Sitting there, reading the consecration prayer, I felt Her. I realized what it meant for me to give my life to Mary and what I had to let go. All she wanted me to let go of, was my guard. And all she wanted me to give, was the chance to fully be my mother, to love me as a mother loves her daughter. I sobbed because I realize what I was looking for this whole time, and finally found. A relationship with my Heavenly Mother. I still struggle and fall into temptation and feel like my faith gets put to the test, but since that day when I truly just give it all through Mary and ask her to guide my prayer and intentions, it has made it so much easier. Instead of spending time trying to figure out which intention is most important or who needs prayers the most, I give it all to Mary, because she knows where my prayers are needed most and she also knows what I truly need most. She loves, guides, protects and provides…like a mother does to her children.
Spend a moment with your Heavenly Mother today. All she is asking you, and all she wants, is to be a mother to you and to love you like a daughter and a son.
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