Imagine that you are a mother of five great kids, ranging in age from 13 to 23.
You have been a consistent mother to them, loving them through the difficulties of growing up, while setting clear boundaries. You have built into them individually and collectively.
After all of the sleepless days and endless daytime activity, you can honestly say that you love each one more than you could have ever thought possible.
As you think about your kids, you smile, amazed at their individuality and phenomenal gifts. You are proud to be their mother and continually speak words of encouragement and support into their lives.
Then, slowly, imperceptibly, your middle child starts listening to some new voices in his world. Those voices weave a web of new thoughts around your son. The ideas are new, heady and intoxicating. Your son begins to believe the subtle lies they are saying.
Over time, he begins to become angry with you. Your son begins to tear you down, slowly at first, but then more and more blatantly. He gets to the point where he cannot stand you and every time he is near you he only has foul things to say about you.
Your beloved son eventually gets to the place where he easily condemns you as his mother and he says he hates you. Oh, he also keyed your car and tore up every picture he had of you.
Take a moment. Can you imagine the pain and hurt? How would you react?
Well, if you are like me, you would pull inward and just cry, tending to the open wound caused by your wayward child’s rebellion while constantly praying for him.
Motherhood can be a lonely, lonely place.
Now imagine how it would feel if your other four children sat you down on your couch and told you, “Mom, we know how much you love all of us. We can see how much pain and suffering our brother is causing you. Mom, he’s just in a bad spot. We know he is being influenced by others. You’ve always taught us the power of prayer. Let’s pray for him.”
And together, your four other children kneel down with you and pray for your wayward child. (That image alone has me all weepy.)
Then, over the course of the next days and weeks, those four children work to make up for the hurt caused by their brother. They make you special meals. They write you notes. Your 16-year old, the artist, draws you beautiful pictures full of flowers.
They also continue to pray and sacrifice for their rebellious brother, asking God to lead him back.
Now, their actions would not alleviate the pain altogether, but it would relieve some of it, don’t you think?
You and I have the same opportunity right now. We can relieve the suffering our Mother has experienced from some of her wayward children.
Yes, it’s crazy, but some of our brothers and sisters have gone off the rails. People are decapitating statues of our Mother.
When I first saw this picture (from a Catholic church outside of Toronto), my blood started to boil. I mean, who does such a thing?
That’s an image of my mama. And she is your spiritual mother, too. Now, here’s where I want to pause a moment. I know that there are many faith traditions that don’t understand why Catholics revere Mary. If you don’t mind, let me just share a few of the reasons why I believe Mary is so special.
Have you ever watched The Raiders of the Lost Ark? I know, I know, it may have been before your time, 1981, but wowsa, it was a big movie for me.
Indiana Jones searched for the Ark of the Covenant, which was the chest that held the Ten Commandments, also known as the Word of God.
The movie depicts the power in the Ark.
Holy Scripture also speaks of the power of the Ark: the Jordan River grew dry when the Ark came near it, allowing the priests to carry the Ark across to the other side of the bank. The Ark was used to help win in battles. Death was associated with the mere touching of the Ark.
People. That was a CHEST, an inanimate object, that held the WORDS of God.
Mary, a Jewish girl, helped to form the Word Made Flesh, Jesus Christ.
She became the living Ark of the Covenant.
That is not an honor she gave herself. That is something that GOD bestowed upon her.
(I love the Canticle of Mary found in Luke 1:46-55.)
During pregnancy, Mary gave her lifeblood to Jesus. Literally. Have you ever heard of the term Microchimerism? Oh my stars. This will blow your mind. The DNA of our children can be found in our blood, and not just during pregnancy, but for YEARS after birth. One woman was 94 and she still carried the DNA of her son in some of her tissues. Read more about that here: Why Does a Mother’s Body Keep Some of Her Baby’s Cells After Birth?
No wonder us mothers feel like our children are part of us! They are!
Think of the implications!!
Jesus, fully man and fully God, was within Mary for nine months. Part of His Sacred DNA mingled with hers. Mind.Radically.Blown. Jesus truly became part of her. No wonder God exalted her.
Pretty fabulous, I know.
Now I’d like to share a few of the reasons why I love Mary as my MOTHER.
First of all, I love her because I know that Jesus gave her to me. When? Well, think about this: Jesus was hanging on the Cross, He had His mother and John standing below Him and He said, “Woman, behold, your son.” And then, “Behold your mother.” John 19:27.
Now, I don’t believe that Jesus was hanging from the Cross going over His To Do List and then said, “Oh, I almost forgot...John, would you mind looking after My mom?” If that was just a housekeeping thing, He would have taken care of that BEFORE He was hanging on the Cross, where every word out of His mouth was fire and agony.
He meant those words for us.
In Revelations: “Then the dragon became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus.” Rev 12:17.
Do you keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus? Then you have a spiritual mother in Mary.
I don’t want to spend too much time explaining my stance, because people usually either believe that Mary is their spiritual mother or they don’t.
I am not offended either way, because I happen to believe that Mary simply loves all of us as her children, whether we know it or not.
Okay, now to the meat and potatoes of this post: when I saw that particular photo of Our Lady beheaded, my heart hurt and I immediately wanted to make reparation in some way.
Now, I don’t know if you are familiar with the Devotion of the First Five Saturdays, but it is not something that I’ve ever studied or put into practice. But I heard they were about making reparation to Mary for sins and grievances committed against her and I said to myself, “Learn, Lori, learn.”
Let me pause here and say that what I’m going to share with you comes from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception website (Fr. Michael Gaitley’s people). This includes private revelation to Lucia at Fatima.
Now, just to be clear, everything we need for salvation as Catholics has already been given to us.
Jesus died for us, not only opening the gates of heaven, but creating a way for us to become daughters and sons of God the Father. See Galatians 4:4-6 and Romans 8:14-15.
All we need for salvation is indeed in Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Living Magisterium. We don’t “need” or have to believe private revelation. In fact, you can totally steer clear of it. That’s cool.
I happen to love Marian apparitions, especially those with the stamp of approval from the Church. Fatima has received that stamp.
Okay, this is from the Marian's website:
What are the Five First Saturdays?
Our Lady explained those Five First Saturdays to Sr. Lucia dos Santos, one of the Fatima visionaries, on Dec. 10, 1925, in the following way:
See, my daughter, my Heart encircled by thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Do you, at least, strive to console me. Tell them that I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation all those who, in order to make reparation to me, on the First Saturday of five successive months, go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for a quarter of an hour, meditating on the … mysteries of the Rosary.
Why five First Saturdays in particular? Jesus explained this to Sr. Lucia on May 29-30, 1930, saying:
Daughter, the motive is simple: There are five kinds of offenses and blasphemies spoken against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Here, dear daughter, is the motive that led the Immaculate Heart of Mary to petition Me to ask for this small act of reparation. And, out of regard for her, to move My mercy to pardon those souls who have had the misfortune to offend her. As for you, seek endlessly, with your prayers and sacrifices, to move Me to mercy in regard to these poor souls.
So, there you have it. Out of love for our blessed Mother, if you feel moved, pray for our brothers and sisters that have desecrated her image.
And then, if you feel angry by the blatant disrespect shown to Mary, go to Mass on five first Saturdays of the month to make reparation for the offenses committed against our dear Mother.
I created a simple card you can download that has the five offenses listed so you can pray specifically against them. I also included the list of requests of what to do on that particular day. (Note: this isn’t about a checklist. Rather, it’s about the spirit. Our Sweet Mama has been offended. Do what you can to give her some lovin’. That’s it. This isn’t about formulas or “if you do this then you get that.”)
I am a mother and I would be deeply hurt if one of my precious children attacked me or any image that represented me.
I would hope that my other children would gather around me to relieve some of my pain. And if those same children, without judgment, joined me in praying for my wayward child? Whoa. Talk about a new sense of joy.
I don’t think it would take the pain away completely, but it would give me a lot of consolation.
And for that, I would be thankful.
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