My first exposure to Our Lady began when I was very young. In truth, it was a two-fold exposure, centered about my very devout, evangelical grandmother. I can remember spending time at her house and how much I loved it. On the car ride over, I would occasionally statues of a Lady in certain yards. I can’t remember when I first realized who this Lady was; I simply remember always knowing that she was Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Even though I did not come from a Catholic family, the statues still gave me comfort.
My grandmother, who I call “Nanny,” is a woman who truly loves the Lord. Though she’s certainly not perfect, her life has been spent in self-sacrifice on behalf of her children and grandchildren. Nanny taught me what it meant to be a Christian and to love Jesus. Her words of “love one another” when we grandkids would start bickering still echo in my mind. She knows her Bible better than most people I know, and can always quote a verse to us for any situation.
Nanny also taught me the power of prayer. Whenever I would stay the night at her house, she would always say prayers with me before we went to bed. Nanny prayed for everyone and about everything. Her bedtime prayers were often very long, but I didn’t mind, even as a little kid. I would feel safe hearing her voice invoking the protection of God and his angels over each member of our family, aunts, uncles, cousins, and on and on. Nanny never missed anyone, and she still prays like that to this day.
What do the statues of Mary and my time with Nanny have in common? Both are powerful images of the Mother of God and Handmaid of the Lord. Looking back, I can see how Our Lady was drawing me closer to herself through my visits to my Nanny’s house, and as I was unknowingly drawn to Our Lady, she drew me to her Son, Jesus Christ. That is how Mary works. She is so totally lost in God that to draw near to Mary is to draw near to Him. Nanny’s prayers are indeed the prayers of Mary: powerful intercessions for the entire family of God. I think of Mary’s love for me as her son the same way that I think of my Nanny’s love for me: both maternal and holy. If it wasn’t for Nanny, I may have never have known who Jesus is, or in fact who Mary is.
let me know what you think.