Fr. Mark Link S.J. tells us the interesting story of Marjorie Holmes, whose writings have inspired millions of people the world over. However, few would be aware of the many tribulations that this brave and devoted mother had to patiently endure. For instance, her teen-aged son, Jimmy, ran away from home one night just with the clothes that he wore. As can be expected, a storm of thoughts rushed through the anguished mind of that heart-broken mother. Reports to the police drew a blank. Friends and acquaintances had no news whatsoever.
As days grew into weeks, Marjorie’s fears grew worse. Two days before Easter, she went out shopping with her two younger children. Even as she moved from one store to the other, she found herself doing mechanically what she would otherwise enjoy as a legitimate and delightful diversion. One nagging thought occupied her anxious – Where is Jimmy?
Suddenly she heard the church bells ring. It was Good Friday. Moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit, Marjorie decided to go to church with the secret hope that her prayer would not only bring her some solace, but also the return of her son, Jimmy. As she knelt down to pray, her gaze suddenly fell on the Blessed Virgin Mary as she stood at the foot of the Cross and painfully and helplessly watched her Son as he languished in his dying moments.
Suddenly Marjries felt very close to Mary, and this is how she herself framed that grace-filled moment: “My heart broke for her, that courageous little peasant woman whose agony was so much greater than mine. But as I wept for her, it was as if my own soul was healed…As if God had spoken to me clearly, quietly, saying, ‘Trust Me…I will give you strength…Trust Me.” At that moment, Marjorie admits, a deep peace and stillness descended upon her. It was as if Mary was saying: “Marjorie, as a mother myself, I do understand the anguish of your troubled heart at losing your son. Rest assured he is safe and will return to you soon. Trust Me!” Months later Jimmy returned home, like the Prodigal Son, safe and sound.
As she relives that memorable experience, Marjorie remembers two things: first, she turned to God in prayer and in hope; and second, she actually felt Mary raise her hope and reassure her that her son would return as indeed he did.
“Having loved his own, Jesus loved them to the end.” This is particularly true of Jesus even as his physical life ebbed away on the Cross on Calvary. He had one last and invaluable gift to make, and he did that literally with his dying breath. Turning to his mother, he said, “Woman, behold your son!” And then straining to turn to his beloved disciple, he said, “Son, behold your mother!” With those words, Jesus made it quite clear that we all can rightly regard Mary as our own mother, our protector and our mediatrix. And, like every mother, Mary will devotedly and consistently pursue nothing short of our very best interests, even as she thoughtfully responded to the secret longing and unspoken prayer of Marjorie Holmes.
The month of May is traditionally known as the Month of Mary. It is a time when we are urged to deepen our personal love for and devotion to our heavenly Mother. And this can be effectively done and wondrously sustained by our daily devotion to the recitation of the holy Rosary – a simple practice but a most powerful prayer.
The Rosary is a traditional Catholic prayer that seeks to honour Mary, the mother of Jesus. It originally consisted of fifteen “mysteries” that recall the joyful, sorrowful, and glorious moments in the life of Jesus and Mary. In 2002, St. John Paul II added another set, the mysteries of light (also called the luminous mysteries), in which we contemplate Jesus’ public life and ministry.
The Rosary of the Virgin Mary is a prayer recommended by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church; it has within itself the depth of the whole Gospel message, of which it can be said to be a summary. Moreover, the Virgin Mary herself, when she appeared on earth, encouraged the recitation of this prayer. On May 13, 1917, in her first apparition at Fatima, Mary said: “Pray the Rosary every day for the peace of the world and the end of the war” and in her last apparition at Fatima the Mother of God presented herself as the “Lady of the Rosary.”
One priest very graphically refers to the Rosary as a powerful semi-automatic rifle with fifty bullets; and, he adds, those bullets never miss their target! In other words, the Rosary is a simple but very powerful and effective prayer; one that anyone can recite at anytime, anywhere and in any circumstance. Like Jesus, Mary, our Mother, also stands before God to intercede of us always. And, as we all know, there has never been a time when we most urgently need God’s protective deliverance and fatherly care than today. And Mary, our Mother, Protector and Mediatrix can render that possible.
In the very words of Christ Jesus, Mary, our heavenly Mother, reassures us: “Peace I give you! My own peace do I leave with you! A peace this world cannot give, that is my gift to you; do not let your hearts be afraid!” Indeed, Mary is our Mother, our Protector and our Mediatrix!