Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dumping My Assumptions about Mary -- my latest column at Patheos

My column, A Word in Season, over at Patheos is one part reflection of the road I've taken toward friendship with the Blessed Virgin Mary, and one part a refresher on the joy of Mary's Assumption that we will celebrate on Monday August 15th.

Here's where it starts...
I once thought Mary irrelevant. 
I am ashamed to admit that when I was a younger woman I had little use for the Blessed Mother. 
I was raised Catholic, but when it came to Mary and Marian devotion, my post-Vatican II religious education lacked that punch. My Protestants friends, claiming to know the Bible better than I, had little respect for Mary beyond the historical footnote as being the mother of Jesus, and I believed them. Even some Catholics I knew dismissed Mary as just too “old fashioned” for the times.  Stated plainly, Mary was no feminist icon. 
Even worse, I had absorbed a subtle lie: if I imitated Mary, I would become weak, passionless, and boring -- the antithesis of the modern woman. Mary was an old-school relic that had nothing to do with me.  Little about her life was applicable to mine. 
Then I became a mother. 
My first pregnancy, sadly, was a miserable experience. I was sick, overwhelmed, and sick some more. For. Nine. Months. I could barely keep my head up and go to work each day.
My theories about strength, passion, and my remarkable destiny suddenly faltered. For those months, nothing about motherhood seemed “blessed” and I simply had no confidence for the task. 
Hope came in the form of a dear Catholic friend. She was a farther down the mothering road than I was, and definitely more mature in her spiritual journey. And she had joy.
She saw I was adrift and needed some real mothering, and an introduction to Mary was the solution. My friend taught me how to turn to the Blessed Mother in prayer.  She told me that Mary “gets” me, even if I didn’t “get” her. And that Mary “gets” motherhood, and would help me do the same. I had nothing to lose, except maybe my breakfast.
Read the rest.

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