For the seventh year in a row, I give myself--all that I am, all that I do, all that I possess--to our Blessed Mother. This is not easy for me. I am not a person who trusts easily, and I did not grow up with any religion, so my relationship with God and His saints has come late to me. Part of me is always afraid to give without reserve. I fear making myself vulnerable.
It is especially hard this year. I have a new baby, and all around me I hear of/read of mothers suffering the most dreadful losses: the unspeakable loss of their children. Mary Ellen has just lost her son, Ryan. A wonderful woman we know from our church community has lost her fourteen year-old grandson to MS and a long-suffered heart defect. Elizabeth's son Sam has two friends in the hospital, one having been found at the bottom of a swimming pool and another fighting bacterial meningitis. So many mothers weeping and praying right now, standing with Mary at the foot of the Cross. I am afraid of being asked to make the same sacrifice if I surrender myself, and yet I know this must be nonsense on my part. Bad things happen whether or not we surrender ourselves to the Divine Will; surrender only means that God will assist us in the hour of our greatest need because we have placed ourselves in His hands.
It is my painful history that makes me feel that growth in holiness must be paid for with suffering. No wonder I so often receive as my penance the prayer, "Jesus, I trust in You."
I fail, in these fearful moments, to see the "Big Picture", to see from God's point of view rather than my own. God often shortens a life out of mercy, as humanity with its fallen nature tends to use the extra time to commit more sins, rather than to grow in holiness. It is our selfishness, our own attachment to what we feel is ours, that causes us to weep bitterly and shake our fist at Heaven when someone dear is taken from us.
I know this, and yet I hope that I am never made to suffer such a horrendous loss.
My heart and prayers go out to these mothers.