Friday, August 15, 2008

"Mary Days"...

I love "Mary days' – December 8th, August 15th, Annunciation, Visitation, etc. Although I can’t say I had a real relationship with the Blessed Mother much before I turned 30, she was an ever-present “person” in my childhood. In my Mother’s bedroom, (a mysterious and wonderful place in and of itself,) there was a heavy, glass statue of the Madonna and Child. It was so heavy, in fact, that I didn’t dare try to pick it up. (OK, I tried and thought better of it.) I wondered about this beautiful, translucent figurine and the hold it clearly had on my Mother.

The creche we set up every Christmas was already old – passed down from another generation, I think. But, my parents let us set it up and play “gently” with the Holy Family. The three kings were very exotic and endured so much “gentle” play that Balthazar lost his head. (Thank GOD for Elmer’s Glue!) While the shepherds and barn animals were kind of fun, I was much more interested in Mary and her baby. I remember laying on my tummy on the rug under the Christmas tree and just staring at their little world. I knew they were just wooden figures, but I also knew that Mary and her baby were real – still alive in some way and able to watch over us.

The next “Mary” came into my life when I was six. Our parish school was called “Our Lady of the Magnificat.” I had no clue about the “magnificat” part, but I figured out early on that the “Lady” was Mary. We had a “May Crowning” every year and once, my big sister got to do the honors. As a child in the 70’s, our education didn’t really cover the Rosary or the various titles and feasts of Mary. But, she was there…mysteriously…as our Mother.

Things got much clearer when I was 7. My little sister, Maggie, was born. She was so small…so helpless…so perfect! I watched my Mother with her and, after surviving the first wave of jealousy and the fear of being replaced, I was drawn into the miracle of a mother’s love. JESUS came as Maggie did – naked, cold, hungry and afraid. And Mary did what every mother does. She wrapped him in something warm, kept him dry and safe, and stopped his tears with milk and kisses. The glass statue in my Mother’s room made sense to me then. My Mom wanted to be just like Mary because my Mother knew that my sister was just like JESUS.

Blessings and happy feast…

- Sister Vicki