Monday, July 11, 2016


One summer day when I was a little boy my big sister Maureen, took me to our local parish church in the Bronx.  She brought me up to the front of the church and over to the side of the altar where there was a statue of Mary.  I did not know anything about Mary at that point, but Maureen was about to teach me.
"Who is that person?" she asked me, as she pointed to the statue.  
"It is no one," I answered.  "It is a statue."
"You are such a bad Catholic boy," Maureen countered.  "This is Mary, your Mother."
"I already have a Mommy," I said.
"Mary is your Mother in heaven," Maureen countered.  "She watches over you at all times.  Wherever you are she is too."
"You mean when I go to the toilet?" I asked, puzzled
"You are such a pagan.  I don't know why she would care about you!" Maureen said, exasperated. 
"Seems weird that Mary would be with me when I pee.  Mommy tells me to close the door."
"Shush!" said Maureen.  "Don't say the p word in church.  You will surely burn.  You need Mary's help.  Ugg!  Why do I bother."  
So we left church, my sister shaking her head and me a pagan Catholic.
Some years later, I found out more about Mary.  Beneath all the piety that had developed over the centuries, there was a deeper and more biblically challenging story.  Mary had said "Yes," to God's will.  It would change her life very much and make her life more difficult.  But it had a big payoff, as it will anytime we let go of our plans and open to God's plans.  Each day, I thank her for saying "Yes," and ask her prayers that I might say yes this day to whatever God might want in my life, no matter the difficulty or more likely the inconvenience.

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