This little devotion…
A listener tells the story of how Our Lady of America found her way into his life simply by being in the most ordinary place at the most ordinary time…
I am a Catholic who returned to the faith after my son was born. I have heard that this is a common time for Catholics to return to the faith; after they have experienced the miracle of life and are tasked with loving beyond themselves and their spouse. And this holds true for me, it was the sacrificial nature of loving as a father and a husband to a mother that opened my eyes to the truth of Christ.
So I took up my cross and have been working ever since to evangelize my family. This has been the greatest challenge: to communicate the patient love of my faith to those closest to me. And I have not always done that well. My wife remains skeptical of religion. My son remains unbaptized. So I carry on, placing my trust in God, having exhausted my own ability to move hearts.
I heard only recently about Our Lady of America. I had seen cards for this devotion in church vestibules. I suppose that I felt attracted to this particular apparition of Mary because of the specific message of Our Lady for America.
Having collected more than a few of these cards over time, they found their way into the piles of unsorted materials which form upon every surface I can claim; desks, shelves, and even backseat of my car–that was where my son first spotted it as I was driving him to school.
He examined the card and asked me about it. He wanted to know if it was the Statue of Liberty.
“No, it’s Mary,” I replied (we have discussed Mary at length so he has a good knowledge of her).
The next day he asked me about her feet. “Why is she standing on a cloud?”
I admitted I didn’t know since I have not studied the meaning of the image. He didn’t ask anything more, but I was glad that he saw the image. At this time, my son was in first grade and was having nightmares on a daily basis. He had been watching too much scary junk on the iPad, and those things stayed in his young mind. He would wake up a few times even because of the bad dreams. So I was grateful for him to see an image which has a particular focus on the purity of children.
This morning, when he got in the car, he picked up the image and read the title. “Our Lady of America.” (He’s getting good at reading!)
“That’s right,” I said. I was always happy when the topic came up, but never quite sure what to say about it. But today he told me about it…
“Last night, before I went to bed, I thought about Mary.”
“Oh, really?” I said, feeling quite surprised.
“Yeah, I thought about her crown and her…outfit.” He struggled to explain how she appeared on the card, but the specificity of his description was proof that he had indeed considered the image.
I was moved by this, having no expectation that he would hold this image of Mary in his memory, or that he would tell me about it. So I wondered how it affected him.
“Did you have any bad dreams last night?” I inquired.
“No, I didn’t,” he answered with confidence.
“Mary will protect you from bad dreams,” I offered, making that prayerful request in my heart.
He found this agreeable, and then he continued, “every day I get into the car I see this picture and think of it during the day.”
And so it is that this little devotion, which I have made little effort to promote in my home, found a way into my son’s imagination such that he was considering it as he was being put to bed, more than 12 hours after seeing it in the morning. All this happened without me doing anything but leaving a card in a pile of unsorted papers in the back of my car.
I don’t know how life will go in terms of my family embracing the faith, but this devotion worked without any effort on my part, and made a good impression on my impressionable little first grader. And that’s more than enough to cause in me great gratitude to Our Lady. I hope this door that opened a little bit for us today, swings ever wider, as heaven shines a little brighter towards those souls who seek it.
© 2020 – WQPH
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