I was greatly touched and inspired when I walked into the chapel the other day to find my dear Sr. Mary Clare in a beautiful stance of prayer and bonding with baby Mary (see pic).
We have had this beautiful little statue of Mary as an infant on our altar in honor of her birthday September 8th. As we like to do at times, we extended her birthday, in an informal way, to an octave celebration so that we could enter more deeply into this mystery; especially because one of the graces we have been praying for in our communal life together lately is child-likeness and littleness.
I asked Sr. Mary Clare if she could share her experience and she wrote:
“As I was holding baby Mary in my arms, I was contemplating how She was so small once just as Her Son was. No one thinks too much about the littleness of Mary as they do the littleness of baby Jesus. I couldn’t help but feel such tenderness and love for baby Mary as I was holding Her. I experienced such peace and contentment as I was caressing Her. She was drawing me into Her littleness and I felt vulnerable, but yet, protected and loved. I felt a Mother-Child bond that I could not put into words.”
On Mary’s birthday we prayed a Rosary of 5 mysteries in her honor, specifically focusing on her birth. And during each of the decades we entered into the room where Mary was born, and where she lay in a cradle, contemplating this mystery of her littleness, her purity, her child-likeness.
We read a few different meditations that our Mother reportedly gave through Fr. Gobbi regarding her birth, which drew us into deeper contemplation of this mystery (that the Church celebrates nine months after her Immaculate Conception on Dec. 8th). Following are a couple of highlights from the messages:
“Share, beloved children, in the joy of all the Church which today venerates that mystery of love which is the birth of your heavenly Mother… All Heaven exults in this mystery; the angels and saints share in your joy” (MMP # 160 a).
“Look at your mother as an infant. Because I was little, I was pleasing to the Most High” (MMP 109 a).
“Look to your heavenly Mother. I am at your side at every moment. From my Immaculate Heart rays of light and of grace are ever issuing forth and showering upon you in every part of the world.
“Thus I enlighten and beget you, nourish and form you, guide and sustain you. Each day, you too share in the mystery of love which is your new birth given you by your Mother” (MMP #160 b,c).
As I spent time entering more deeply into this mystery of Mary’s birth, I sensed the “child within me” being called forth in ever-greater surrender, vulnerability and child-like trust, as Mary was in her infancy, which continued throughout her life.
Today is the last day of our little informal celebration of Mary’s birth, and how fitting it is to end on this very special memorial feast of Our Sorrowful Mother which is ushering in for us another very special mystery of Mary’s life. In this mystery we contemplate her role as co-redemptrix, and also her beautiful, very human, motherly heart; that not only suffered for her beloved Son Jesus 2000 years ago, but also suffers for us, her present-day children, now.
May we all have the grace to get to know Mary evermore deeply, from the moment of her Immaculate Conception to her Crowning as Queen of Heaven and earth. She is now here for us as Mother and Queen. She longs for us to open our hearts to receive her as our true spiritual Mother, and oh how she is faithful in revealing herself to us if we do. She longs for this only so that she can draw us most quickly, smoothly, deeply, wholeheartedly into communion with our Triune God/a living out of our Baptismal Vows.
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 18:3).
Baby Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!
By lilla marie lottinger