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Seven Days with Mary: Mother

Like many people, I had a grandmother who influenced my faith so thoroughly that 25 years after her death I still find guidance in what she left behind. I inherited a simple 5×7 piece of cardboard that’s one of my most precious belongings. Printed on it is an image of the Sacred Heart with which you are probably familiar. Jesus’ face flickers with light radiating from his own burning heart, the flames rising from a crown of thorns. His eyes follow you everywhere. Not in an eerie haunted-house-painting way, but in a “I see you, I’m here for you” way. A “I’m listening” way.

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Seven Days with Mary: Movement toward Christ

I’ve mentioned my struggle feeling worthy of God’s love, even in spite of having an incredible life where I love so many, and am loved in return. Recently I had an experience with Mary that, as Holly says, pierced my heart in its beauty and simplicity, and led me right to Christ’s love.

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Seven Days with Mary: New Eve

I’ve never understood Eve. Whenever I think of her apple, my mind is drawn to another woman with an “ordinary” object who led me to Mary. I am hesitating to tell this story because it’s precious to me. Four years ago, through a series of serendipitous events, I found myself spending the month of June at a writer’s retreat in the mountains of Assisi, Italy. On a blistering, hot afternoon, I descended the steps into the cool underground of the Basilica of St. Clare of Assisi.

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Seven Days with Mary: Omnipresence

I must admit, Holly’s rendering of a cross-cultural Mary touches my heart. In it, I see the shy expression of hundreds of teen girls I’ve taught. The omnipresence of Mary’s love is essential because I can’t rely on yesterday’s beliefs. I need the renewal of her guidance near me everyday.

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Seven Days with Mary: Pondering in Our Hearts

I love the expression “pondering in our hearts” because it so aptly captures my own journey with Mary. In all my years walking a spiritual path, I’ve striven to bring the best of who I am to each of my roles as a woman. Mary, too, was a daughter, wife, sister, friend, and mother. While all these relationships have dignity, it is true for me and for Mary that the role of mother is the one in which we have been required to stretch our spiritual selves most profoundly.

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Seven Days with Mary: Relinquishment

As a writer I’m particularly struck by words that most of us know the meaning of, yet rarely incorporate into our daily conversations. Relinquishment is such a word.

I begin each day asking the Divine to help me let go, to help me surrender, and now I will also ask for help in relinquishment. It has a more impactful song than “let go,” a plushness beyond “surrender.” How beautiful to connect the cadenced syllables of this word with the exquisite face of the Black Madonna.

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