There's a different dynamic that takes place in our prayer when we are praying with Jesus, God the Father, the Holy Spirit, or the beloved Mother of God. Our wise and loving Redeemer knows how profound the total impact of this experience can be for us, and so He encourages us to behold each facet of this precious diamond of amazing grace.
I started to realize several years after my conversion began that I was still avoiding any quiet prayer time with the Mother who was given to me by the Son, John 19:27. I had heard talk after talk at different conferences or retreats which revealed the Virgin Mary as a patient and loving mother - one who was waiting to guide me to the only true Source of Light - and found my resistance was slowly waning. Ever persistent, the Lord patiently tugged at my heart more and more, offering His Mother as a precious gift to me.
This tug became so evident on one occasion that I asked Jesus to confirm this for me once and for all, "Lord, if you are asking me to open my arms and heart more to Your Mother, please show Mary to me this weekend in a place that no one would expect Her to show up."
Now I suggested this proposition for that upcoming weekend because I was going away to an inn with my husband at a location that was chosen by our friends, who weren't practicing Catholics. I was pretty sure that outside of going to church on Sunday, there would be no occurrence of the Blessed Mother being displayed or honored in any particular place.
When we arrived at the inn that Friday night we realized we had checked in earlier than most of the other guests. It was a great chance to spy around and check out the entire inn without running into anyone in the building. As we snuck through the halls and peaked into vacant rooms, we found a stairway to the third floor and made our way up. We continued our reconnaissance trip to the top of the stairs, only to find that this floor contained the main office and private quarters of the inn keepers. I stepped into their large office with beautiful skylights and a great view onto the hillside. It was easy to see why they had chosen this room for their office area. But as I turned around to walk out the door, there She was...... a poster attached to the entire back of the office door with Our Lady of Fatima stretched from top to bottom. I was speechless.
This was the launching pad to a new relationship for me. Now there was no avoiding what Jesus was asking me to do here, as I heard so clearly later in prayer that weekend - "Let Her in, my beloved. Behold your Mother". I was so opposed to this friendship up until this time, and didn't even realize it - nor did I understand why.
It would be another year or two before I began to hear the terms, "father wound" or "mother wound" at retreats. I understood that this was where the Lord wanted to focus my attention, and for me to pray for understanding and healing. This was the key for me to see my own natural mother in a more forgiving and humble light, and to let God show me who she was in His eyes.
In a nutshell, we ALL have a certain degree of woundedness from our parents, because no mother or father is perfect, nor were their mothers or fathers, and on and on through the generations, (other than the Holy Family). In our fallen nature, this is the perception we have of motherhood and fatherhood - the imperfection of our own parents. For those of us who are raising children, this also causes us to be unforgiving of our own faults as parents. It is only through prayer, humility, surrender and the reception of God's healing grace that we are fully loved into wholeness again - and are able to forgive, as we have been forgiven.
Because of the imperfections of parents, and many other relationships along the way, our human nature responds with such self-defense maneuvers as building walls, becoming 'tough', or shutting down. We subconsciously do what it takes to not get hurt again - which unfortunately has a negative impact on our tender relationships with Jesus, God the Father, the Holy Spirit and our Blessed Mother.
It was during the next few years of listening and journaling in the silence of contemplative prayer that I allowed the Lord to bring me to His beautiful Mother. Here at Mary's feet I began to understand the woundedness of my own mother, and how she did her best to raise me in times of trauma and trial throughout our life together. I was taught to look deeper into her own childhood, and how the intense struggles of her upbringing caused so many scars - which remained unhealed for most of her life.
These incredible insights and teachings from the heart of the Mother of God were the balm that closed so many wounds and opened my own heart to Hers. Because of the counsel of the Holy Spirit through His Spouse, I experienced tremendous freedom to love my own mother without blame or frustration, letting go of the many years that seemed to lack the maternal love I was so hungry for. I knew that my mother truly gave what she felt she was capable of giving, and I was able to love her more during the last ten years of her life than I had for the first forty of mine.
It was a freedom that only forgiveness could bring - and a forgiveness that could only be born from Divine Love. How grateful I am for the precious gift of His Mother - and for mine....
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord - and may perpetual light shine upon her. Amen.