She might seem strange to you at first.
She did to me, anyway, and to a lot of friends of mine.
Growing up in a pretty devout family, I knew all about the Blessed Mother — at least I knew about the theology behind her. How she’s the mother of Jesus, she was born sinless and remained so all her life, and how she conceived Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. I also knew countless saints had strong devotions to her, especially one of my patrons, Pope St. John Paul II.
I even went through St. Louis de Monfort’s consecration to Jesus through Mary every year while I was in college (you can read about what that is here), and I knew Marian consecration was a big deal in theory. But I didn’t see a place for Mary in my life. I didn’t understand her.
Honestly, I thought Mary was a bit weird. I knew that God used her to be the mother of Jesus; because He honored her in such a way, He also wants us to honor her by asking for her intercession. So, for all of these years, I have. And every intention I’ve especially entrusted to her has been answered, usually above and beyond. But most of the time she was just a vague figure to me, a woman whose perfection I could never match, and so I couldn’t relate to her.
Until I met her.
One day, my best friend called to tell me about how she had just “met” Mary — like you meet a real person. After she told me what happened, my reaction was, “Oh. That’s…nice.”
I had never experienced that. But I wanted to. I wanted to “get” Mary, like my friend.
So my best friend said she would pray for Mary to become real to me. I prayed for that too.
A few weeks later, I was feeling really anxious about whether I was on the right track with God’s will for my life. Worrying if I was pleasing God weighed heavily on me, and I knew it was spiritual attack; so I asked Mary for her help. While in prayer later that day, she answered my prayer…and I “met” her.
This might sound ridiculous to you. But in this prayer, feeling overwhelmed with anxiety, I suddenly had a strong sense of Mary’s presence, and then — I sensed her roundhouse-kicking Satan in the face.
I probably laughed at the image…but my stronger reaction, seeing my Mother defend me in one of my weaker moments, was crying out to her: “Mom!”
She wasn’t just a distant Mother to me anymore. She was my Mom.
Since then, she and I have been tight. In my toughest moments, she comes to me in prayer and speaks to me in a way she knows I’ll understand, and she assures me of her protection. In prayer, she even told me once, “Every fiber of your being is woven into my mantle.” She assured me how close she holds me as her daughter, so close that I am a part of her.
This Mom is real. And she wants to be close to you, too.
If you haven’t experienced Mary as your mother yet, I hope that you someday meet her. In the meantime, it’s okay if you don’t “get” her, or if you can’t relate to her, or if you don’t know how to talk to her.
You’ll get there. She’s a patient mother, and she’ll never force herself on you. But eventually, she is going to rock your world in the best possible way.
In the meantime, here are some steps you can take to understand Our Lady better and get closer to her:
1. Give her a shot — she brings us closer to Jesus.
That’s Mary’s mission as our Mother, to bring us to the Heart of her son. So if you’ve ever felt like you don’t “get” her, just give her a tiny crack of your heart to work with. She can use that.
2. Pray the rosary.
If you don’t like praying it (which is normal; St. Thérèse didn’t enjoy it especially either, though she prayed it anyway), start with just saying some Hail Mary’s. If you’re feeling a good challenge, I dare you to pray the 54-Day Rosary Novena. It’s like P90X, but with prayer — and from my own experience, every time I’ve done it, it’s changed my life.
3. Do a Marian Consecration.
Consecration to Jesus through Mary is a big deal, so give it the weight it deserves in your life. If you feel ready for it, St. Louis de Monfort’s consecration is amazing, but I also enjoyed Fr. Michael Gaitley’s “33 Days to Morning Glory.” Doing a consecration through this book not only explained the core theology behind our belief in Mary, but it also helped me to understand her as a person better.
4. Ask for her help.
Ask her to intercede for different situations in your life. Even before I “met” her, I had entrusted particular things to her. Almost every single time I did that, my prayer was answered — far above my expectations, too.
5. Ask Jesus to help you know her.
Simple. Ask Him, who was raised by her, to help you know and understand her better.
6. Ask her to help you know her better.
Just go straight to her and tell her that you want to know her. Ask her to come into your life in a real way. I guarantee she will shatter your world (in a good way) and answer that prayer.
After all, she’s Mom.