Praying with Our Blessed Mother

Praying with Our Blessed Mother

For many years now, the Blessed Mother has played an important role in my life and ministry. It will be a great joy, in this upcoming month of May, to honor her. How blessed are we that we have the love of the Blessed Mother! We have a spiritual mother who intercedes for us with her Son, just as she did at the wedding feast in Cana.

John’s Gospel speaks of the special relationship we have with Mary when he recounts one of Jesus’ last actions as He was dying on the cross. 

“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman behold your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” (John 19:26-27)

My grandmother, Carmella, prayed the rosary every day and during Mass on Sunday. Growing up, I observed how peaceful she was when she prayed, but I did not have a devotion to Mary until later in life.

One time, I felt God calling me to France to visit Paris and Lourdes. In Paris, I received a Marian miracle.

The Church of the Miraculous Medal is located on a street called Rue de Blanc. I was led to pray in that church at the Communion rail, to meditate on the Blessed Mother.

Initially, my mind went blank, but then I heard a voice in my head. 

“I will give you the gift of poverty.”

Wow! I knew that voice couldn’t be my voice! I didn’t want poverty! I was so disturbed that I ran, shaking, to the back of the church and entered into the last pew. I remember looking up and asking God, “Can we talk about this?”

Pondering the message, I realized I didn’t want to be like the rich young man who didn’t want to do what it took to follow Jesus in Mark’s Gospel (10:17-25). I slowly walked to the front of the church and told the Lord, “I surrender completely to you, use me in any way you want!”

On the way back and when I returned home, the Lord revealed much more to me. He showed me the verse from Matthew: 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, / for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

God revealed to me that “poverty in spirit” means putting God first in all things. Matthew’s Gospel says it succinctly. 

“But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you besides.” (Matthew 6:33)

I recognized that I had made many things my gods: My family with everyone getting along perfectly. Sunday afternoon dinner. Success in business. My health. So many things. 

What happened following this time of self-realization? 

My family had a major blow-up. Half the family stopped talking to the other half. Not only was Sunday dinner off the table, but also being together for holidays.

My good health was taken away; my back hurt with pains shooting down the side of my leg to my feet. Sciatica. I hadn’t even known what the word meant.

For six months, I could barely stand for more than 30 seconds without severe pain. I went to one doctor after another, one treatment after another, before I found a pain specialist who helped me.

I got fired from my job. One day, I was senior vice president of a major pharmaceutical company, the next, out in the street with no job.

Ironically, I had recently been honored as one of the top executives in the company, told I was a “corporate treasure.” I was fired two months later when senior management changed.

God’s miracle, through what I believe was the voice of the Blessed Mother, was to show me that we need to trust God in the midst of all trials.

He will turn trials into good when we trust in Him and believe in His healing power. I now believe these difficult events in my life were God preparing me for the diaconate program in our diocese. During that time, I had entered into the program’s four-plus years of formation.

When we pray with our Blessed Mother and ask her to intercede for us with Jesus, we can expect and experience miracles!

The love of a mother for her family is one of the great graces God bestows. Our Lady loves the family.  I am reminded of one miracle story of Mother Mary’s love for her child on earth offered to me by a friend.

“Being in ministry, I’m often told of miracles that God has performed. A friend had shared with me a miracle that happened to her after her young daughter died of an illness.

At that time, she was not going to church. She had lost her daughter and had immense grief and sorrow. One particular event occurred during this difficult time, when this woman was grieving. She may not have realized it but she was praying fervently to God.  At this critical moment of despair, she saw before her the Blessed Mother. She had appeared to this woman at the lowest point in her life and came to give her a simple message that would change her. The Blessed Mother looked at her and let her know she understood her pain.

She knew her pain and this intervention of Our Blessed Mother gave this mother the understanding that God is listening and is right there and her Heavenly Mother knew her pain and would not abandon her.”

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Written by
Deacon Steve Greco