“We never give more honor to Jesus than when we honor his Mother, and we honor her simply and solely to honor him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek—Jesus, her Son.” (St. Louis de Montfort)
The seeds of my devotion to the Blessed Mother were planted years and years ago. I can look back on my 40+ years of life and see significant moments when those seeds were nourished, cared for, and cultivated. This is one such moment …
Eleven years ago, I was pregnant with twins. It was quite a surprise, because twins don’t run in my family or my husband’s. As my due date (December 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe) drew near, it was clear they would be born early.
At most of my appointments (and I had many), I asked about the likelihood of something going awry. My biggest fear was that Twin A would be born without any complications but that I would need a C-section with Twin B. If that was going to happen, I thought to myself, maybe I should just deliver both of them via caesarian. Every time I asked, I received the same positive responses: “You are in excellent condition to deliver both babies without any complications. They are both in great position. Your history of delivering babies is excellent. Besides, that happens less than four percent of the time.”
As we reached the end of November, we set the date for delivery. I was one day shy of 37 weeks. I had never been induced, and it took longer than I expected. My husband and I sat around for hours. Finally, as we reached the two o’clock hour, we were more than ready to meet these two little souls.
Giving birth to twins was much different than my three previous deliveries. For one thing, it had to happen in an operating room. Even though I thought I was prepared for that, it was an overwhelmingly emotional experience. I started to cry. Thankfully, my husband is as solid as a rock, and he comforted and encouraged me.
My son was born without any complications. It was my first time delivering with an epidural, and I have to say, it was pretty sweet! I couldn’t hold him right away, but seeing him brought pure joy and peace to my heart. I prepared to welcome my baby girl, but there was a delay. She was not coming. As the doctor and medical team (yes, there are a lot more people in a twin delivery than usual) observed her on the ultrasound screen, my doctor did everything he could to help her into the birth canal. After what seemed like an eternity, he finally told us that he had to get her now, which meant that my biggest fear was coming true. I had to have a C-section.
Within minutes, the operating room was transformed for, well, an operation. My son was wheeled into the nursery, the anesthesiologist increased my spinal tap, and there was debate about whether I should be put under.
As I took all of this in, I noticed that my arms were now strapped down, and my entire body was in the form of a cross. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t argue. I couldn’t do anything but surrender. I thought of Jesus on the cross and how He surrendered it all to His Heavenly Father. He entrusted it all to Him. And that is what I did, too.
And in that moment of surrender, what came out of my mouth? The words we first heard from the angel Gabriel at the Annunciation, “Hail Mary, full of grace …” (Luke 1:28)
Over and over again, I prayed that simple prayer. I didn’t know what else to do.
What’s interesting is that at that time in my life, I didn’t have a particularly strong relationship with Mary. I didn’t really know her as my Mother. It is only upon reflection 11 years later that I understand.
You see, when Jesus was on the Cross, when He was suffering that horrific death, little was there to console Him. He couldn’t move. He chose not to argue. He surrendered it all perfectly to God the Father. But as He looked down from that Cross, whom did He see?
He saw His Mother. She never left Him. She remained close to Him until the end. Her love, her presence gave Him consolation. And if Jesus, our King and Lord, chose her to be His mother, to give birth to Him, to raise Him, and to follow Him … If He turned to her for love, comfort, and strength during His most needy time, then He was inviting me to do the same during mine.
It was as if Jesus was saying to me what He said to John at the foot of the Cross, “Behold, your mother!” (John 19:27)
About 30 minutes after my son was born, my daughter joined him in this world. With my arms still strapped down, I couldn’t touch her or hold her. They had to immediately put an oxygen mask on her; thank God it was only for a few minutes. And then they whisked her off to the nursery, too. He husband left to be with the twins, as I was stitched up and brought to recovery. It was a long waiting period, before I could finally hold my babies. Similar to Holy Saturday when Mary and disciples waited for the Risen Lord.
It still took me five years after this very powerful experience of the Blessed Mother’s intercession in my life to consecrate my life to Jesus through Mary. And even to this day, I am not the perfect pray-er. I don’t have a daily habit of praying the Rosary. And I’ve never completed a nine-day novena successfully. But everyday, I recognize the presence of Mama Mary in my life. I thank her for praying with me and for me, and I beg her to never let go of my hand, as she leads me closer to her Son, Jesus.
Do you have a special devotion to the Blessed Mother? How have you experienced Mary’s intercession in your life?
This post is part of the monthly Catholic Women Blogger Network’s monthly blog hop. To read more inspiring posts about Catholic prayer and devotion, please click HERE.