Short Story- Mary Queen of Heaven!

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It’s kind of like entering into a candy store at the age of 9 and loosing yourself in the infinite sweetness that surrounds you. Everywhere you turn delightful things are displayed before you. The innocence of pleasure fills your very being. You walk about with confidence from aisle to aisle because there is not a care in the world at that point, it is just you and this new moment in time.

That is how this young girl would describe her first zeal for holiness. She was zealous and full of energy, she desired nothing short of holiness because she knew that it was attainable and its sweet aroma drew her near. At first she was very flamboyant and wholly present to all things and people and places. The hope in her heart of knowing Mary, and Knowing Jesus in a way yet to be realized before, was ever-present before her. Daily she wondered what she could do to please them and find favor with them. The morning of Mary’s birthday began with a simple solemn Mass, after morning prayers, this young girl went straight to work, thinking up some wonderful way in which she could celebrate her Mother in heaven. Nothing special came to mind except a cake which her sisters were already planning . It was a beautiful gesture but she wanted to offer her Mother something special and intimate, and didn’t want to stop short of offering a perfect gift. Sitting in the chapel, alone and in the dark, she pondered what it was she could do for her Lady in Heaven, time passed by and she toyed with various ideas but could not settle for any of them. In her disappointment she returned upstairs to the common room for dinner, she heard one of  her sisters comment on the surprisingly late hours for confession that were being offered at the church downtown. Now, recently these young girls were learning about the Desert Fathers and their love of purity, their pursuit of a pure life and desire to inch toward seeing God face to face by using this method of purification. It was something that fascinated her and as her wheels began to turn so too her excitement. And at the peak of her excitement and determination she suddenly got it!!

Her mother approached the common room and the young girl ran to her side and asked, “can I go to confession at 8pm tonight!”. No further explanation was given and no further explanation was sought, silence followed. Her mother stared at her for a minute and wondered why she would possibly want to rush to confession at such an odd time of day. But without hesitation, this poised mother said “yes, you may”. God only knows what she might have been thinking, “this poor young girl could have just committed a grave sin for all I know and is trying to save her soul”. It didn’t take long for this little sister to jump in the car and head out, considering it was late in the evening.

At the church, she sat in the pew and waited her turn, looking up at Mary she says, “Mother, I found the perfect gift for you, I don’t own anything that I can give you and I haven’t got a penny to offer you but what I do have is a heart and like the church fathers, I want to offer you one of the greatest gifts anyone could give you. I extend to you a pure heart, one that I do not yet have but after confession I will wrap it in love and place it at your altar, it is not midnight so your birthday is not over yet,” she says with a grin. On her way home she fought against her thoughts, her surroundings, her intentions, and desires because she did not want to stain the gift that she had just given to Mary. When she entered the community room, she cast her eyes to the ground and swiftly ran past her other sisters, because she did not want to engage in conversation or provoke a bad judgement in her heart. She was determined to keep her heart pure until midnight if she could help it!

It was not until years later that she grew in her understanding of purity of heart, and although the gift was honest and of pure intention she began to learn how much more went into living a life pleasing and acceptable to Mary and Jesus. The seal of habitual goodness, and the laying down of ones will, the desiring only what is asked from God and humble detachment of unreasonable plans or goals became her new pursuit. But she never did forget the day that innocence took over and zeal animated her desire to love her Mother in Heaven.

Familiar Gaze

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True Story!

It seems right for me to muse about a friend I met a few years ago. I first heard about her through a mutual friend and from what I could gather she was a very quiet and simple person; absorbed in her daily duties. Her parents loved her and those who spoke of her only said nice things about her. She received much praise which made me curious to know what it was about her that people loved. So I decided to go and meet her myself. It took me some time to finally come to her and by then I had received a bit more information about her, she was a mother and a wife.

“I don’t know her parents very well” I thought to myself, ” I rather ask her husband about her instead.”

His name was Joseph and he was very nice, he was trusting. I learned that his wife’s name was Maria but the day I went to meet her I wasn’t able to stay, so I promised to come back earlier the next day. When I returned the next day, I didn’t find her at the door instead her Son opened the door and invited me in. He really was a gentleman in every sense of the word. I was impressed and immediately drawn to His kindness. The day was young and the sun was beaming so I asked if I could wait for her outside in the breeze. He said:

“Sure, I’ll join you”

We went to sit outside and He began to share His story. Joseph, the loving man who welcomed me the first day, was actually his adopted father.

“I was an unexpected gift from God for Maria. As much as she loved me, she knew she could not raise Me on her own.”

“She did not get mad at God for giving Me to her,” He continued, “she simply praised Him and said ‘Yes, be it done, Lord.’ Joseph, although a little skeptical of entering into the picture, stepped up and the three of us became a family.”

As He continued to describe His mother, I couldn’t help but marvel at Him. I knew immediately that He was someone special. He was like none other, He was set apart from everyone else, and He choose to pause for me! to wait with me! That felt very nice. The way He spoke about His mother was so tender and loving, He respected her and treated her like a queen. He was so invested in her life and was not afraid of being vulnerable with me in showing that. I forgot that I had been waiting for Maria, and was engrossed in every Word He spoke. He looked into my eyes and I felt as if He was looking into my soul. I didn’t know what to do except take in the moment.

“My mother, is really a sight to behold, I promised her that whoever she loved, I would love. Whoever she received, I too would receive, and whoever came to me I would give to her maternal care, because I know the gift that she is and I would hate to keep her to myself. ” He continued, “when you meet her you will know what I’m talking about.”

At that very moment, Maria walked up to the porch glowing with joy at the sight of her Son. She walked up to us and embraced Him first. He stepped aside and introduces me by name, she turned to me and for a moment the world stopped. Her eyes caught my eyes and she looked at me with familiar affection, I was not a stranger to her, I did not know her but some how I felt she knew me. The gaze of affection was eternal, at least it seemed that way. My heart melted and I wanted to cry, but didn’t know why, this woman was a stranger but her love for me felt like that of a mother. In this warmth I approached her trustingly and embraced her. Her Son had since gone back inside and left the two of us standing there, by now the sun had begun to set. She invited me to sit and enjoy what was left of the sunset.

“Your Son was just telling me about you . . .”

Instead of continuing the story of her life she shifted the conversation and began to ask about me. As much as she was a stranger I did not feel the least discomfort in opening my heart to her. We talked for hours and not once did she take her eyes off of me. She shared many things with me. She asked that I continue to visit, to go to her home and she would continue to meet with me. I leaped for joy at the invitation and asked if I would have an opportunity to speak with her Son too, she reiterated the Words He had spoken to me just earlier:

“whoever I love, He too will love. Whoever I receive, He too will receive.” she said, “He would love to have you here more than you know, trust me.”

And almost on cue we both stood up. The sun had already gone down and we were both left in the shadow of the night. I was not afraid, because I felt as if I knew this family my whole life. It hurt me to have to leave but I knew that I would see them again. Some how I knew that I would always have them with me. My heart was filled that day and my joy was satisfied. Her Son was a keeper, I knew He would become a part of my life forever, I kind of loved Him. Joseph, was a humble man and he made me feel safe, and Maria . . . she was a woman who I knew would teach me how to be a woman, she would teach me how to embrace and use the gifts God had given me and more importantly she would teach me how to love her Son. I went home that day filled to the brim with love in my heart. The walk home was as blissful as the morning dew.