I am currently praying a novena (nine days of prayers) to Our Lady of Lourdes with a large group of friends. We are communicating via email as we all pray daily for a laundry list of general intentions, plus our own personal intentions, of course.
(Now listen here. I just have to say that, before any of you email me and tell me that Our Lady of Lourdes -- who is, of course, the Virgin Mary -- is dead and cannot hear our prayers, let me just point this scripture out to you and let's be done with it: "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?'" (John 11:25,26)
Well? Do you? 'Cause that's kind of an important point for Christians and Who Jesus is to us and who we are in Him.)
So today, one friend on the list whose husband has been out of work for many months emailed all of us and related, "Our prayers are being heard!" She went on to say that a possible job offer was looking more solid all the time, and it meant that they'd be able to stay in Indianapolis and she asked us to remember her family specifically as we prayed today.
I was very excited. I like this friend, Debbie, so much. I would absolutely hate to lose her and her family to some other state, where they'd not be able to appreciate her wild sense of humor, her energy and faith and her beautiful gang of kids the way we do here, I just know it. SHE MUST STAY HERE!
So I replied to the entire group and feverishly typed that the girls and I would say an extra novena prayer specifically for her family and then, in a moment of exuberance, I typed:
Our Lady of Lourdes, you go, girl!!!
Thank heaven -- THANK HEAVEN -- I caught myself and changed it quickly to "Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!" because I don't know. I mean, "You go, girl" doesn't seem quite seemish, does it? Maybe it sounds a little disrespectful or a bit frivolous to address the Mother of Our Savior in such a way?
I don't think that any of my friends are so humorless or dog-in-the-manger-ish that they would cut me off for a comment deemed to be impertinent. And honestly, I don't think that even Jesus and the Blessed Mother wouldn't misunderstand the exuberance I was feeling at Debbie's good news. But kind of like those awful t-shirts that read "Jesus is my Homeboy," it just doesn't seem....right.
One way I perceive Mary that seems completely right is this: Sometimes when I'm feeling sad or very tired or frustrated or scared, I picture her in my mind, coming toward me with a motherly smile, her arms held out to welcome me into her warm embrace. I go to her and wrap my arms around her waist and lay my head on her shoulder and she shushes me and pets my head and kind of rocks me back and forth. And then Jesus comes up and says to her, "Everything okay here?" and she says, "Everything's going to be just fine" and then He wraps His arms around us both -- group hug! -- and gives us a squeeze. "I love you both," He says tenderly and kind of smooths my hair and gives me a loving look and an encouraging smile and then goes off to tend to some other lamb who needs help.
That seems just exactly perfect to me.
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