Today I went to spend some time with my Mama up at the only Church-approved Marian apparition site in the US – the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, WI. It’s out in the middle of nowhere, literally surrounded by farm fields, but it’s story is pretty amazing.
But I’m not here to tell you about the Shrine…I’ve blogged about that before in other places. No, today it’s the message I got there that hit me right in the gut.
Let me preface by saying that I have a pretty unique relationship with Our Lady. I get that she’s all humility, meekness, gentleness, and patience, but with me, well, let’s just say that she knows that I can be pretty thick and that meek and gentle doesn’t always get through. So, occasionally she lays the smack down in a way that I can’t ignore.
I recently completed the Consecration to Jesus through Mary from St. Louis de Montfort. It was an amazing experience of prayer and I learned a lot about myself, Christ, and His Mother through the preparation process. But since then, I’ve learned even more.
See, since I’ve completed the consecration I’ve been praying this regular prayer for Jesus to allow Mary to show me my sins. Like I said before, I can be pretty dense…so I was thinking that I probably have some habits of sin that are so habitual I’m not even aware of them (scary thought, right?). So, I figured I could pray for awareness of sin and since “acknowledging you have a problem is the first step to overcoming it,” I’d be well on my way to holiness.
Only, there are a few things I didn’t realize:
1. Prayer is powerful. Okay, so I’ve realized this for a while now, but there was something about this prayer that has been particularly powerful – like BAM! – the instant I prayed it my sin started becoming really, really apparent.
2. The “how” of this particularly prayer. I never stopped to consider exactly how Jesus and Mary would show me my areas of sin. You know how it’s been working for me? I’ve been so completely and totally overcome by them that I can’t ignore them anymore. They’re apparent – to me, to my husband, to anyone who has spent even 10 minutes with me in the past 2 weeks – because I’m falling into them constantly.
3. How freeing it would be. Yes, it has totally and completely sucked to be reminded of what a horrible sinner I am – especially on the heels of such a holy form of prayer. I think it would have been easy to fall into the trap of arrogance believing that this consecration made me holier or closer to God than those around me. At the same time, however, I’ve had sin revealed to me that I didn’t even know I had (which was kind of the point of the prayer to begin with). And, I’ve been able to seek out healing in the Sacrament of Confession for these sins. No forgetting on the way into the confessional or an incomplete examination of conscience this time – nope, they’ve been so apparent there’s no way I’m going to forget!
All in all this process has been a great gut check for me – it’s been a lesson in humility and mercy to see the extent to which my sins
drastically affect those around me, and to still be forgiven and healed from those wounds. It’s been glorious to know that I’m weeding it out – slowly but surely – I’m working on getting rid of some weeds I didn’t even know were there because they were masquerading as flowers…or because I’m just naive and a little thick and like my 2 year old, I think that dandelions looks so pretty they must be flowers.
It’s also been a lesson in being careful what I pray for – because I just might get it!