The deeper I get into my relationship with the Lord the more I desire to understand and live out Church teaching, traditions, and God’s plan of salvation for all. Bit by bit I feel less of the obligatory side of following our faith, and instead, have been replacing it with a passionate love for His Commandments. That being said, I realize how my uphill climb to the mountain of the Lord is thousands of miles from the summit and I still have lots to learn. One aspect of our faith that I realized I still am lacking, is depth in my relationship with Mary, our Mother. Luckily, since Jesus knows me pretty well, He shows me these truths in my daily life and in ways that gain attention.
Last weekend I was blessed to have been asked to travel home with one of my Chinese friends, Honey, to come meet her family and celebrate the third birthday of her son, Leo. Honey and I have been getting closer to one another over the past few months and developing a relationship fostered by the Lord. Being asked to travel with her was an AWESOME privilege and spoke volumes into the Lord’s goodness. That being said, I was extremely nervous to meet her mother and father because, in China, having a good relationship with the family of a friend or loved one is of extreme importance. So, I selected only the nicest clothing from my wardrobe, brought fruit (as all good Chinese house guests ought), and purchased a birthday gift for her son. I was ready!
When I finally met Honey’s family, using all of the manners instilled in me since childhood, I made sure to be on my best behavior. So when we arrived at 9 o’clock at night and began eating the biggest feast that I have ever had attempted to conquer, I ate every single bite of food that was in my dish. Even after the third helping I found myself smiling, carrying on broken Mandarin conversation, and praying interiorly to the Lord for five stomachs. The days continued and were punctuated with times of sharing meals with her family, being taught Mandarin by her mother, and learning just how internally beautiful my friend truly is because of her upbringing and life experience. From the very first day that I had arrived, Honey’s mother told me that whenever I missed my own mother in the States I could come and see her since she had adopted me as her own. (So cute!) When I finally returned home, five pounds heavier and happier, I praised the Lord for giving me the grace to continually be filled with joy for the trip’s duration and for allowing me to develop a relationship with Honey’s mom.
The following day during my rosary while kangarooing my new Goddaughter, Jaime, I had a profound realization. If I would go through leaps and bounds to impress the mother of my friend, out of genuine care for her and for her family, why would I not do the same for Mary, my Mother? Although I have given Mary huge amounts of credit in both my conversion and the miraculous healing of my father, I failed to recognize Her with the intimacy of Jesus’ affections. Similarly to the time I was with Honey’s mother, I should always be on my best behavior, mimicking Mary’s habits and mannerisms that have given Her honor with Christ, and clothe myself with only the finest garments: virtues worthy of her praise. In order to mediate this I have been praying harder to love Her with Jesus’ heart and in turn, to love Him with Hers. This has helped to transform my understanding of Her relationship to my faith-life and Her sincere care for me in all things. Her love for us is passionate and eternal since, by the mouth of Jesus on the cross, She was given to us as our Mother.
I have yet to completely tap into the fullness of a relationship with Her, but feel day-by-day, my mind and heart running to Her for intercession, love, and guidance. In time, she will make me worthy of her Son and I will be able to more properly thank Her for the graces She has so lovingly bestowed upon me and my family. I pray to continually be formed in the image of Her Son and for the furnace of love to burn away my impurities. Please join me in this prayer and in praying for the conversion of Honey and her family!