I was asked to join Alpha as part of my Camino (R.C.I.A.) journey in confirmation within the Catholic Faith. There was some resistance to join for all the wrong reasons, and am glad of God’s gentle nudge to – “Just do it!”
It has been such a beautiful journey as I meet people from different parts of our world. Using Zoom as the tool to connect, I got the opportunity to meet people I otherwise would never have met. Alpha brings together people from all walks of life. On a personal level, it provided me with a platform and opportunity to share and talk about my faith and discuss all those questions that I don’t normally discuss with my friends or family. More importantly, it is a safe space.
My group was international with some joining from outside of Canada. Bonds and affinities are made between each of us as we journey together in a deeper understanding of ourselves and how we fit into the bigger picture called life. Each week, I enjoyed sharing my personal story, and greatly looked forward to hearing their stories. Together we shared in understanding some basic truths about life and our journey in it.
It has lead to my own personal growth. Now, how awesome is that?
Many years ago, Mathieu was 5 years old, my husband and I took him to Indigo – a bookstore located in the heart of Montreal. I recall leaving him with my husband with specific instructions to keep an eye on him. They were browsing through magazines, and I thought that little Mathieu would have enough to occupy himself with.
I went to browse, and 30 minutes later, “Where is Mathieu?” Upon which my husband looked around hazily and responded, “I though he was with you!”
Oh boy did I bellow out, “Mathieu!”
The whole book store went silent for about 30 seconds – I swear you could have heard a pin drop (sorry for the pun here, but truly that’s how it felt like at the time). “How does he look like?” “How old is he?” Just as quickly after shouting out, “Five, Asian child….”, I heard the someone call out, “FOUND HIM!” “He is in the Children’s Book Department!” I recall my prayer of thankfulness for Mathieu’s safety.
I can almost understand the panic Mary and Joseph must have felt when they discovered Jesus was not among them, and rushed back to the city to find him – 3 days later. The anxiety that wells up in a mother’s heart upon discovering her child is missing is the fear and angst of all mothers. I can imagine the panic Mary must have felt.
A mother’s mission
Through prayer and in my journey towards the Catholic Faith, I feel a song in my heart. I also feel being moved to tell others of my love for Jesus. There is a desire for me to share this light and let it shine out – God’s Divine Mercy and love. I have felt this calling in the past but was not ready to listen to Jesus. Through prayer and mediating on His word, I have asked how he wants me to do this. During praying the Rosary (about 4 weeks ago), I saw an image during prayer of our Holy Mother. The vision was short, but in my vision, she was sad, as if she was telling me that her sadness stems from many in our world who do not know or venerate her. I wasn’t sure what to do with this vision, and I have been asking for the Holy Spirit to guide me.
I am not a theologian, but I can share and give some insights into who Holy Mary is in my life. This is how I can contribute.
A mother’s help
This morning was one of those morning when I am awaken from a dream I can’t recall, but feeling alone and seriously down. It is one of those moments in my life when I wrestle with inner demons. I woke up washed with a tsunami of tears amidst a wall of insecurities – weighted down by the sins of my past. It is a flood gate of self doubt, and I am reminded of the torturous darkness of my soul. How can God love or even want someone like me to serve Him.
My usual tactics to get rid of Satan’s infiltration did not work this morning, and continued to mar my mind with an array of self deification. “You are wasting your time!” “Remember how peaceful your life use to be?” “You are wasting your time blogging.” “You are wasting your time writing” An endless steam of Satan’s bombardment attacked me all morning. Even praying became a battle ground, where Satan used my emotions to prevent me from praying. When I tried to pray, I was strangled with silence as a voice inside me echoed, “Why bother?” “What makes you think God is listening to you?”
“God, how have I displeased you?”
“Mother Mary, Father Joseph help me!” “St Michael, defend me!”
Yes, Satan is real, and he loves nothing more than to create and stir doubt within me. I had to ground myself in prayer, and believe me, that itself was hard today. Praying all of a sudden became a struggle between me and Satan. I felt the struggle. I turned on my Rosary apps from Divine Mercy, and couldn’t even utter the first few parts of the prayer…my tears fell, and I could not utter a word. I listened as I battled my inner demon, and only by the 3rd decade of the Rosary could I start to pray, “Hail Mary Full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee…”
A mother’s comfort
As fast as I was attacked by Satan’s lies and guiles, Mother Mary, along with Father Joseph, St. Michael and all the saints came to my aid – Satan ceased his attacks.
I am just as overwhelmed now as I write this. “Is this the kind of things one writes in a blog?” “Is this the kind of things I can talk about?” Why am I sharing this?
Our journey with God is not always a smooth path, at least not for me. I can say with a sincerity of heart – Satan will use every means to attack. Battle readiness is a must! I am thankful for our Holy Mother’s intervention, and St. Joseph’s help – he is after all the terror of demons. Just as St. Joseph saved the Holy family by taking them out to Egypt, he helps me battle the guiles of Satan.
My comfort is that I can call to Mother Mary (and St. Joseph, St. Michael and all the Saints) to intercede for me. It is not because Jesus does not hear my cries for help, He needs me to trust Him. He also needs me to be in total submission to His will. Just as He had to battle Satan for 40 days and night, I had to by faith accept HIs divine grace and mercy, and know that through His death on the cross for my sin, I am saved.
Getting to know Mary is also getting to know her son, Jesus.
That is really a simple truth for me. As I drew closer to Mary in praying the Rosary daily, I started to think about my role as a mother to my own children, and through mediating on the Rosary, I saw the perfect mother mirrored back at me. She is not only my role model, but she is a light that guides me closer to her son, Jesus.
Meeting and greeting people does not come naturally for me. I am awkward, and lack social finesse. Simple greetings can cause anxiety for me. With time, I learnt how to put on my social mask, and with effort participate in group settings. Getting to know Mary was much the same for me, especially coming from a Protestant background which carries it’s own baggage about our Holy Mother and saints in particular.
With each step I took towards her, I was drawn into her warmth. As I am an organized person, fitting the Rosary into my schedule was easy. Most days, I pray the Rosary in the morning. It starts my day on a positive note. Sometimes, especially when it is sunny and brisk out, I pray the Rosary as I walk the dog early in the morning. There is a wonderful array of online apps, along with material available via Apple music. I am sure the same is available for android devices.
Maintaining a prayerful routine each day has helped me get to know Mary. It has also drawn me closer to Jesus. Mediating on each of the “Sorrow” or “Mystery” has given me insightful depth into my human soul – and my humanity reflected back at me has shown me how flawed I am. The darkness of my soul healed by Jesus.
Know Mary, for she is love. Touched by the Holy Spirit, she carried in her womb our Savior Jesus.