Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us Sinners!

Our routines are pretty robotic sometimes. But did we remember to start our day with prayer?

Quentin Matsys, “Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels”, ca. 1509
Quentin Matsys, “Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels”, ca. 1509 (photo: Public Domain)
This morning at Mass I looked for her. I am intrigued by her devotion. I am impressed and maybe even a little envious of her obvious insight into God and the connection she has with intercessory prayer to Mary, Jesus’ mother. She is confident in her relationship with God — of that I’m sure. It’s written on her face. I see her spirit filled with love as she prays. Don’t get me wrong. I pray that I am in her same place, but I realize I have doubts on occasion.
For example, nine years ago I wondered where God was when I received my cancer diagnosis. Where was He when my husband was continually handed more health concerns? Where was God when I was laid off from my job, not once, but twice — a job that we needed to keep the medical bills at bay?
This August I will be nine years past my cancer diagnosis, and my husband is doing well following several strokes. I have been at my job now for nine years. I am able to do the job now on a part time basis. It’s a blessing, trust me. In retrospect, I suppose it’s obvious that God was with me through it all. It took me a little while to recognize He was there. I pray now with confidence, I hope. But sometimes, there is still a little doubt.
So, I go to Mass and look for her. She is the elderly lady who is on her knees praying her Rosary. She arrives at church at least a half hour before it starts. She is devoutly praying with her arthritic fingers moving fluently on every bead as she looks up to the crucified Jesus on the cross. She appears so certain her prayers will be answered. There is no look of doubt on her face. I know now I look for her because she is a comfort to me. Her intercessory prayers to Holy Mary are a welcome sight on Sunday morning for me. I think to myself, maybe some of her prayers are a gift for me or people like me. I don’t know. I only know, she is there to pray!
There are many symbols and traditions in the Catholic Church. Certainly none is more powerful than the Rosary. I see my mother when I look at the Rosary. She was up early every morning starting her day with coffee and a Rosary. I know how difficult life was for her. She had many worries along with her many children. Her Rosary was her companion and friend. Sometimes she said it twice a day. At the end of her life she was sure Mary was there to meet her. I have no doubt that was true!
I love praying the Rosary. Admittedly, however, I’m lucky if I remember to pray the Rosary once a week. I get so busy sometimes; it’s not always on my mind. One of the best things about my being semi-retired now is that I can attend daily Mass and participate in the Rosary before each Mass. It has been such a blessing for me. I’m now committed to making it part of my daily routine.
Father Dave commented at Mass a couple of weeks ago something that stayed with me. He noted that we are good about telling ourselves to wake up and brush our teeth at least twice a day. We make certain we remember to take the garbage out. We have our daily cup of coffee or glass of juice. We look at our social media sites regularly. Our routines are pretty robotic sometimes. But, did we remember to start our day with prayer?
“Give us this day our daily bread...” Jesus died for our sins, of which we all have many.  But, when we commit ourselves to prayer, we acknowledge His sacrifice, we admit His intervention in our lives and most important, we have the opportunity to thank Him for “giving us this day and our daily bread.”
Aren’t we fortunate to have Holy Mary in heaven to “pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death?” I know I feel blessed knowing she’s there. I feel blessed that the elderly lady in church is praying for her intercessory help. I feel blessed that God does answer our prayers, not in our time, necessarily, but in His time. Mostly, I feel blessed when I remember that prayer is a gift of our connection to Him. I pray someday that I’m the elderly lady with the confidence displayed on my face, while I pray my Rosary.