My Prayer I Started Praying with Mary and This is What Happened by Sarah McMahon For a long time I faked having a relationship with Mary. Even after I had a relationship with God, and leadership roles at my parish I just didn’t give it much thought. I didn’t even know how to correctly say the rosary until I did summer missions in college. So many women in my life told me about their incredible devotion to Our Lady and I just didn’t get it. I thought maybe Mary picked favorites. That some people could have a relationship with her and some people just didn’t make the cut. I figured I would just keep praying the same way I always had and if Mary wanted to pick me, she would. I did the consecration to Jesus through Mary for the first time my sophomore year of college. Even then, nothing really seemed to click for me. I posted a photo at the end of it that made me look super cool and Marian grace filled but in reality, I didn’t feel like anything had changed. My roommate had an incredible relationship with Mary and that added to the mystery surrounding Our Blessed Mother for me. I wanted the relationship my roommate had, but had no idea how to get there. After many rosaries, consecrations, and discussions, it ended up just being the Holy Spirit that led me to Mary. Go figure. I was in the chapel after a particularly frustrating few months in my relationship with the Lord. I had tried so many times to give my life to Him. To surrender everything. Yet, I still found myself holding on and I was tired of always being back at the same point. It was in this moment of weakness, frustration, and disappointment that Mary broke through my defenses. I understood that I couldn’t just give everything to God, I was too weak. But Mary gently took everything I was holding so tightly to and directed me towards Jesus. Her comforting, motherly presence led me to have peace in surrender. Finally, I understood why my friends relied so heavily on their relationship with Mary. I realized that giving my life to Christ on my own was too much for my little soul and the only way to grow closer to Him was to let Mary, my gentle mother, guide me there. That was when I realized how much I need Mary and the role she plays in my salvation even today, years after her “yes” to the angel. God can come to us without Mary, He doesn’t need anything extra to encounter and love us. But sometimes, our human hearts need help. That’s where Mary comes in. In John 19:26 Jesus says to John, the beloved disciple, “behold your mother.” In that moment, Jesus was giving all of us a gift- a heavenly mother to watch over us and lead us to Him. She takes all of our failures and faults and presents them to Jesus like flowers and trophies. She intercedes for us and pleads for the grace we need to move forward in our journey to sainthood. Mary joins the angels in protecting us from the evil one and as the spouse of the Spirit bestows special graces upon even the littlest of her children. Three Ways to Start Walking With Mary My relationship with Mary continues to ebb and flow, just like any other relationship. But, I know that she is fighting for me, protecting me, guiding me, and loving me even when I fall short or get lazy. However, I have found that even the simplest of prayers is heard by the Blessed Virgin. The Memorare One of the most beautiful prayers we can say to ask Mary to help us is the memorare. A priest recently gave me a copy in confession and I keep it in my car for particularly long red lights and when I begin and end my workday. The memorare goes like this: Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen. Not only is the memorare simple but it’s also incredibly powerful. It’s an easy way to start incorporating Momma Mary into your life. The Rosary It’s especially hard for me to pick up my rosary but also incredibly important. St. Louis de Montfort says, “It would hardly be possible for me to put into words how much Our Lady thinks of the Holy Rosary and of how she vastly prefers it to all other devotions.” and “The Rosary is the most powerful weapon to touch the Heart of Jesus, Our Redeemer, who loves His Mother.” Recitation of the Rosary, with sincere love, has great power to restore us and pull us close to the heart of Jesus. I found that carrying my rosary with me throughout the day led me to pray it more often. I encourage you to keep a rosary on you as often as you have your cell phone, you’ll be amazed at how often you begin to pray it. Praying with Mary in Scripture Lastly, find the heart of Mary in scripture. Though she says little, her words mean much. She is constant in her trust in the Lord and perfect in her surrender and gives us an example of the perfect disciple. Mary doesn’t pick favorites. She is here for all of us as a gift from the Lord. I encourage you to persevere in your relationship with Mary, even when you feel forgotten or left out. Mary has a love and heart for you because she knows how much Jesus yearns for you. Let your mother help you, she’s just waiting for you to ask.