Its hard not to love Mary—at least that’s what I think now. I remember praying my first rosary tucked away in my room at college. The door was locked. Well Jesus, I said, if this offends you, I’m sorry, but it just seems right. I am happy to report there were neither natural nor supernatural calamities that day. I don’t remember anything extraordinarily profound occurring either. As something of an Evangelical I had entered into a great wrestling match with God over the Church and the Eucharist, and if, as I had found, the Catholic Church was right on these matters, then, I reasoned, She must be right about Mary.
Mary. The truth is I know no sweeter name. It was hard at first to feel warmly towards her, but she led me along very easily, very freely. I made my little efforts having something of a resolve to trust the Church that gave me the Eucharist: praying the rosary, kneeling before her statue asking for prayers, talking to her the way I learned to talk to other saints, and I was always honest. I figured she could take it. One day I remember becoming aware that every time I went to or from the adoration chapel I would be sure to stop by her statue and say a prayer. That’s the day I realized this was more than just one of my little efforts. It had become one of my little needs.
Looking back on my experience of discernment and my initial years of friary life, I can find no greater support than hers. Somehow she is able to love me, really. It’s not because I’m special; it’s just because I’m a Christian—a Christian aware that there is this woman in Heaven with all sorts of affection for me. I don’t know how I would live without her. There is a need within me for her love and support, and now, unlike before, I have no reason to fear that. After all, this same need was heavy in our Lord’s heart. And His is the only heart I could hope to imitate.
+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
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