Although I was raised in a Catholic household, at a very early age we stopped going to Church, my parents divorced, and my mom raised my two sisters and I. She later remarried and a couple of years after we came to Canada where the Lord found me and called me back to Him through Catholic Christian Outreach and my girlfriend at the time. Through CCO, I found myself surrounded by an amazing community of people who shared my faith. I began to grow in relationship with Jesus and to hear about the importance of having a relationship with Mary as well.
Last summer, after a night of adoration while on a CCO mission called Impact, I told a friend how it had been really hard for me to find the Lord in prayer because I kept feeling like I was speaking to a brick wall. She said it had been the same way for her until she felt the Lord asking her to approach Him through His Mother; then, everything had gotten better.
Until this point I hadn’t really bothered to get to know Mary. When I returned to my Catholic faith I had focused on getting to know the Lord better. I was aware that Mary was a very important part of our faith but I didn’t understand why. Whenever I attempted to pray to Mary I felt as though I was placing her above God and it made me resist coming close to her. However, what my friend said that night stirred my curiosity. I began asking other Impacters and friends back home whether they had a strong devotion to Mary. Most of them said yes, but I still couldn’t understand what her role was. Why was Mary so important?
The answer finally came through some friends who suggested I do St. Louis de Montfort’s “Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary.” Reading on this consecration it became clear to me that the devotion to Our Lady is not one that is taught without solid reasons. Every question I had about her was answered in depth. However, furthermore than understanding Mary’s importance in my head, I began to seek to know her better, and finally to have that understanding go from head to heart in an experience of the amazing love she has for me, and for every single one of us, as her sons and daughters.
I came to understand that by approaching Mary in prayer I take nothing away from God, nor do I elevate His mother above Him. Rather, she takes our praises, sacrifices and petitions, purifies them and presents them to her Son, who wants us to approach Him through His mother just as He came to us on earth through her. Archbishop Fulton Sheen once wrote, “Mary receives praise as a mirror receives light: She stores it not, nor even acknowledges it, but makes it pass from her to God.” Therefore, the role of Mary is none other than to bring us closer to her Son, to whom all our praise and glory is due.
The same is true the other way around. It is through Mary that God bestows His blessings and graces upon us as He did when He sent His Son for our salvation. I came to see that just as my mom worked tirelessly to make sure that there was never anything missing at our table when my sisters and I were kids; just as she gave us everything we needed with abundant love; so Mary knows my every need and in her infinite motherly love, tirelessly intercedes on my behalf before her Son.
I realized that in her tender love I will always find a refuge. That in moments (perhaps like that Impact night) when my sins bring forth feelings of unworthiness and it becomes hard to be confident is God’s mercy, she is there: to console me, to hold me in her arms, to help me get back up on my feet, and to bring me close to her Son again.
Its been less than a year since I did my consecration. My relationship with Mary has changed so much. First, I had to understand who she was and the role she plays in my faith before I could begin to grow in devotion to her. Now that I know her more intimately, I couldn’t be happier that I let her in to my life, for she has brought me closer and closer to her Son, who is the One from whom all true happiness flows.
Santi is originally from Colombia. He moved to Canada with his family when he was 16 and currently lives in Calgary, AB. Next year he will be graduating from Mechanical Engineering at the U of C. Santi loves sports but like any good South American, soccer is his number one passion. He also enjoys dancing, watching movies and travelling. After Santi completes his degree he plans to backpack through South America before settling into work.