Have you ever had the experience of meeting an amazing new person that you just want to tell everyone about? There is something about them that captivates you, which means you think about them a lot and want to spend time getting to know them. Well, I want to introduce you to Mary. I’d known her for a while but we really only became good friends about a year ago. Since that time, she has become one of my greatest encouragers. She has become such a support for me in living out consecrated life because the thing she loves to do most is draw me closer to Jesus.
I’m not sure if you have guessed that the Mary I am talking about is Mary, the Mother of Jesus. It was on my 30 day retreat (the Spiritual Exercises) last year in preparation for my Perpetual Vows that I realised just how great a friend Mary was. Often throughout the retreat, I was encouraged to pray what is known as a Triple Colloquy – this is basically entering into conversation with God the Father, Jesus and Mary during a time of prayer, usually based on one of the stories in the gospels. At first I found it hard to chat to Mary but that all changed when I reflected on the story of Jesus’ birth.
I imagined myself walking past the stable where Joseph and Mary were gazing at their new baby, Jesus with such incredible love. Mary looked up and noticed me and beckoned me to come in and join them. She (in my imagination) said to me ‘Come and hold the baby your life is all about,’ before reaching over and placing him in my arms. Somehow, in this moment I realised in a profound way that Mary was close to me and that she really wanted to draw me closer to her son as well.
Later in the retreat, I found myself accompanying Mary on the road to Calvary as she watched Jesus suffer. Just as I had been present with her at the beginning of Jesus’ life, I also wanted to be with her in his final days. I was reminded of a line of the Entrustment Prayer to Mary that we pray each day as MGLs – share with me the mystery of his cross and although it us somewhat impossible to put into words, I know that it is through experiencing the passion with Mary that I grew closer to Jesus.
This truth that Mary draws us closer to Jesus is a truth for all people, no matter what their vocation. So I encourage you – ask Mary to draw you closer to Jesus as well. Prepare to be filled with joy, surprised and excited when you too meet my new friend Mary.
– Mel Edwards