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By Mary Walker
Pray, pray, pray. Repeat.
During this holy season of Advent, we have all had time to reflect upon how the coming of our Lord and Savior changes us and encourages us to grow more perfect, as our Lord is perfect. How will we prepare ourselves for His coming into our lives at the end of this season?
Our Blessed Mother, in asking us to consecrate ourselves to Her, is showing us the way: How do we grow in holiness and become more like Her Son? We imitate Her: We strive to be like Her. She was the definition of perfection — what we as humans should be like, except for the Fall in the Garden of Eden: chaste, humble, kind, lowly, full of grace, choosing to do God's will before Her will in all things.
It's not an easy thing for us to do, giving up what we want, what we will to do each moment, each day of our lives. But with heavenly help from our Beloved, and through the intercession of His Holy Mother, we can strive for it. That is what will make us saints — living our lives, whatever our vocation, by making the choice each time we are granted the opportunity to respond by bringing Christ to others, through love. Not easy to define in our everyday lives, but we can reflect upon it more easily if we read 1 Corinthians 13.
This weekend, I was trying to get home in an ice storm that had my car sliding at speeds of less than 10 miles per hour! My mind began racing: First, I could easily get into an accident, and secondly, I might never get home. I was only an hour away in normal circumstances, but the roads were horrible, and drivers were pulling off the road at regular intervals. I had started my drive saying the Rosary, as was my usual practice during long drives, and continued to pray as I drove through slowly falling sleet and icy roads. As I prayed, I thought: Patience, and trust in God, was what I needed as my attitude, and all would be well.
It was rough driving for about 15 miles, and then it was suddenly clear, and the roads were only wet but not icy. Traffic was moving slowly but at a regular pace. I prayed a "Thank you" and then was stunned by the realization that I had been really calm through the 15-mile, icy-road drive. It was immediately clear also that it was because I had been saying the Rosary.
Every day throughout our apostolate's requests that you pray for our nation's bishops to consecrate our nation to the Virgin Immaculate, we have prayed:
We gather about you, O chaste and holy Mother, Virgin Immaculate, Patroness of our beloved Land, determined to fight under your banner of holy purity against the wickedness that would make all the world an abyss of evil, without God, and without your loving maternal care.
Making our hearts like Hers, we need to work each day at our trust in God, each moment we fail at accepting the many opportunities for grace He bestows on us, asking for Her help. It is not just a daily struggle, but a moment-to-moment struggle. We are faced with "little" events each day that press our buttons and demand that we choose: Are we going to let our impatience/ temper/exasperation rise up and be our reaction? Or are we going to choose to remind ourselves that perhaps we can respond with kindness, a smile and a "yes" to God, and let ourselves be Christ, reacting with patience and love?
"I can all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).
Consecrate yourself to our Blessed Mother (there are many more opportunities to begin the 33-day consecration that ends on a feast day of our Lady), and please continue to pray that our bishops will consecrate our nation to the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Our Lady of America.
Pray for one another during this last week of Advent as we all prepare our hearts and our homes for the Christ Child. Ask St. Joseph, Her most chaste spouse, to also intercede for us in the Prayer to the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of America:
May your valiant Spouse, St. Joseph, with the holy angels and saints, assist you and us in "renewing the face of the earth." Then when our work is over, come, Holy Immaculate Mother, and as our Victorious Queen, lead us to the eternal kingdom, where your Son reigns forever as King. Amen.