April 12 - Our Lady of Charity (Cobre, Cuba)

Our Lady of Guadalupe Delivered Me

I had been a Catholic for about ten years--a very enthusiastic adult convert from a Jewish background--but I had never really warmed up to Mary. I believed all the right things and tried to practice various "devotions" (rosary, brown scapular, etc.) but somehow it all seemed unreal. I envied cradle Catholics who had a loving relationship with her from childhood and really felt that they had a Mother in Heaven. For a while I fell under the influence of some Catholics whose whole spiritual life revolved around the Blessed Virgin. They put a lot of pressure on me to join their group and make a consecration to Mary according to the way of Saint Louis de Montfort. I felt this path to be very foreign to me, and the whole thing made me unhappy, but I did ask Our Lord to show me if it was what He wanted. In the midst of my confusion someone brought a pilgrim image of Our Lady of Guadalupe to our Church and I went to see her. As the life-sized image was carried past me I felt a stream of love going from my heart to Mary, and without words or even ideas, something was communicated to me. Put into words, it might sound like this: "You already have a devotion to me in your heart, even if you don't usually feel it. You don't have to express it the way the de Montfort people do, or follow the spirituality that works for them. Your relationship with me is just fine--nothing is the matter with it." After that I relaxed, and little by little Mary found her proper place in my life, inwardly and outwardly, without my having to worry about it.

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