Husband & Wife Articles


 

Mama Mary, Pray for Us

The Blessed Mother has universal appeal

By Ashley Kepper

My husband and I attend a small parish named after Our Lady, and do not often see new faces in the congregation. So a recent Sunday was particularly unusual.

I noticed a mother and father and six young children on one side of the church. The mother was wearing a veil and the children were in beautiful, modest dresses and sharp-looking suits. They were extremely respectful throughout the Mass.

Behind us, sat another new face; it was a beautiful young woman who looked to be in her mid-20s. She was wearing a short dress with spaghetti straps and had at least five visible tattoos. Her hair was died dark on top with blonde roots, and she wore dark, visible make-up.

After Mass, we typically take our daughter to the outdoors Lourdes grotto, where she gives hugs and kisses to “Mama Mary.” This Sunday, both the reverent, large family and the young girl were near the statue. I watched the girl touch the figure of Our Lady gently and look at her lovingly, obviously drawn by its beauty. She asked the large family to take a picture of her with the statue.

I then watched the large family approach the grotto. The children were obviously familiar with Our Lady of Lourdes and showed great reverence toward her.

My husband and I introduced ourselves to the large family, and also the young woman, and welcomed them to the parish. In talking to the woman, I learned that she had a past and felt the need for God in her life. From the little bit of her story that she shared with me, it was obvious that she needed Our Lord’s healing presence. Our Lady was drawing her to her Son. The girl saw the immaculate beauty of Our Blessed Mother, even without “knowing” her.

This meeting is a reminder of the universal appeal of Our Lady, no matter our circumstances. Her witness and prayers are a source of strength during days when we’re stretched beyond what we believe we can endure.

We’re living in a culture in which it is counter-cultural to raise children according to the teachings of the Church. It is important to entrust our children to Our Lady’s protection and care, and to teach our children that she is the ultimate example of femininity and beauty.

If left up to the culture, our daughters would be dragged into the world of instant gratification, darkness and sin. We live in a world in which Hollywood stars glorify vice and criticize virtue. Barbie’s closet mimics that of a prostitute. Innocent baby dolls have been replaced by the scantily clothed, disrespectful Bratz collection. Clothing stores target young girls with college fashions.

While it’s a challenge to teach our daughters to understand their nature and dignity according to God’s plan, Our Blessed Mother remains a constant and powerful witness to truth and goodness. Below are some suggestions for families to grow deeper in their relationship with Our Lady:

Consecrate your children to the Blessed Mother and the Holy Family.

Enthrone your home to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Pray the Rosary as a family.

Read about Mary’s important role in Scripture with your family.

Ask for Mary’s intercession whenever you hear an ambulance or siren while driving. Soon, your children will remind you to pray when they hear the siren or see an ambulance.

Watch children’s videos and read books about the Blessed Mother as a family. The CCC of America offers wonderful animated films for all ages.

It is important to include statues and images of Mary in your home, particularly in your child’s room.

Light candles and pray as a family in front of Marian images at your parish.

Talk with your children about the important role Our Lady plays in our lives.

Catholic websites, such as CatholicIcing.com, offer ideas for children’s crafts and traditions that honor Our Lady.

Incorporate a form of “Mary” in your child’s name.

Find fun ways to include the Blessed Mother in holidays. For example, St. Nicholas always leaves a little Marian doll in my daughter’s shoe on December 6.

Visit Marian shrines and apparition sites as a family.

Celebrate Marian feast days (Our Lady and I share a birthday on September 8, and we make sure to have blue Blessed Mother cupcakes and flowers in her honor).

Remember, Mama Mary’s radiating beauty and virtue offer a holy standard for all girls to model, regardless of their age.

Ashley Kepper and her husband, Jimmy, live in St. Marys, Ga., with their 2-year-old daughter.