Hail Mary!


I rolled down my window and let the afternoon sun and wind whip through the car. My day had started miserable and now out of the blue it had turned for the better. As soon as I left my house in the morning, I spilled coffee on my shirt and I groaned as my phone dinged as a slew of emails, all needing my immediate attention, came into my inbox.

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I had been working a ton of extra hours, getting into work early and staying late. I needed a break. Somewhere in the middle of a crummy day though things began to turn. I could see a glimmer of hope. I got some positive feedback from a client. My project team made progress on a long-standing, difficult problem. And to top it off, two late evening meetings had been cancelled and I would surprisingly be able to get home at a decent time.

With the meeting burden off my back and miles passing by, my mood instantly shifted and I got to thinking about the quick prayer that I had said that morning on my way to work. I had said a simple Hail Mary.

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Throwing up a Hail Mary

Catholics hold a special place in our heart for Mary. She’s the mother of God and the mother of the church. We seek to be like Mary, to have her faith and fidelity to God. We don’t bow down or worship her like God, but we pray to honor her and ask for her intercession on our behalf.

In saying the Hail Mary, I prayed that she would pray for me and that my challenging day would miraculously become more bearable. With the day over, I got to thinking that maybe Mary really had interceded on my behalf. Every barrier seemed to magically turn from a mountain into an easily passable molehill.

In fact, I imagined Mary approaching Jesus. I assume she approached him before the party really got started, since that’s what I imagine heaven must be, one big party full of close friends and family. Hey it’s my dream of Heaven, I can make it whatever I want. I imagined Mary calling out for Jesus, not by his given name, but by a pet name, maybe “Lil’ Prince” or “My Babykins” or even “Sweetpea.” When I was little, my mother used to call me Pumpkin or Pudding. I’m 50 years old and she still calls me “Her Baby.” Why would it be any different for Jesus? In any event, I imagine, Mary calling out to her beloved Jesus and telling him that I had placed a special request for the day.

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Mary and Jesus

In my imaginary make-believe story, Jesus asks: “What’s he want this time?”

Mary goes, “Of course, he asked to win the Powerball.”

“Good grief, hasn’t he learned anything yet? My kingdom is more than a bunch of dollar bills for the taking. Doesn’t he remember that’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God! (Mark 10:25).”

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He pauses and then continues, “Just for that, make sure the Cub Scouts, Girls Scouts, and all the Little Leaguers in five counties stop by his house this fall with their fundraisers. That will show him.”

“Yes, yes, Jesus I know, but he seems like he could really use the help. He’s come to us in prayer. Can’t we just give him a small sign? You know best honey, but I think it will really work this time.”

“Mother, you always know how to get what you want. What am I going to do with you?”

“Oh Jesus, he won’t disappoint you this time, I’m sure of it.”

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Thankful all the same

Oh I’m sure it does not work like that, my understanding of the Catholic catechism is a wee bit off I’m sure, but I hope parts are true. I especially hope the part where Jesus loves us, forgives us for our sinfulness, and helps us on our journey.

I know one thing: I was certainly grateful for the gift and that’s what it was: a gift. I raced home tallying in my head all the things that I was grateful for, everything from having the love of friends and family; having a good job and career; to the chance to have a quiet, relaxing evening.

Life is challenging, but sometimes God gives us something little to cheer us up and get us back on track. I for one will take it and thank God for his abundant grace.

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