“Do Whatever He Tells You”

"Marriage at Cana" by Gerard David

“Marriage at Cana” by Gerard David

In full disclosure, I am not a Marian scholar.  I am not fully versed in all of the Church doctrine about Mary, and how that applies to me as a lay person in the Church.  I am approaching this topic and series as a faithful daughter who wants to grow in wisdom and understanding.  My friend, who is of a different faith, asked me to write about the Rosary, and the impact on my life.  Here goes…

My grandmother, a convert, taught me how to pray the Rosary.  It was this time of my life where my understanding of Mary began to take form.  I shared a room with my grandmother.  At bedtime, she would take my hands in the dark, wrap them through hers and begin the repetitive prayer of the Rosary.  Many nights, I would fall asleep to the soothing sound of my grandmother’s beautiful voice.

Additionally, Mom would tell me, “Jesus refuses nothing to His mother,” at critical times in my life.  One time, she was dropping me off at college.  She said, “You have to know that Our Lady is like your Mom.  And remember, Jesus never refuses His mother.  So you can always ask her to pray for you.”

The next time I remember my mom saying this was when my husband was in a coma.  We weren’t seeing much healing.  For sure, Steve was headed to Heaven.  I was scared.  It was the same scared I felt when Steve and I would travel in remote Oklahoma for Marriage Encounter events and run into thunder storms.  The kids would be FRANTIC.  To calm everyone down, we would start reciting the Rosary.  Soon, everyone was focused on Jesus, through Mary. Though the storm was still brewing, the repetition of prayer and promise calmed everyone.

My mom asked me, “Have you been praying your Rosary?”  I realized I had not, and she said, “You know – Jesus never refuses His mother.”  What did this mean??

One day, our parish priest visited at the hospital.  I asked him, “What does it mean that Jesus refuses nothing to His mother?”  What he told me next lifted a veil from my eyes.  He told me of Jesus’ first miracle… the water to wine at Cana.  I had heard this story for years, of course.  But I was totally focused on Jesus alone during the miracle.  Fr. King was inviting me to consider Mary’s role in the miracle.

“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.  Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.  When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, how does your concern affect me?  My hour has not yet come.’  His mother said to the servers, ‘Do whatever he tells you’”  (John 2: 1-5).

STOP RIGHT THERE!  These words blew my socks off!  Before getting to the miracle, the author of John spotlights the role of the MOTHER OF OUR SAVIOR!  And, she had a large role in His miracle.

I realized Jesus did not initiate the miracle without urging from YOU KNOW WHO!!!  MARY!  HIS MOTHER!  Our Lady participated in Jesus’ first miracle by interceding on behalf of the hosts of the wedding!

The light bulbs were going off in my head.  I had embraced intercessory prayer years before this, and had been asking Padre Pio’s intercession for Steve.  But with all of the criticism about Catholic devotion to Mary from other religions, I kept my devotion to her pretty surface.  What was being spotlighted for me was, yes, I could pray DIRECTLY to Jesus, AND ask Mary’s intercession – Mary, who is right next to Jesus in HEAVEN!

That night, I did two things… After my last ICU visit to Steve that night, I returned to the lobby and I surrendered Steve to God’s care.  I asked for His will to be done.  The second thing I did was prayed the Rosary, reflecting deeply on Christ’s suffering (Sorrowful Mysteries).  I then asked Mary, as my mother and also Mother of God, to approach her Son on my behalf to ask if Steve’s life could be spared, if it were His will, and regardless of the answer to that prayer, to give my family the faith to move mountains.  Two days later, Steve started making marked improvements.  So did my faith.

Praying the Rosary during traumatic circumstances did a few things for me:

  1. Reminded me of the Communion of the Saints – those in Heaven who can intercede on our behalf, just like our trusted friends on earth can pray for us in a tough situation.  This gave me an understanding of Heaven and earth coming together.  Do I go straight to Jesus?  You betcha!  AND I go to my friends, both in Heaven and on earth, and especially to Our Lady, the Mother of our beautiful Savior!
  2. Gave me an understanding that at the center of the “Hail Mary” prayer is the “FRUIT” of Mary’s womb…JESUS!  Mary’s purpose is to lead us to her SON, our Savior!
  3. Mary is an amazing intercessor and I can trust the wisdom of the Church in the prayers, devotions and love to Mary.
  4. The Rosary is a deeply meditative reflection of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and His public ministry.  If said with intention, I learn so much about Christs’ redemptive love for me.  Not just a cognitive understanding, but a deep in my heart and soul understanding.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us!

This is the first in a series on The Mary Journey by Mary Wallace.

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About the Author

Mary Wallace, PhD, is a devout Catholic wife of 20 years, mother of 4 daughters, and college administrator for 19 years. Mary obtained her doctorate in Human Resource Education and Workforce Development, and has a particular research interest in faith and work issues. Her dissertation contains research insight from women working in the public sector who bring their faith to work, and using it to inform their leadership. It is through this research that Mary was able to start the blog, The Working Catholic Mom (www.theworkingcatholicmom.com).

Mary is also the co-host of a Catholic radio show: Faith and Good Counsel, on Baton Rouge Catholic Community Radio. The radio show is focused on women living full lives of faith.

As a college administrator for over 19 years, Mary has worked with a wide range of young adults. Spending the first 14 years in the college housing industry, she has a knowledge and experience of working with complex environment, large staffs, and multi-million dollar budgets. Using this knowledge, she has led numerous staffs through strategic planning processes, performance management, training and development, and developing human capital. Her current role focuses on student leadership development, service/volunteerism, and general involvement on a college campus. Mary approaches her leadership with faith as a foundation, though her employment has been mainly with public institutions of higher education.

In 2002, Mary became the main wage earner in her family, when her husband, Steven, became disabled as a result of a traumatic brain injury after a ruptured colon left him sceptic and in the hospital for an entire summer, followed by a year of neuro-rehabilitation. The Wallace’s focused on their faith, and discerned each step of a new journey, full of Christian suffering and joy. During this time, Mary was thankful for her education, and God-given skills and talents to work, and to earn an income to support her family. This is also a time Mary learned to bring her faith to work, in a way that integrated her faith and leadership approach.

Mary’s work brings her great joy, but the greatest joy she has is through her faith and her family. She is a devoted wife, and mother of 4 daughters. It is this role that Mary feels her best leadership shines. She spends lots of time in service with her church, and volunteering for different youth events with her children. Mary is an avid reader and writer, and focuses her reading attention on women’s interest in the Catholic Church, with particular interest in Blessed John Paul II writings and philosophies about women. Mary also enjoys dancing with her girls in her living room (when no one is looking), and cooking simple satisfying meals for the entire family and all of their friends.

Mary is available to speak to your group. Check out ICL's speaker pages for her topics and to book Mary.

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