|by Elisabetta Sirani|
I’ve never been part of the Mary fangirl camp. I think Mary is beautiful and powerful and awesome, but I’ve never felt a particular connection to her. Marion theology was one of the last things I came to accept about the Church. I have trouble connecting with the saints, a holdover of my Protestantism. People often introduce saint intersession thusly: “You’d ask a friend to pray for you, so why not ask the same of a saint in heaven?” Only, I don’t ask people to pray for me, so it all feels a bit odd. I had come to terms with Mary with the assurance that she always wants to point to her son, so if all the Marion stuff (prayers, visions, consecrations, etc) distracted me, I could simply ignore it with her understanding.
Only I couldn’t ignore it this summer. I did a daily rosary with my team, I led the girls’ group in Hail Marys, and I actually taught the rosary class three times a day. And I could teach it sincerely. I’m pretty sure I said, “Wait, where’s my rosary?” only eight or nine times a day. But the summer of Mary did not bring my any closer to her. If anything, I got burnt out; it just all seemed a bit much. The rosary is a lot of Hail Marys, and I’d much rather spend the time doing the chaplet of divine mercy. I can see where the criticisms of saint veneration become accusations of worship to outsiders, because some people do seem to put more time and energy into their patron saint (Mary in particular) than to God.
I’ve tried to get into this aspect of religion. I’ve been studying various saints, and I find them inspirational and great role models. I’ve even asked for their prayers more and more. But then there are days like the past two Fridays (the Assumption of Mary into heaven and the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven). I’ll go to church because I’m supposed to, but I’m just not into it. Frankly, it’s just not that important to me on the inspirational or devotional level. I’m starting to love some saints, but Mary still eludes me.
I still maintain that I shouldn’t feel pressured to focus on Mary more; I should let whatever we have develop naturally. I don’t have to force this devotion on my myself. I don’t want to get so caught up or frustrated over it that I lose sight of Christ. My devotions should be about where I am in my path, who is helping me most at the time, and what is drawing me closest to him. With summer gone, I can put away the rosary for a while.