Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

A reflection on the word “FOR”

By Lisa Mladinich

If we want peace, we must learn to forget ourselves and serve.

So many people in our world are in constant pain because they live their lives in a state of perpetual uncertainty. Where did I come from? Where am I going? What is my life FOR?

They waste time rebelliously seeking status instead of meaning, pleasure instead of joy. They proudly resist the holy submission that would bring them lasting peace, while precious years roll by in an agony of emptiness as they drag others down with them — the very ones they were made to love and serve.

Like a good mother, our Blessed Mother bends to teach us that we are made FOR God; to love and serve Him in this life and to spend all of eternity with Him in the joy of heaven.

Mary is a perfect model of loving service. Everything she does is FOR someone else. Because her soul is filled with grace, there is no room FOR sin to take root. Her self has been abandoned in a paradoxical love story in which she has let go of everything except her love FOR God and her trust in His love FOR her. God responds by filling her to overflowing with His glory.

Mother Teresa, perhaps one of the greatest saints of all time, was known to frequently pray, “Mary, give me your Heart: so beautiful, so pure, so immaculate; your Heart so full of love and humility that I may be able to receive Jesus in the Bread of Life and love Him as you love Him and serve Him in the distressing guise of the poor.”

Mary does all for her Son. She does all for us. She is “for” us, watching over us, teaching us to live our lives more abundantly in Jesus Christ. We can ask her anything. Even to do those things we should do ourselves. We even ask her to pray FOR us!

To pray FOR someone is to give yourself in prayer on their behalf, but it is also to pray in their stead, to donate your own prayerfulness in their place. Our Lady is so worthy that her prayers FOR us outweigh all our limitations, engulfing our needs in her grace-filled pleas.

So what are we waiting for? Let us pray!

Mother Mary, we don’t pray to your Son with enough faith, hope, and love. So we ask you to pray FOR us.

Our prayers are like bruised apples, which you polish and carry to His throne on a golden platter. You make them beautiful FOR us, so that He is pleased to receive them. Pray FOR us.

We are small and afraid of so many things, so we seek the tender protection of your mother’s heart. We need your help, most powerful Virgin. Pray FOR us.

We fear to die alone, and we long for heaven. We dread the pangs of hell. Pray FOR us!

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray FOR us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

“In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for (your) guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal.”

–Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Father and Doctor of the Church

Lisa Mladinich is the founder of Amazing Catechists and the author of Be an Amazing Catechist: Inspire the Faith of Children and Be an Amazing Catechist: Sacramental Preparation. She has a weekly column at Patheos, “Be an Amazing Catechist,” and I’ve probably forgotten at least a few other things. What I love about Lisa, though, is her tender heart, her sincere approach to faith, and her honest writing.

image credit: stock.xchng