From “Holding Mary’s Hand“:
I can’t count how many times in a day that I feel a hand in mine. Often, it’s the hand of a young child, a daughter or a niece or a small visitor. They reach up, with complete trust, and let their hand be covered by mine. There’s never a hesitation. They never look to make sure that I’m going to accept their hand. There’s never a moment of regret…for either of us.
Joseph Langford reports in Mother Teresa: In the Shadow of Our Lady, that Mother Teresa always carried a rosary in her hand. When asked why she carried it, when she couldn’t possibly be praying it, she replied that she was holding Mary’s hand.
From “Our Lady of the Rosary“:
I was broken. I don’t know how else to describe the person I was when I sat in the church on Mothers Day 2000. As Father preached — in his usual, ordinary way — something in me just snapped. Slowly, the tears started flowing. It didn’t take long for the crying to grow into sobbing, complete with snot and gasps. I had to leave the sanctuary.
Sitting on the choir steps, in the tiny vestibule, I couldn’t even wonder what was wrong with me. On the ride home, my boyfriend never asked what was wrong. He didn’t crack jokes or try to make it better. His mom, who drove with us, chattered about the spring weather, the lovely day, the breakfast menu.
I look back on that day as a turning point, as a time when I was touched. In the following months, I would begin RCIA classes at our parish and then, at the following Easter vigil Mass (2001), be baptized and confirmed.
As a new member of the Catholic Church, there were many “secret handshakes” that baffled me. There were a lot of questions I didn’t even know I should ask and a lot of things I didn’t learn until I was hired as staff at our parish a few years later.
Prayer was an area that was particularly interesting to me. I was comforted by one prayer in particular: the Hail Mary. When I couldn’t find the words to ask for comfort, to look for guidance, to thank God for his generosity, the Hail Mary waited as a 41-word answer, a prayer easily remembered and poetic to say.