I have a prayer card that I found a year or so ago when I was holy card shopping before Christmas. It has a lovely picture of Mary with her hands clasped and her gaze looking heavenward, looking serene in a white head covering and dress.
For some reason, I don’t find her unattainable, even though it’s unlikely that (a) my hair will ever be that orderly or (b) I will be able to keep an outfit as white as Mary’s is. Still, this Mary isn’t impossible for me to imagine. She doesn’t feel untouchable.
Maybe it’s because I kept her by my bed for a while, when I was having trouble sleeping. Maybe this Mary reminds me of the mom I want to be, or, for that matter, the woman I want to be.
I want to be a source of peace for those around me, but to do that, I have to have peace myself. And to have peace, I have to be listening to God.
For me, this takes shape as what might seem like a ridiculous amount of committed prayer time early in the morning. Some days, though, my kids get up early or they keep me up in the middle of the night, and I can’t carve out that early morning time.
I have felt quite a few stressors in my life in the last year. This holy card with Mary on it went into my pocket right after we found out about my brother-in-law’s untimely death over a year ago and stayed there as we wondered what was going on with our oldest daughter’s health.
When our old farmhouse tossed in some extra features recently, like croutons on the salad of stress, I gripped my rosary in my pocket and felt the edges of this holy card and knew that Mary was truly with me.
Oh, I haven’t told you the title of Mary on this holy card, have I? Our Lady of Mental Peace.
Yeah, I know. Doesn’t seem to be a coincidence, does it?
There’s a lovely prayer on the back, and I invite you to pray it with me. I have searched, but there’s not really a lot of history on this title of Mary. She has history with me, though, and she’s a new favorite nickname for my heavenly Mother.
Mother of Tranquility and Mother of Hope, look upon me in this time of my weakness and unrest. Teach my searching heart to know that God’s love for me is unchanging and unchangeable and that true human love can only begin and grow by touching His love. Let your gentle peace which this world cannot give be always with me, and help me to bring this same peace into the lives of others. Our Lady of Mental Peace, pray for me. Amen.
May Our Lady of Mental Peace stroke your forehead and offer you the calming presence of Her Son.
The image I used is from DiscountCatholicStore.com, where this card is for sale.
Thank you! I copied this for my little daily prayer notebook. Just the ticket. 🙂
I have the same reaction to an icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa. My first reaction was that it was ugly, Mary was, well, scrawny but then I did some research and have grown to love this image of Mary. The real Virgin Mary would have been dark skinned and she would have been slender. Food was not that plentiful 2000 years ago to most Jews in the Holy Land. Life was not easy at that time. This image of Mary is the one that I carry with me and look at each day.
Thanks for sharing, George! What a lovely reflection you had!