A Mary Moment Monday post

I’ve been writing at least weekly about Mary for quite some time, and especially with my projects in the last year, I’ve “met” many different titles and apparitions of the Blessed Virgin.

In each of these “meetings” with Mary, I have found myself tugged and pulled and, well, changed a little bit. Our Lady of La Salette, whose feast we celebrated yesterday, is no different. In fact, rereading what I wrote about her last year, I started humming and downloading the song I reference. I also started thinking about small town life.

Just yesterday afternoon, wailing out some of my favorite songs as I powerwashed my porch (um, yeah, finally starting the project I was going to do months ago), I thought about growing up in Small Town America. We lived in the country until I was a senior in high school, not in town proper, but I spent a good portion of my time — especially into my teen years — wanting out of the small town.

Why, I wondered to myself yesterday, did I want out so badly? What was I seeking? Where was I heading? Was it just typical teenage rebellion?

I don’t know. But here I am, back in a small town (in the country, not in town proper). I can gripe and laugh about the shortcomings of this small town life, and I can also pontificate about what I love and cherish.

The way the sun filters through the leaves in the tree outside my office windows as the combine across the road works its way across the corn field? Definitely worth mentioning. The fact that we can stretch and bend and not worry about neighbors overhearing our, ahem, conversations with the dogs (or each other)? A big plus in my book. The miles I have to travel to get milk when I realize at 5:00 that I’m out and dinner must be served? Well, let’s keep things positive, shall we?

It’s so easy to look at small towns as quaint scenery or inconvenient slow-downs as we rush through to get to our final destination. Maybe they’re only important and critical to the people who make up their three-digit populations.

And Mary.

When she has taken the time to visit, it’s often been to out-of-the-way places. Like the hill country in Judah. Like the tiny village of La Salette, France.

I can’t help but think of Mary as a small town girl. She probably commiserates with those of us who longed for the experience of getting out of said small town, but I can’t help but think that she also appreciates the longing others of us have for the wide open spaces, the comfortable familiarity, the smallness of our small town lives.

Something about my small town life inspires prayer in a different way. And that’s my take-away from Our Lady of La Salette:

…it’s easy to overlook a simple component that Our Lady of La Salette reminds all of us, and that she admonished the two children:  we should be in prayer morning and night.  This is easier said than done in our hustle and bustle society.  If time is a problem, the Virgin Mary continued, at least say an Our Father and a Hail Mary.  Perhaps she knew that women like myself, bearing the burden of busy, would roll our eyes at the idea of continual prayer.  “When will I get my work done?” I imagine myself asking her.  “Just say an Our Father and a Hail Mary, dear,” she replied through the La Salette apparition.

You can read my full column here. And it’s worth taking some time to meditate on what Our Lady of La Salette had to say in her messages.