As her relationship with Our Lady grew, Elizabeth Leon realized how many blessings in her life came from Mary's hand and through her voice.
I didn’t always know Mary. I was raised Catholic, so I knew about her, but she was remote—or so I thought. In college, a friend recommended a book about Marian apparitions. As a wife and mother, I learned to pray the Rosary with my children. We memorized the Angelus, and I bought a small statue of Mary to place in our home. However, I still related to Mary as an intellectual concept, not as a mother with whom I could have a relationship.
After an unwanted and unexpected divorce, I found myself completely undone. Terrified for my children’s suffering, I opened my heart to Mary and begged her to be with them. She became my refuge, and I began to believe that Mary could be more than just a far-off maternal figure. I wanted her to be close to my children when they had visitation with their father and to wrap them in the mantle of her love and protection. I needed her to make up for all my mistakes as a mother, especially in my grief. I turned to Mary in desperation and she responded with great generosity. Not only did she step in to protect my children, but she began to care for me in my struggles with shame and fear. My divorce didn’t just break my family; it had broken me too. I needed a mother’s love and comfort to help put me back together.
Jesus, I hear Your Mother calling me to her—my refuge. Can I let her mother me? Can I let her give me the tenderness I am longing for in my messy, broken heart? Mary, I need you. Will you come? Are you here? Can you help me? I long to be accepted and understood, to be loved and held as a daughter. Will you let me into your family, Mary? Is there even a place for me?
God is so good. He does not leave us without comfort in this valley of tears. He gives us his holy mother. As my relationship with Mary grew, I slowly realized how many blessings in my life came from her hand and through her voice.
Our Lady Undoer of Knots was my refuge and advocate during a terrible custody battle. She is the tender mother that sits with you on the kitchen floor gently working a brush through a tangled mess of hair or gently teasing apart a jumbled pile of necklaces. So close and patient.
Our Lady of Guadalupe offered me comfort and protection in the folds of her mantle during my healing from divorce. She is waiting for you as she waited patiently for Juan Diego and for me. She longs to bring you great graces and draw you closer to her son.
Our Lady of Sorrows met me in grief as my heart was pierced over the death of my marriage and the death of my son. In her suffering, she teaches us to unite our sufferings to her sorrowful heart and to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Our Lady of the Rosary became my daily devotion and my protection against the attacks and snares of the devil.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel invited me to a total consecration to Jesus through Mary.
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal gave me confidence in her ever-present protection and intercession on our behalf.
Our Lady of Providence inspired hope and trust in God’s faithfulness when it was hard to understand the suffering and disappointments that He allowed.
Our Lady of Tears taught me to pray the Chaplet of Tears and allow the Lord to receive every part of my broken heart.
Our Lady, Rosa Mistica inspired me to pray for priests and religious sisters.
Our Lady of Fatima encouraged me to offer reparation for my sins and those of the whole world.
Mary is a woman and mother like no other. She reaches across space and time, never impersonal or remote. She is close and tender and longs to cradle us in her love. When I sought her, she came flooding into my life and met me in the particularity of my need. Like Jesus, she knows our names and our stories. She loves us with a mother’s heart and calls us to come close and let her soothe our deepest wounds. She surrendered to the Father’s plan for her life and intercedes for us as we do the same.
Have you made room for Mary in your life? She is ready and waiting to reveal herself to you and walk with you through this valley of tears. I pray in this month of Mary that her maternal presence becomes for you what it has become for me: my life, my sweetness, and my hope.
Copyright 2022 Elizabeth Leon
Images: Canva; Our Lady of Providence photo copyright 2019 Holy Cross Family Ministries, all rights reserved.
About the Author
Elizabeth Leon is a Catholic writer and speaker from Ashburn, Virginia and the author of Let Yourself Be Loved: Big Lessons from a Little Life. She desires to inspire others to find freedom and healing through Christ. She and her husband are the parents of 10 children, 5 of hers, 4 of his, and their son, John Paul Raphael who died in 2018.