Amy Smith explains why, of the many titles of the Blessed Mother, she is particularly drawn to Our Lady of Hope.
Mother Mary has many titles to honor her, from Our Lady of Fatima to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
But I am particularly drawn to Our Lady of Hope.
Mary is the epitome of hope, from trusting God to work through her Yes to become the Mother of God to her unwavering confidence that the cross was not the end for her Son.
She knew that God had “a future with hope” (Jeremiah 29:11) in mind for her.
And even though she didn’t fully know what that meant in every circumstance, she lived hopefully, living out God’s will for her.
And she is always waiting to encourage us, her children, in hope. Her motherly love and heart compel her to come to our aid.
Looking back on my life, certain circumstances stand out as Marian moments. I know that Mary was there for me, interceding on my behalf, in little and big things. Sometimes it’s help with a journalism-related concern; sometimes it’s larger, such as aid with a big decision. You know those situations: Something occurs that could have only been possible with the help of Mother Mary.
In those moments, my heart immediately is filled with gratitude: Thank you, Mary!
The Memorare is my go-to Marian prayer because “never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.”
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
She has unraveled too many knots in my life to count! Sometimes when I am too weary to even pray a Memorare, I will implore: “Mary, fix these knots!” (Thank you, Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, for countless answers to my pleas.)
One of my favorite saints, St. Gianna, recognized the blessing of Mary’s aid in this prayer of consecration:
“O Mary, into your maternal hands I place myself, and I abandon myself completely, sure of obtaining whatever I ask of you. I trust in you because you are the sweet Mother; I confide in you because you are the Mother of Jesus. In this trust, I place myself, sure of being heard in everything; with this trust in my heart I greet you ‘my Mother, my trust’; I devote myself entirely to you, begging you to remember that I am yours, that I belong to you; keep me and defend me, O sweet Mary, and in every instant of my life, present me to your Son, Jesus.”
I delve into how Mary is a model for hope in my new book, The Plans God Has for You: Hopeful Lessons for Young Women, taking the Marian example to heart.
“Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
She has taught me what it means to truly reflect — such introspection kept her focused on God’s will and allowed her to trust God fully.
I strive to do that, too, as I discern how God is working the hopeful promise of Jeremiah 29:11 out in my life. And, thankfully, when I find myself unsure or overly worried, Mary is there to bolster me in hope.
I consider: What would Mary do in this situation? How would Mary respond?
She, of course, knew that keeping close to Christ was the answer to everything. And she helps me to do so, too.
As St. Thérèse put it so beautifully, “What a joy to remember that she is our Mother! Since she loves us and knows our weakness, what have we to fear?”
Or, as another beloved saint — Mother Teresa — once wrote, “Pray especially to our Blessed Mother Mary, placing all your intentions into her hands.”
Mary, model of hope, thank you for teaching us how to hope — pray for us!
Copyright 2020 Amy Smith
Image by John Salmon, CC BY SA 2.0
About the author: Amy Smith is associate editor of the National Catholic Register, where she edits features and likes to write about everything from hope and saints (her favorites are Thérèse and Gianna) to Jane Austen. She is the author of the new book The Plans God Has for You: Hopeful Lessons for Young Women (Emmaus Road Publishing, 2020).
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