In the little pouch in which I keep my rosary, I have a small medallion with an image of Our Lady holding Baby Jesus. On the reverse side are the words, “My Mother, My Confidence.”
Those four words have become one of my favorite prayers. I say them every time I pull out the rosary and whenever I feel nervous or unsettled or uneasy.
Several times a day every day for the last six or seven weeks I have been uttering that simple statement as I face the uncertainty of living this time of isolation and self quarantine in an effort to avoid coronavirus infection.
My Blessed Mother is my confidence as I face my fears of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This Friday, May 1, Archbishop Wilton Gregory will join bishops throughout the United States and Canada in re-consecrating our two countries to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. At 3 p.m. that day, our archbishop and his brother bishops will basically turn to Our Lady and ask her maternal protection as they proclaim that she is indeed the mother and confidence of of our nations not only in this time of distress, but always and forever.
Looking to Mary was recommended by Jesus Himself as He hung on the cross. His words to His Apostle John - “Behold your Mother” - were directed to us as much as they were to John.
Indeed Mary is our mother, and who does not turn to his or her mother when anxious or worried or in need of assistance?
St. Teresa of Calcutta said that “if you ever feel distressed during your day, call upon Our Lady - just say this simple prayer: ‘Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now.’ I must admit this prayer has never failed me.”
St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, the holy priest martyred at Auschwitz, once said we should “never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did. Jesus honored her before all ages, and will honor her for all ages.”
As he re-consecrates the United States to Our Lady, Archbishop Gregory will be doing a great service for all of us because he will be drawing us closer not only to Mary, but to Jesus as well.
St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort, that great 18th century promoter of love for the Blessed Virgin who wrote True Devotion to Mary, observed that “the more one is consecrated to Mary, the more one is consecrated to Jesus.” He wrote that consecration to Our Lady "consists in giving oneself entirely to Mary in order to belong entirely to Jesus through her.”
Why do I look forward to Friday's rededication of our country to Mary and put much faith and trust in it? Consider Mary's own words from almost 500 years ago when she appeared to (now Saint) Juan Diego at Guadalupe: “Do not be distressed and afraid. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the fountain of your joy? Are you not in the fold of my mantle, in the cradle of my arms?"
How could I respond with anything but a heartfelt “Yes, indeed, you are my mother and you are the fountain of my joy and I rely on your protection. You are My Mother, My Confidence!”
(Richard Szczepanowski serves as managing editor of the Catholic Standard newspaper and website of the Archdiocese of Washington.)