She’s following me. Or, am I following her? Is this a dismissed coincidence or a spiritual engagement? You be the judge.
My mother many years ago gave me the prayer given to us by Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico.
Years later, I get the chaplain position at Alexian Village. I ask the CEO for a week off between jobs. He said, “No.” They needed me right away because of the aging priest having daily Mass. I arrive on my first day and preparing for Mass discover that it’s December 12 – her feast day. “Hmmm,” I think to myself.
More years pass and the diocese invites me to be a temporary administrator at Queen of Apostles in Pewaukee. The pastor is falsely accused of child abuse but it takes eighteen months for a mistrial. I walk into the sacristy the first day and on the back wall is a huge picture of “you know who.” No “hmmm” this time. This time it was a smile. The 2 1/2 years of waiting for a trial left the parish bereft for obvious reasons. My personality and style helped the parish through those dark months. (They even began to chuckle during my homilies.) Again, who’s following whom?” I called myself “Fr. Doorstop,” keeping the doors open for the hopefully returning pastor. It worked.
The diocese offers me your (our) wonderful intimate parish. After a few months, a parishioner stops me in the parking lot after Mass and proceeds to tell me how much Our Lady influenced and affected her family over the years. I didn’t interject with my run-ins but loved hearing her family stories. This time I walked away with a quiet, broad smile.
Here’s my mother’s handed-down prayer from Our Lady.
“Have you forgotten? I am your Mother. You are not alone. You are under my protection. Anything you need, ask me. Do not worry about anything. Am I not here – I who am your Mother? Have you forgotten? I love you, and you are under my protection.”
It hangs in my bedroom. I haven’t forgotten and I’m confident that I never will.