This past week I was pleasantly surprised by a somewhat unexpected visit from my spiritual director (a priest). He was with some family members, who were visiting from out of the country, showing them the sites of our area. During their visit, we were blessed by private Masses, along with one wonderful evening of having our new house blessed, followed by dessert.
My children were so pleased to go to room to room, following this beloved priest, as he sprinkled holy water in each of their rooms, along the stairs, in every nook and cranny they suggested. After we settled back into the living room, my 3-year-old daughter snuggled up to this priest, which took me by surprise. This is the daughter who loves her personal space. This particular daughter is not particularly affectionate. This is the same daughter who usually wipes off people’s kisses and frowns at anyone trying to talk to her!
And so I had to wonder: “How much of this has to do with the priest? Or is it really and truly Blessed Mother she recognizes with him and in him?” I really felt that she was snuggling up to Blessed Mother! This priest strives to live in communion with our Blessed Mother. This priest directs me on how to live in communion of life with Christ through His Blessed Mother. And so I was convinced my little one sensed Her presence.
During dessert, Father shared some photos he had taken during their excursions of the day. His favorite photo was taken at a church, which so happened to be where my husband’s parents had met and later married over 50 years ago. In the picture, he was standing beside the church’s statue of Our Lady. And he was beaming. He raved about how beautiful She was. His pure joy over his Mother made me look at my own relationship with Her. It challenged me to look at how much (or how little, really) I value my relationship with Her. At times I hold Her at arm’s length, appreciating the gift She is in my mind, but not fully embracing this truth in my heart. By the end of the evening, I was pleasantly uncomfortable with the awareness that I waste this gift at times. I was grateful that this awareness was brought to my attention, and that I was also inspired with a desire to live more fully in communion with Her – not so much as an idea, but as a reality.
Today we celebrate Her birthday, and as I shared this news with my children this morning, I again reminded myself of my desire to fall in love with Her. As S.C. Biela writes in Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock, “The easiest and surest way to arrive at falling in love with God is to fall in love with Mary first. When you fall in love with Her, you will want to disappear and to die to yourself like She did.
…Likewise, you will then desire to be incapable of your own action, and instead you will desire to fulfill God’s will, just as Mary did.” 
Happy Birthday, Blessed Mama!