As much as I was trying hard not to let it happen, anxiety started creeping into my Christmas break as January got closer and closer. I knew January was going to be a busy month work-wise and kid-wise. I was fighting hard not to lose the joy of Christmas, but as usual, when “I” fight something “I” eventually lose!
To battle the obvious scenarios I had in my over-analyzing brain, I started praying. I prayed every day that I wouldn’t let January get me down, that I wouldn’t experience anxiety and late nights and stress. It seemed that as soon as I left the church, I would be talking to someone and hear myself saying how stressed I was. Ah, ye of little faith! Each time I admitted to my anxiety, I was made aware of my lack of trust. I didn’t believe my prayers would or could be answered by my All-powerful God. I went to confession on just this point.
But, there was something else Blessed Mother wanted me to see about myself. It wasn’t only my lack of trust, it was the more deeply hidden truth that I want to be perfect. I was praying not to be stressed – but why? What was my goal? Was I seeking God’s glory in my prayers? No, I was seeking a way to mask my weakness. It was so subtle, but my prayers were actually using the “spirituality” against itself. I was “admitting to my weakness” (anxiety, lack of trust, self-centeredness…) but not so that God’s mercy could embrace me. No. My goal was to be relieved of my weakness so that I wouldn’t be humiliated by it. I was begging to climb the road of perfection!
The road I am on, through communion of life with Christ through Mary, is NOT the road to perfection. It is the road to childlike trust and humility. I am specifically on this road because I am imperfect; I am a sinner; I am full of pride! I tried on my own for years to conquer my weak tendencies and I failed. Then, the words from Scripture touched me very deeply: “Behold, your mother.” My heart was opened toward this new way for me – a way in which Blessed Mother picks me up and carries me toward her Son.
It should have been no surprise to me that I was manipulating my prayers, because I still am imperfect. I still am a sinner. I am still full of pride. My surprise confirms this! But, the surprise exposes once again my BLESSED WEAKNESS that is my ticket to the Arms of Mary. This reminder is the fruit of my entrustment. When I start to climb the hills toward perfection, it is absolute grace that knocks me down and reminds me who I really am. Thank you Blessed Mother for rescuing me – all praise and honor be to my Lord, Jesus Christ!
Just as she did in the case of St. Juan Diego, the Blessed Mother places you too on her back and carries you through your life as someone defeated by your own pride. While carrying you on her back, she unceasingly adores her Son, Jesus Christ, your Savior who constantly blesses both her and you whom she carries as her beloved child. You should not forget why you are being carried: you lost the fight; you could not manage on your own. Without her you would have never advanced from the point of defeat. (S.C. Biela, The Two Pillars, [Ft.Collins, CO: IAMF, 2006], 37.)