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Photo: Dan Valenti
Brother Ken Dos Santos, MIC, made his perpetual vows on Aug. 16. He advises people to open up to the Blessed Mother. "Open your heart to her," he says. "If you have even a small openness to Mary, she will come to you."
by Br. Ken Dos Santos, MIC
My relationship with Mary is a living relationship with a real person. It's not abstract at all. I look upon Mary the way I do my parents. She is there to guide and direct me to Jesus. It's a tender, motherly relationship — loving and gentle. I can see her hand in whatever is going on in my life.
I speak to her as if she is my mother, not in dry, forced prayers but in conversation. Imagine a kid talking to his mom. That will give you the idea. It's definitely a dialogue. For example, if something is going on in my life — it could be a problem, an obstacle, or even something joyous or a decision I must make — I ask her for guidance.
It's like my relationship with Jesus. When I pray about a situation, I get the answer quickly. It doesn't fail. The answer to what I'm praying about quickly comes up in some fashion. It may not be the answer I envisioned, but it's the right answer. It's always the right answer when you ask God, and you trust. So the dialogue with Mary and Jesus consists of this: I pray, they answer. It's specific direction.
Mary has been a constant in my life, but for a bunch of years, I didn't pray the Rosary. I may not have been there for her, but she was always there for me. I did not listen. God brought me back to my senses and woke me up through a string of unemployment. I lost my job as an engineer. I thought that was my vocation, how I could best use my gifts. I had a good corporate job, made money, owned a house, and had all the new toys I wanted.
However, I had become so focused on this lifestyle that I forgot God, Mary, the Rosary, all of it. When I lost my job, though, He woke me up. In desperation, I began praying the Rosary. There was nothing else I could do, nowhere else I could turn. That's when I started thinking about becoming a priest.
The Rosary is a meditation on the mysteries in the life of Jesus. For me, meditating on the mysteries keeps the Rosary fresh. I envision pictures in my mind of the particular mystery. Sometimes, they become animated, like watching a movie. As the images show up, I say the prayers. It's a little tricky to "see" the images and meditate at the same time, but that's what works for me.
I prefer praying the Rosary with the Marian community. I pray it on my own when I have to because of my schedule, but when I do that, I notice that I tend to wander. Praying with my brothers keeps me focused.
I pray to Mary from the heart. That's my advice for anyone wanting to start, renew, or freshen a relationship with the Blessed Mother. Open your heart to her. Pray the Rosary. You have to have openness. If you have even a small openness to Mary, she will come to you.
Brother Ken Dos Santos, MIC, is a seminarian studying in Washington, D.C. Please help us educate the Marian priests of tomorrow.