The 'Glue That Holds My Life Together'
By Br. Angelo Casimiro, MIC
As a Marian, Our Lady plays a central role in my life. I pray every morning to Our Lady, and in the manner recommended by St. Louis de Montfort I consecrate myself to her each day. Basically, I give her my entire life, one day at a time.
I say a daily Rosary, but even before [I joined the Marians of the Immaculate Conception], I got into the habit of praying a Rosary each day. At the seminary, we have an optional, community Rosary. I try to participate in that, but if my schedule doesn't allow, I'll find time in the morning or evening. When I pray the Rosary, I meditate on each Mystery, and that leads me into a spiritually productive place. It leads me to Jesus as seen through the eyes of Mary.
Each time I pray the Rosary I find something new, something unique. It's a great prayer for deepening one's love of God. The Rosary helps me each day of my life, giving me practical, day-to-day strength to face the situations of each day. I'd say the Rosary is the glue that holds my life together. It's the prayer that's been with me the whole time [of my spiritual journey], especially during the difficult moments.
When I pray the Rosary, I find peace. I recommend this prayer to everyone. If you don't have time for a full Rosary, try to say one decade each day. The quality of prayer is much important than the quantity, and I'd rather say one "Hail Mary" well than three Rosaries poorly. You can say one, two, three Rosaries without any thought, but what's the point? Better to say one "Our Father" one "Hail Mary" and one "Glory Be" with awareness and what comes from the heart.
Consecrating myself to Mother Mary is such an important part of my life. I daily turn my life over to Mary, but I also formally consecrate myself to Our Lady twice a year doing the 33-day preparation outlined by St. Louis de Montfort. It only takes about five minutes a day, but it has tremendous value for me.
I will be renewing my vows as Marian [on Aug. 15], the feast of the Assumption. I'm looking forward to it. I look at myself today, and how I have grown spiritually and as a person in this past year. I have a much deeper love and appreciation of my Marian community, for example. Each day, this appreciation grows. This past year has affirmed my decision to become a Marian.
It's not that I don't struggle. We all do, but Our Lord teaches me with every step and misstep. He's been patient with me. He's not overbearing, though at times I must give Him headaches!
My most powerful encounter with Mary occurs at Mass, especially during the Consecration. She is a tangible presence to me then, and I know that I want to give everything to Jesus through His mother. This is how I relate to Jesus. She is leading me there.