"Who is Mary in my life?"
A Helper and a Marian share on a topic of mutual interest.
For as long as I can remember, I have had a deep love for Our Blessed Mother. Whenever I feel the need to pray or look for solace, I always turn to her.
It is because she is the mother of Jesus that I feel so close to her. I know that Jesus gave her to me to be my mother as well. I feel an overwhelming trust whenever I address her, like a son does to his own mother -- openly and from the bottom of my heart. She intercedes for me to Jesus. Through her, I have grown closer to God.
She means so much to me that I am naturally drawn to pray her rosary and to encourage others to pray it. I pray the rosary every night. I also pray it when I am alone and driving my car -- instead of listening to music. I view it as a sacrifice for Our Lady.
I encourage others to turn to Mary and her Son by distributing rosaries, the leaflet called "How to Pray the Rosary Daily" (PR2), and pictures of Jesus. I do this at church.
I also send these devotional items to Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. I want people all over the world to learn to love and become closer to Jesus by way of His mother.
This work I do for Mary is a labor of love. I do not expect any compensation in return. I am simply fulfilling my responsibilities as a follower of Christ and a son of His mother. Jesus has blessed me tenfold with peace and love.
And the immense love that I feel for Mary cannot be fully expressed in any human language. I pray that I will soon be given the gift of a larger heart to accommodate my growing love for her.
Luis Martinez, an accountant in Union City, NJ, is happily married with children in college. Attending daily Mass and praying the rosary is his spiritual lifeline.
There were always pictures of Our Lady in my family's home in Poland. I particularly liked the icons of Our Lady. I remember my family praying to her.
Often, in the morning, I would hear my mother singing hymns to the Blessed Virgin while doing some housework.
When I left home to pursue my studies, I always tried to attend Holy Masses and devotions in honor of Our Blessed Mother. I was particularly drawn to the Polish custom of praying at small roadside shrines of Our Lady in May.
So, when the time came for me to choose a congregation, I chose the Marians because I knew that they had a special devotion to Mary.
But, shortly after I joined the Marians, I was drafted by the communist authorities in Poland. And in the military, it was forbidden at the time for anyone in the army to publicly express any kind of religious beliefs, not to mention going to Mass or holding devotions in a church. This period was for me a time of testing and growth in true spiritual maturity. But I knew Mary was helping me the whole time.
Later, after I returned to the Marians, I was sent by my superiors to work in the United States. Now I am celebrating the 44th anniversary of my religious profession and currently serve as the supervisor of the Secretariat of Marian Missions here in Stockbridge. In my work, I particularly enjoy sending rosaries to our missionaries to help them spread devotion to Mary Immaculate.
As I look back on my life, I am reminded of the Scripture passage: "Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act" (Ps 37:5). And it has been through Mary, Our Blessed Mother!
Br. Albin Milewski, MIC, supervises the Secretariat of Marian Missions in Stockbridge, MA. He shares his love for Mary with staff and missionaries.
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