If anyone prays with the heart, Mary certainly does. If among other
things, she constantly brings the need to pray with the heart before our
mind's eye, then it must be that this is one of the things she offers to
either pull away from or avert the danger. Too, if she pleads with us to
pray with the heart, we can be assured that she too is praying with her
heart to the Father, to her Son and to her Spouse, asking, begging,
pleading with tears to spare us harm. Evidently, this danger of harm must
be so great and perhaps even so imminent that Mary knows that only God can
make it possible for us to be spared. She prays unceasingly in our behalf.
For Our Blessed Mother to hang in there during the prolonged period of
time could not be done if it were not for the fact that she was receiving
re-enforcement. Who can say what is the nature of this re-enforcement?
One thing can be said, however, and that is, that it comes from God, from
Jesus, her Spouse. How much longer will Mary continue to stay by us?
Without a doubt, she will not abandon her children as long as they have a
need of her.
There is another side to this coin and it is this: could it possibly be
that it is we, her children, who keep her in tears and make it necessary
for her to keep on begging and pleading, by our resisting her, dragging our
feet, turning a deaf ear to her? I would suggest that it is, at least this
is how I would personally perceive it to be. I base my perception on my
own behavior towards my mother as also on the many others and their
children whom I have counseled in the many years of my priesthood.
Whenever there came forth a request, a plea from my own mother, I would
respond verbally in the affirmative, but there was always a delay,
sometimes shorter, sometimes longer, in carrying out the plea or the
request. At times, I know that it was sheer laziness, at other times mere
procrastination, and all the time I felt a need to put a buffer between
request and fulfillment. It seems that I held on to a need on my part to
be in control, protecting myself from having to do something I was not
quite ready to do. A third and even a fourth request had to be made, at
tines these with threats or tears. Secondly, I learned in my counseling
sessions with mothers and their children that my situation was not unique,
that hesitation in fulfilling a mother's wish or plea was quite
commonplace. In almost every case, it seemed that youngsters as
youngsters, and sometimes these youngsters were already "oldster," would be
testing the endurance of their mothers, to see what it would take to get
her upset, angry or to shed tears.
Do you think that there are those in our day who are testing Our Heavenly
Mother's endurance? I think that there are some, but I think that most of
her children do not respond to her due to a weakness, a lack of will, or at
least because they do not take her seriously. There are those who do
respond even wholeheartedly from the beginning, but gradually fizzle out or
burn out or at least lose their wholehearted response. It is no easy task
to maintain a listening stance for a longer period of time. The spirit is
willing, the flesh is weak.
The best way, and perhaps, the only way to a wholehearted response to any
or every request being made by Our Lady, especially her wish that we pray
with the heart, is to invite the Holy Spirit to become a partner in the
action. He h as power that we do not have; He has power that He would like
to share with us, power which would make it possible for us to become
stable in our response to His Spouse. With His Life flowing through us,
everything goes easier. As He indeed dwells within each one of us, it
needs for each one of us to welcome Him, reverence Him and to love Him as
the One given to us by Jesus to facilitate our imitation of Him in
following through on the fulfillment of our purpose in life.
To pray with the heart for one or two days is not that difficult, but to
pray with the heart day in day out is something else. It can, however, be
done. Our Heavenly Mother would not be asking us to do something that was
Endurance in anything takes will power. To endure in some things, those
more difficult, takes a healthy will strengthened by grace. Once one is
able to maintain a life of prayer with the heart, all of the other requests
that Mary makes will be more easily responded to. When one prays with the
heart to be able to take on fasting and/or to do penance, it would fall
under the hope that Jesus gives us in saying, "knock, and it will be opened
to you." It would certainly please all of heaven were this to be our chief
prayer, namely, "Dear Holy Spirit, help me to live my life in praying with
the heart so that I may fulfill all of the wishes of Your Spouse. Help me
not to resist, not to put off complying with her wishes that sooner would
come the time when her Immaculate Heart triumphs."
As Mary endures in staying by our side in these difficult times, let us
ask for the necessary help to endure in a life in which we not only SAY
PRAYERS with the heart, but indeed and in fact, PRAY with the heart.