On the second day of my retreat, I found myself distracted particularly at Communion. This upset me and I asked God to show me why I felt distant from Him. I asked for the gift of intimacy and stayed after Mass to further give Him thanks for the great gift I had just received and to explore these feelings more thoroughly.
It was my intent to ponder the reflection set forth for the second day in A Novena of Holy Communions, written by Father Lawrence G. Lovasik, S.V.D. But the chapel lights were quickly turned off making it impossible to see the words in my little booklet.
I was immediately struck with this thought: “Now you have to use your own words and not those of others”. After doing so for too brief of a time, I got up to leave, intending to go right to my car and check to see if my blog post for that morning had been automatically posted as I had scheduled before leaving home.
Right in the front of the monastery is a statute of our Blessed Mother (Our Lady of the Genesee) holding the infant Christ child in her arms. There is a concrete bench directly in front of her. I had actually taken a picture of this statute years ago and have used it as a Christmas card.
I decided to postpone my rush to get on the internet and to stop, sit and gaze upon our Blessed Mother. As soon as I did so, I remembered that I had not completed the Novena reflection for that day. My mind was still wandering and unfocused. Although I have offered this Novena of Holy Communions monthly for the past three or four years, I could not recall the subject of that day’s reflection. I had not yet opened the booklet to that page.
As I was about to do so, I was startled by a loud noise. I paused, looked all about me but saw nothing. As I opened the Novena book, I heard that noise again but was unable to discover its source. I then turned my eyes to the day’s intention. I was startled. I looked up and into the eyes of the statute before me. You see the day’s reflection was “Marylikeness”
Later it posed this stirring question – one which I have read many times in the past and casually noted to return to but never did: “Do you often prepare yourself for Holy Communion and make your thanksgiving in union with Mary so that she may make up for whatever is lacking in your devotion and love?”
Guess God had answered my earlier prayer with a question of His own. He offered me a tool toward greater intimacy with Him - Do as His Mother did and always approach Him with her at my side.
Since that time, I have always approached my Loving Lord with three specific prayers on my lips and in my heart.
The first prayer I discovered in In Conversation With God (Vol. 2: 65.3):
“Blessed Mary, my Mother, help me to go to Communion everyday with better dispositions.”
The second was written by Vazquez de Prada, the Founder of Opus Dei:
“I wish Lord to receive you with the purity, humility, and devotion with which your most holy Mother received you, with the spirit and fervor of the saints.”
The third I composed and is based upon the first two prayers and the reflection of Father Lovasik which I read on my retreat:
“Be at my side Blessed Mother as I approach your Son this day and make up for whatever is lacking in my preparation, appreciation, devotion, love and thanksgiving for this great Gift and Mystery.”
May she never leave my side as I seek greater intimacy with the Fruit of her womb!