Happy Birthday, Mary!

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As it turns out, Mary is one of my favorite writing topics.

I have always been fascinated by her, for obvious reasons. Suspend reality for a minute: if anyone ever “proved” Christianity was not the Truth, then billions of people would have been duped by a 13-year-old pregnant girl. That’s pretty heavy.

Fortunately, not only is that unlikely, but we don’t believe it after centuries and countless hours of faith, prayer, and study. Mary remains in our hearts, the most ever-present mother we could ever hope to know.

Mother Mary, I know I can’t exchange a mere “Happy Birthday” for your prayers, but I need you now as I did when I was a child. We need you now.

Mary's statue from my home

I picture Mary in heaven cleaning up toys, dislodging tiny G.I. Joes from the toughening pad of her foot, slowly acquiring a nursing/psych/spiritual guide degree, with stretch marks to match her under eye circles, like mothers around the world. If I could pick anyone to give me vapor rub for my soul, it would be her.

The world is the toy room, bruises, scrapes, and boo-boos show up on her children’s souls, and her children around the world cry to her at night, stirring her awake.

Her soul magnifies the Lord for centuries so that He can reach more of those who notice her motherly influence on their lives.  She is our mother, our comforter, and God’s message deliverer.

The house in which I grew up loved her everyday. I knew the Hail Mary prayer as well as the Our Father, we had several pictures, rosaries, and one statue of her in the “fancy room.” My parents needed her guidance in their lives, so they were happy to invite her into their homes.

When I was in fourth grade, I woke up one morning with a white-hot pain in my right hip. I rolled off the bed, onto the floor and quickly learned the pain hindered my ability to stand up.

It was as if I remained in a dream wherein no dream-like strength would move my body, tethered to the floor.

Fear overwhelmed me and heaving tears came down my face as I wriggled into the bustle of the hallway where I knew my parents noticed their first born daughter, crawling like she was a toddler again.

With their help, thanks be to the Lord, I could stand and walk with the pain still searing in my hip. Doctors did tests, people prayed, I repeated my own name during the prayers for intercessions at Mass, and I watched my parents whisper with worry.

They thought it was Rheumatoid Arthritis and that I would be in a wheelchair by the age of sixteen.

The morning that we were to get the test results from the doctor, my mom rushed in my room with damp cheeks and an encouraged voice and clasped around my neck her mother’s Mary metal on a silver chain. She said Mary came to her in a dream and told her it would be good news from the doctor and not to be afraid.

For the first time in days, her head was actively floating above water. Mary, whether it was her or just the comfort that my mom knew she could find in her image, provided my mother with peace of mind. She rubbed the vapor jelly on her soul, reminding her that she was not alone.

My own photo of La Pieta

The renewing dream was correct and the doctors concluded that I had contracted streptococcus in my hip joint. I needed some antibiotics and a few weeks for the pain to subside.

I doubt I knew how serious that episode could have been; I was excited to miss school for that appointment.

Mary provided my mother with the magnifying reminder that anxiety is the opposite of grace. The episode awoke the faith in my parents and my sisters and I grew and learned from it.

The comfort and wisdom that Mary used to assure Jesus that it was time for his first miracle guides us today. Because we know she lived life as a mother, she lost like a mother, and Jesus declared her our mother while on the cross, she leads us to a path to Him when we need it.

Thank you for reading! More can be found at ElizabethHillgrove.com!

Elizabeth Hillgrove

Elizabeth Hillgrove

Elizabeth Hillgrove is a young cradle Catholic who grew up in a tight-knit, if not absurdly close family in the tiny Catholic world of Virginia. After a few divots and detours into apathy, embarrassment, and a vested political interest, Jesus Christ jump-started her faith life. Elizabeth has researched her way into a passion for bringing the simple, fulfilling Truth to youth and young adults, especially females. A recovering tomboy, Elizabeth will challenge you on the field, in the pool, on a trek up a mountain, or in the art studio. Game on. She is one of the three Bright Maidens and her website is Startling the Day.

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