Saturday, July 28, 2018

Keeping Saturdays with Mary

With next Saturday, the First Saturday of August, in mind as I took my walk early this morning, Mary’s words to Sister Lucia were running through my mind:

“See, my daughter, my Heart encircled by thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Do you, at least, strive to console me. Tell them that I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation all those who, in order to make reparation to me, on the First Saturday of five successive months, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for a quarter of an hour, meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.”

Heading up a side street in downtown Sioux Falls on the return from my walk, my eyes fell upon a storefront ministry I had never noticed before; on the front door it read: DIRECT LINE Prayer Central. As allergic as most Protestant groups are to any notion of intercession, of anyone standing between God and the individual, I found the very thought sort of comical that anyone would want to offer their prayers or prayer intentions really through the intercession of somebody claiming to have a direct line to Jesus while discounting the Mother of God, the Angels and Saints in Glory. Maybe I am just stuck on the old cliché about Father having a direct line to the Almighty, the sort of thing with which stewardesses greet a priest when he gets onto a plane.

If I could go back to Our Lady’s words, then: “…and keep me company for a quarter of an hour, meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.” Keep me company… Those three words have to be one of the most insightful descriptions of prayer that I have ever come across. I know that “keep me company” does not let itself be pinned down as either praise or petition, nor does it fit the neat categories of meditation or contemplation. It is for that maybe that I like the notion so very much. Would that we could always think of ourselves at prayer and wherever as keeping Jesus or Mary company.

If I say any more, I will no doubt spoil the notion or break the spell. Memories of childhood come back and of just sitting next to Mom or Grandma, memories of sitting on the couch behind Dad sitting on the floor and as requested just combing his hair: keeping someone company. Thinking about Jesus or Mary and of this being a mutual sort of think is indeed mind boggling, but only to the extent that we are estranged from the notion of prayer as it is with a God Who is nearer to us than we are to ourselves.

Somehow “keep me company” sounds infinitely better and much more telling than talking of a “prayer of presence”.


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