A Story of Transformation

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It is useful to look back over one's life to see where one has been. Often one learns new and interesting things by that exercise. Frequently, one is brought to knowledge by a sudden action of God. I'd like to share an instance.

Last week, in conversation over lunch, I suggested to a friend that she might want to focus a bit on the Blessed Virgin and her role at Cana and at the foot of the cross. This friend pulled out her trump card, "I don't see the Blessed Virgin as you do."

"What do you mean?"

"I believe that Mary had other children, that Jesus had real brothers and sisters."

"Well then, you would be wrong, wouldn't you."

My friend didn't notice this comment, but almost upon it coming out of my mouth I was utterly astounded. I was raised protestant--indeed fundamentalist. When I came into the Church the Blessed Virgin was more roadblock than pathway. I wouldn't say a rosary and thought those who did were little short of idolaters.

God has nudged me bit by bit through my interactions with Catholics, through my reading, and through my prayer to come to a more Catholic understanding of the Blessed Virgin. Most influential were toss-off remarks, or fragments of homilies (Priests who read this pay attention) that would get down inside and roll around and around until the logic of them became evident. I recall a Priest at the Byzantine Church TSO often mentions saying something of the feast of the Conception of St. Ann (aka The Feast of the Immaculate Conception) about how the Blessed Virgin was made the vessel for God and in the knowledge of what she had carried could carry no other children because of the infinite merit of the first. I don't remember the exact phrasing, but I remember being impressed by the statement and the argument.

I guess over the years all these accretions have trickled down to the point where I find myself reflexively defending what I would have attacked not so long ago.

God moves us by degrees if we are willing. I remember praying in the matter of the Blessed Virgin, as I was considering becoming a Carmelite, "Lord, I'm not there yet but you lead me to the truth that you would have me know about Our Lady." God will not leave such a prayer unanswered. Even now I pray, "Lord, let me know and understand the teachings and the meanings of your Church, lead me to the understanding you have for me." Because every day requires conversion. Every day requires a change of heart and a change of mind. Every day requires renewing my love for God, and He gives me so many ample demonstrations of it that it becomes impossible to resist.

As He did in the matter of the Blessed Virgin, let is so continue until I am squarely in the center of the truth. May His wisdom so inform me that I cease to rely upon my own and lean only upon His. May His understanding be my own. Step by step and patiently, but may I arrive there in His time according to His will.

God is so good!

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Beautiful story. Not that it matters to the main point of your story, but what convinced me (to whom the Blessed Virgin was first a serious roadblock and subsequently a pathway in my road to the Church) of her perpetual virginity was when it was brought to my attention that Jesus wouldn't have needed to give her to St. John at the cross, if He had other siblings, particularly other brothers.


Dear Brandon,

That was a datum that impressed me as well.




From what I can tell, most Catholics have problems with Mary. Same as they have problems with the rest of the faith.

But going back to Cana and the Foot of the Cross (Mary's role as priest, offering up her son), maybe your friend could have obtained benefit from meditating on those without having to confront the issue of other children ?

I think your comment "God moves us by degrees if we are willing" is very much worth bearing in mind.

God Bless

Dear Chris,

For reasons unknown to me, you keep getting trapped in my "approve this comment filter." I've never added your name or IP--I suspect it may be your e-mail. If you post and find that it does not show up after a while, please write me so that I know to release the comment. I'm not deliberately keeping you out.

What you write has much wisdom. After my initial shock at my response, which my friend did not hear, we went back to the point, as you suggested. However, this friend is Episcopalian out of a lifetime of "mainline protestantism" and so not Catholic and not inclined to pay much regard to Mary any way. I think, in this particular case, much to her own detriment. But the Lord will move us as He wills and perhaps this is part of how He is moving me and my friend.

Thanks for the comment and remember to right if you don't see your name in lights in a reasonable period of time.





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on April 4, 2006 12:20 PM.

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