There are so many beautiful images of Our Lady. Who couldn't love Our Lady of Grace so sweet and gentle, or want to fall into the arms of Our Lady of Consolation, one's heart goes out to the weeping Our Lady of La Salette, and you can almost smell the fragrant roses of Our Lady of Guadalupe. All so different, yet so much the same...a mother-loving, kind, caring and crazy about her Son. She always points the way to Jesus, something only Catholics seem to grasp about her.
I have a special devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. Besides, the wonderful story that surrounds this image, I had the opportunity to have her visiting statue in my home some 15 years ago. It was a beautiful experience, a prayer-filled evening, and the beginning of my friendship with the Mother of God. I think being the mother of an only child, a son, connects my heart with Our Lady's. When I think of how she must have felt during His final days, my heart breaks. I can only imagine how she protected her boy from the taunts of "bastard" whispered about Him. She must have wanted to shake those who misunderstood, criticized and ridiculed her perfect child. I certainly would have...Mary never would have. Perhaps, this is why many of her titles begin with, Lady.
As my son, Jared, grew, I shared my affection for the Blessed Mother of Fatima with him, always speaking of her great power of intercession. I think because I loved her, and he loved me...he loved her. I often reminded Jared that he should chat with her if he had a concern and to pray to her...she was always listening just like her Son.
Seven years ago, Jared struck out on his own...leaving NY and moving in with cousins in Florida. I felt as though there was a hole in my heart when he left. It wasn't easy for him either, adjusting to a new lifestyle, being totally on his own, finding a job. When his cousins moved to another part of the state, he considered coming home, but didn't. He needed to see this through, he said. So in time, he got a job as a front desk clerk in a hotel, then became a front office manager, met Kelly, married, and bought a lovely home. The USA housing and job market took a hit, and Jared made his first mortgage payment...then lost his job. He was devastated. Kelly's job as a Realtor wasn't too solid either. Pray, pray, pray and hit the pavement was the advice his dad and I gave him. Don't lose faith.
Jared started attending Mass on Sundays. It gave him something to look forward to, he explained. And the months dragged on. Then one day, he and Kelly were at a mall, a mall mind you that they rarely shop at, and he bumped into a hotel manager he knew. Sean said he'd been thinking about Jared and planned to call him. Was he still out of work? If so, he needed a manager at another property...would Jared be interested? Interested! Jared nearly did a back flip. The new position was a step up from his previous one, better pay and the pick of the litter as far as properties go.
When Jared met Juliet, the then current manager, she told him she was moving to Bermuda to help with a family matter. She loved her staff, co-workers, that particular hotel, and found it hard to leave. She had been praying mightily to Our Lady of Fatima that the perfect person would come along and she'd be at ease about leaving. She took him into her office, and there was a statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Jared said he got goosebumps. He told Juliet that Our Blessed Mother had been listening to both of their prayers. They knew that Our Lady of Fatima had interceded and God was blessing them. It amazed him that God had to get him out of the first position to get him into a better position. God had never forsaken him. He had honored the fact that Jared regularly sought Him in the Eucharist and made time for prayer.
Each day, Jared asks the Blessed Mother of Fatima to put her blue mantle of protection around his hotel, its guests and staff....around his life and those in it. We should do the same. Our Lady will intercede to the Holy Spirit asking Him to help us make good and godly decisions. Jared knows, we all should know, that the Queen of Heaven is a special lady who goes before the King of Kings--her Son Jesus Christ--and pleads for those who honor her and loves her Boy.