Remember: Talk to Your Mom

by Br. Ken Dos Santos, MIC

My relationship with Mary is a living relationship with a real person. It's not abstract at all. I look upon Mary the way I do my parents. She is there to guide and direct me to Jesus. It's a tender, motherly relationship - loving and gentle. I can see her hand in whatever is going on in my life.

I speak to her as if she is my mother, not in dry, forced prayers but in conversation. Imagine a kid talking to his mom. That will give you the idea. It's definitely a dialogue. For example, if something is going on in my life - it could be a problem, an obstacle, or even something joyous or a decision I must make - I ask her for guidance.

It's like my relationship with Jesus. When I pray about a situation, I get the answer quickly. It doesn't fail. The answer to what I'm praying about quickly comes up in some fashion. It may not be the answer I envisioned, but it's the right answer. It's always the right answer when you ask God, and you trust. So the dialogue with Mary and Jesus consists of this: I pray, they answer. It's specific direction.

Mary has been a constant in my life, but for a bunch of years, I didn't pray the Rosary. I may not have been there for her, but she was always there for me. I did not listen. God brought me back to my senses and woke me up through a string of unemployment. I lost my job as an engineer. I thought that was my vocation, how I could best use my gifts. I had a good corporate job, made money, owned a house, and had all the new toys I wanted.

However, I had become so focused on this lifestyle that I forgot God, Mary, the Rosary, all of it. When I lost my job, though, He woke me up. In desperation, I began praying the Rosary. There was nothing else I could do, nowhere else I could turn. That's when I started thinking about becoming a priest.

The Rosary is a meditation on the mysteries in the life of Jesus. For me, meditating on the mysteries keeps the Rosary fresh. I envision pictures in my mind of the particular mystery. Sometimes, they become animated, like watching a movie. As the images show up, I say the prayers. It's a little tricky to "see" the images and meditate at the same time, but that's what works for me.

I prefer praying the Rosary with the Marian community. I pray it on my own when I have to because of my schedule, but when I do that, I notice that I tend to wander. Praying with my brothers keeps me focused.

I pray to Mary from the heart. That's my advice for anyone wanting to start, renew, or freshen a relationship with the Blessed Mother. Open your heart to her. Pray the Rosary. You have to have openness. If you have even a small openness to Mary, she will come to you.

Brother Ken Dos Santos, MIC, is a seminarian studying in Washington, D.C. Please help us educate the Marian priests of tomorrow.

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