I wish I could say that I have lots of knowledge or insight to share with you about Mary. However, that is simply untrue. I only have personal experience. And mine starts with WYD Poland. It was there that I said more prayers and shuffled into more church services than ever before in my life. It was exhausting, difficult and overwhelming. At times I resented being there, prayer? Again! Surely there were more interesting things happening that we could go to.
An exception was the rosary; for some reason, it wasn’t as daunting or difficult. And it was at WYD that I learnt to pray the rosary.
When I returned home, I was unsure what to do with my WYD experience. Overall it had been amazing but it was unrealistic to expect that I would run to church on Sundays because of it. Yet, again, there was an exception. As I started my placement in an all-boys secondary school I found myself in great need of help. The boys seemed to use up my every piece of patience and energy.
That is when I prayed the rosary once more. Any real help seemed unlikely, Jesus was meant to have been perfect and Mary sinless but I prayed nonetheless. Desperate times, desperate measures and all that. I then learnt that she is the mother of all of us, after which I prayed all the more. The mother of a fully human/ fully God being brought me little hope but the mother to all? Myself included? That is a woman who knows a difficult child.
And I found that slowly yet surely my classroom changed. My students became more agreeable. I wasn’t as bothered by their bad behaviours and far more joyful at their good behaviour and successes. By the end of the year I could see so much goodness and potential in each of them and had far more reason for praise than complaint. Maybe praying the rosary changed them. It probably only changed me. But something changed and I don’t know if it would have happened without Mary.