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Holy Mary, Mother of God

Written February 14, 2011

It started with Diondria whipping out her rosary beads; and asking me “How exactly do you do this?” She explained to me how it was a fashionable thing now for both boys and girls to accessorize with one; but she insisted to know how and why the beads were really used. I fingered the beads in my hand and began to rattle off of the knowledge I was blessed with as a result of a thirteen year long Catholic education.  You start by making the sign of the cross, “Our Father” here, Three “Hail Mary’s” here… When I could only remember two of the categories of mysteries in which you are to dedicate the rosary being said, I thought to myself “Oh my. It’s been a while”.

I don’t think I’ve willingly been to mass in over 2 years, aside from a funeral or two. When I arrived home that night, and began scanning my many prayer books and devotionals, left to the bottom of my bookshelf, I realized that I had been on the outs with Mary. I can’t say that I was mad at her; but I had, at a certain point, lost faith in her ability and worth, I had out grown her, I felt as though she couldn’t possibly understand or contend with the woman that I was “becoming” and wanted to be. So, ideals I once knew of praying the rosary daily, never taking off my Brown Scapular, keeping devotionals close and handy, tucking prayer cards and pictures of her in crevices like my car’s sun visor that would remind me to give her a shout out, had become extinct practices. I couldn’t seem to wrap my brain around the idea of Mary being a feminist, sexually liberated, or an activist, no matter how much I knew of her being a radical of her time. So, while my nightstand drawer became filled with more and more “electronics”, alas my rosary beads were pushed to the rear along with remembrances of Holy Mary.

Since my encounter with Diondria that night, I have found myself intrigued with the idea of getting to know her again, catching up, if you will. I’d like to ask her about this so-called radical side. I’d like to ask her if we might be able to work on fostering a new kind of friendship. I have always found comfort in ceremony and ritual. I find comfort in the remnants of my past such as “growing up Catholic” and the history of blacks in the Catholic Church. I appreciate that such a knowledge is still buried within me, that I’m able to rattle off the “how-to’s” after so long. There is a part of me that takes pride in this fact. I enjoy what it adds to my life’s history, my make up, and person. So… Gentle Woman, Quiet Light, How can we work this out?

Maybe part of my issue is how we call upon her, her different aliases- Mother of God, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy. It makes it hard to initiate an intimate relationship, the kind of relationship I need right now. Can I call you Girlfriend, Sister, just Mary? I need to find her, and see her for the woman that she is, was, in order to respect and take her seriously, in order to nourish a reciprocal relationship. Where do I start?

Hail Mary full of grace? The Lord is with thee? Blessed is the fruit thy womb, Jesus?… Umm no. Pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of death? Well, there’s something about asking her to recognize and acknowledge me as a sinner that I can get with (a “sinner”, not in self-defamation or even actualization; but in a profaning-of-the-sacred kind of way). Yes. Let us begin with that as I like the idea of being a sinner, us all being sinners. I like the idea of simultaneously getting sanctified, a Marvin Gaye kind-of-sanctified. I like the idea of her intercession on my behalf, especially at the hour of death. (I don’t want to risk passing that one up. I just might need that.) These are things I can start with- things that jumpstart my spiritual emotions, and lead me to seek out alternate realms of possibility.  Do you think you can you work with that?

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