Posted January 01, 2010:
Let Yourself Be Loved

by Marie-Thérèse McLaughlin.

Though originally addressed to mothers, this article has something to say to the rest of us as well.

A little over a year ago, I made a retreat and learned to do something simple that changed my life. I would like to share it with you.

On that retreat, a word kept coming to me: Let yourself be loved. "Yeah, great!" I thought, "How does that happen?"

As the retreat progressed, it became clear that that word had come from Our Lady. "So what about your consecration to me?" she said within my heart. "Why not spend ten or fifteen minutes a day with me?"

I thought I was making up these words. But throughout the retreat, Mary continued to call me to spend fifteen minutes a day with her. Not praying to her but just being with her, listening, and looking at her.

I told my spiritual director what happened, and he approved of the practice. He also gave me a six-inch statue of the Nursing Madonna.

So each morning I spent fifteen minutes looking at the statue and just being with Our Lady and Jesus.

This is changing my life. Mary is teaching me all sorts of truths and not only through words.

The first truth she taught me was this: "You know, Marie-Thérèse, nurturing you is never a burden to me. It’s what mothers do." That’s a pretty simple truth. You who are mothers know this: nurturing your children is what you do.

But do we allow ourselves to be nurtured? There is no way you can nurture your children and help them grow in holiness, which is your vocation, without being able to receive love yourself. And I can’t either. We go to Jesus through Mary; we need to allow her to nurture us.

The second truth was: Mary is completely concerned for me. She is completely concerned for you, too. Her whole life is for me, for you, too, and for your husband and your children. This really is Good News.

One day, as I was sitting looking at the little statue of the Nursing Madonna, I asked her, "Why does Jesus, God, have to nurse from you? Why?" You know how little children are always asking why, why, why.

Mary’s answer to me was this: "Don’t ask any more whys? Some things just are. My Son is I Am Who Am." Some things just are. That was the third truth she taught me.

This truth is really helping me in my relationships with people. Now, when I have an adverse reaction to a situation, I sort out my reaction and then say interiorly, "It doesn’t matter why this happened. It simply doesn’t matter. Our Lady sees everything. Jesus sees everything. It’s all right. Be at peace, my soul."

Knowing the why of a particular situation will never answer the deepest Why where my hurt is.

One morning, I woke up very tired. I looked at the statue on the bureau and said, "I can’t get out of bed. Sorry. I’ll look at you from here. O.K.?"

That’s when I learned the fourth truth. "You can distance yourself as far from me as you want, Marie-Thérèse," Mary said in my heart, "but I never distance myself from you. I am always holding you."

These truths are so important to hear from our Mother. They have gone a long way towards bringing me inner peace and a sense of security and safety.

And all of this has come through spending fifteen minutes every morning with the Mother of God, not praying but just being with her, listening, and looking at her.

As mothers, you can even do this with your child. Just for a couple of minutes, you can sit together in silence before an icon or a picture or statue of the Madonna and Child. This practice would give your children an early start in learning to be quiet and listen in expectation to God and to Our Lady.

This practice is so simple. We can just give our burdens to Our Lady and simply look at her, listen to her, and experience what happens inside. What happens between you and Mary is like what happens between a mother and her child. You mothers know about this better than I do.

Our Lady wants to help us. She wants to share our life and concerns with us. What is more crucial, she wants to share her life in God, in the Trinity, with us. Let’s give her the time.

Excerpted and adapted from a talk to a new chapter of the Confraternity of Christian Mothers in Barry’s Bay, Ontario. The mothers had just made their Act of Consecration to the Sorrowful Mother.


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