Even though I am no longer associated with the Catholic Church, I was feeling very draw to visit it.
Maybe I should tell a priest what was happening to me? Surely, they would think I was crazy. How do you even talk to a priest? Do you schedule an appointment? Who do you call? As my head spun with all these questions, I decided that talking to a priest was not a good idea. But I was still feeling drawn to the church.
I looked up the Catholic Church in town, Basilica of St Mary of the Assumption. Yes, St Mary. On the website I saw they had a gift shop. This would be the perfect place to purchase a statue of Mary and a new rosary. I called to make an appointment to visit. They were able to open later that morning and would meet me there.
The gift shop was a small room in the back corner in the lover level of the church complex. The shelves were lined with rosaries, books, statues, medals, and other trinkets. I looked through the statues and was disappointed to see the only statue of Mary available had the Hail Mary inscribed on the front of it. It wasn’t what I wanted, but with the lack of choices, I purchased it. I also purchased two Rosary’s and a metal to add to my bracelet. As I paid for my items, the cashier told me the church was open and I could go in and visit it if I liked.
The church was big and opulent. Very opulent. I couldn’t help but think of how many people could be housed, clothed, and fed with the money in the décor. It seemed counterintuitive and reminded me why I felt uncomfortable with big, organized religion. But if this is where Mother Mary wanted me to be, I would stay.
I sat in a back pew and watched a young woman come in with a small child. They sat for a while before she walked up to the alter where there was a beautiful statue of Mary. I watched her, wondering what her motivation was to be here. Did she need a moment of quiet solace? If so, she was taking a risk. If her child cried or screamed, the echo would be deafening. Maybe a prayer for peace, or help, or gratitude? Another woman came in. She was hurried. She had a lace cloth over her head and rushed over to an area where there was holy water. She removed a few bottles from old grocery bags and began filling them. When her task was done, she put them back in her bags and hurried on her way. I wondered what she used them for. Was she anointing the ill. Did she need to hurry off to bless someone who was dying?
I focused my attention on the statue of Mary at the front of the church. I removed one of my new rosaries, and began to pray. When I finished, I asked, Mother Mary, “why am I here in this Church? What do you want from me? How will I know what I am supposed to do?” I spoke directly to the statue as if I was talking directly to her. And then I heard her response.
“What you seek is not here (in this building), it is here (in my heart). You do not need to know what is next, it will clearly unfold.”
I left the church feeling relieved that I did not need to be there to have her in my life. She accepted me as a non-Catholic. She truly is the Mother of all.