Last Saturday, during the follow-up to the Conversion Experience Retreat (CER) I attended, I had not intended to share any testimonies because I did not have any experience I really felt needed to be shared. But when testimony time came, as the facilitator was opening the session, I suddenly felt a strong prompting in my heart. “Tell them about my Mother.” I was taken my surprise, and hesitated. Again I felt my Lord urge me, “Tell them about my Mother, Ann. Tell them about Mama Mary.” Out of obedience to the burden of the prompting, I stood up, went to the podium, and shared about how my most precious gift from CER was a deeper insight into Mary’s love for Jesus, and of Jesus’ love for His mother. What I shared was similar to my earlier blog post, “Mother Mary and I“.
As I was going up to the podium, and even as I was sharing, I kept thinking, “How sweet Jesus is! He wants this testimony session to be opened by having His mother honoured!” I mean, don’t you think it’s a very sweet thing for a son to do? At a session where everyone is expecting to hear about Him or His Father, Jesus wanted to open the session by having us hear about how much He and His mother loved each other!
What I had not expected was that my testimony would stir and touch so many people. For since Saturday, I’ve had several different people tell me how touched they are or how edified they are by what I had shared. In all truth, I did not try to be articulate. I only spoke from the new love I have for Mary, and the greater love for God I have now that I understand Mary’s place in the history of Christianity.
Last Sunday, my husband reminded me of something as we were strolling to the Marian Grotto at our church. “Dear, do you remember what our prayer request and new year resolution for 2009 was?” I blinked at him as I tried to remember. My eyes widened in wonder as I recalled what it was.
Last December, we had an opportunity to attend a service at a Protestant church. After a glowing sermon about Mary (which had taken me completely by surprise), the pastor suddenly started criticizing the Catholic Church’s stand and teachings on Mary. I know the teaching of the Catholic Church well enough to be able to identify several of the accusations as false or misinterpretations of what Catholics actually believe. Nevertheless, it made me squirm inside. Zibin also was made very uncomfortable. But the message that both of us took out that day was that God was inviting us to get to know Mary better. Because neither of us felt anything towards Mary, we were never very motivated to get to know her. So it was that we decided that for 2009, our resolution was to try and learn more about Mary and to pray that God will bring us closer to her.
We have not even yet completed the first quarter of 2009, and I have shared about Mary twice on my blog, and once at a public testimony! So many things had been happening in the last few months, I had completely forgotten about our prayer intention. But God had not forgotten. Not only that, He has led me to share my new understanding and love for Mary with others. How amazing is that? :)