The Denial of Peter – Gerard S Eghers
“Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.” John 19:25
The past couple of weeks I have had a song stuck in my head. The Song is called Better Man, by Little Big Town. I found this strange for a couple of reasons, one is that I don’t much listen to secular music anymore, as I find it fills you with the wrong things, and the second is because the song is seemingly about divorce and it makes me sad. But the melody is hauntingly beautiful, and speaks to so much of what many women have felt. In watching the news lately it seems there has been accusation after accusation in both Hollywood and in the Political realm of how men have belittled the dignity of women. (Don’t worry men, this post will not be a man bashing post, just a post to remind us of the dignity of us all.)
These series of events had me contemplating greatly the role of men and women, the state our society is in and how lust may actually be the deadliest of the seven deadly sins. I also noticed the Spirits of Fear and Hatred that seem to really be overtaking people these days. Fear is a giant beast, what do we need to counter that? Trust. Even in the midst of all of this stuff we must trust.
As if on cue, God knows exactly my thoughts and what I need (as He does for you too). I signed up for a retreat called, “Walking with Mary,” that was led by a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia Congregation. All these swirling thoughts of women, men, lust, fear, hatred, came to a head for me at this retreat as My Gentle Loving Mother, the Immaculata, spoke to me in the silence of my heart in this beautiful place called Bethany.
On Saturday evening we went to adoration. I was speaking to God in my heart about areas where I need to forgive and all of the sudden a huge storm began outside. The wind was fierce, the trees were blowing, rain was pounding the windows. I took my eyes off of the Monstrance and I looked out the window at the raging storm. Christ immediately said to me, “Keep your eyes on me.” It was the same words the Priest had spoken in the homily that morning. I looked back at the Monstrance and immediately the electricity went out. It was eerie. The generator and emergency lights kicked on, but it was a palpable peace and calm inside, with Christ at the center, and a raging storm outside.
I almost started to cry. As the retreat continued and we talked about what Mary had to teach us, I saw that she, who leads us to her Son, has the answer to our woes. Even the woes we have about the state of men (and women) in our society. She is the map, the key, to growing closer to her Son.
This past year one of the things that I struggled with in the battle I fought was how come, more often than not, it is the women who are more spiritual than the men? I noticed how it can be harder to get men to stand up publicly against immorality. (Note, I say this as a general statement, knowing there are many good men out there.) I thought about how there were many woman, and only one man at the foot of the cross. My loving Mother answered me. Here are excerpts of what I recorded as her speaking to me (I am including some of it, though not all of it, because it was so personal);
…You felt left alone because of men.
Do you think I said anything to all of my Son’s Apostles who left him alone at the foot of the cross? No, I prayed and interceded for them. I did not have anxiety about seeing Pilate again because I knew who my enemy was. I crush my enemy’s head.
….The heart of a woman that is compassionate and not political. The heart of humility and obedience that does not seek power. A heart that seeks purity and for the innocence of children to be protected. God has given you these gifts. God (asked you to do something) and in obedience you did. Do not let anger interfere with receiving these gifts.
… God wants you to pray for and uplift the men with a heart of compassion.
I only had one man stand at the foot of the cross with me. One man who rested in the bosom of the Lord. He is the only one who did not die a martyrs death, because standing at the foot of the cross, he was already a martyr. This is why I (ask that you pray for Priests).
…I interceded (for the Apostoles and for Priests) so (they) can stand at the foot of the cross.
The grace I dispense (to priests) through the prayers of the faithful and the pouring of the Holy Spirit will enable (them) to withstand persecution, to Stand at the foot of the Cross, glorified by God for an era of peace.
….Conform your will to my Sons, pray for your husband (and brother Priests).
…You rest in the Sacred and Immaculate Heart. (Trinity of Hearts)
It was here that I felt an epiphany. I remembered how I prayed to Mary to intercede for my husband to be the Spiritual Head of Our House, and she answered me. It was my husband who stood next to me when we fought the battle we fought. Our prayers for our men have efficacy. She had made my husband a Better Man (and me a better woman).
I thought about how if I had seen my Son crucified and abandoned by his friends I would have been angry at his friends, but she was not. She was with them in the upper room when the Spirit poured out, so that they could be Better Men. And Better Men they were! Fearless, even unto death. How much more was accomplished by the Prayers of Our Heavenly Mother, than would have been accomplished if she had raged.
I thought about who she would have had to run into in the streets, maybe Pilate, maybe Caiaphas, who wanted Jesus to die, but Mary didn’t rage in anger. She didn’t put the men down, she prayed. She interceded. She led by example for the rest of us.
Peter who had denied Jesus. Thomas who had doubted Him. Mary was with them all. She walked with them. And they became Saints. It is here that we can learn to Consecrate ourselves to her Immaculate Heart because of her unity with the Divine Will, she can dispense the graces to those we love. We must pray for our husbands and sons, but most especially for her Priests who, in the coming years will face more persecution, and will need the strength to stand at the foot of the cross.
Let us embrace our roles as male and female. Let us pray and uplift one another. Let us, in the face of persecution, stand at the foot of the cross, so that we can usher in an era of peace. In these storms, whether personal or global, walk with your Mother, and keep your eyes on Christ.
** Author’s note
I write what pops in my head as letters from God (and sometimes Mary if I am speaking to her.) I wrote this as a reflection of what I thought Mary was saying to me. I was taught to journal this way by my Spiritual Director. He said as long as it doesn’t stray from Scripture and the magisterium of the Church, I can write what pops in my head while I am praying.
oh my goodness.. Susan…this is a battle I’ve been secretly fighting too- and it’s hard because, as you know, I’m a newlywed and keep wondering if I made a mistake- if whether or not this lack of having him as the spiritual leader in the way I wish him to be is going to break us sometimes. It’s a battle many women are fighting- and it seems that you’ve been placed in a similar one to help others. It gives me hope 🙂
I will pray for your husband. Took 10 years here. We’re still both on a journey but, My God who is all good, knows how far we’ve come! Do not lose hope. Keep praying for him and especially for Mary’s intercession for him!
Thank you so much ❤
Christina, this is a difficult cross and my heart goes out to you, but don’t let it check your own devotion.
Keep the flame of love for God burning fiercely in your heart and it will eventually bear its fruit. If you can consecrate your family to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and pray the family Rosary it will work miracles. Fill the home with the fragrance of prayer even if it is you who must take the initiative time and time again. Try to go to daily Mass and receive Holy Communion as often as possible, for it will be a fount of Grace welling up in you to guide you and give you strength on this path.
It may be that through this marriage God has given you the assignment of your husband’s conversion to deep spirituality and eventually Heaven.
Saint Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:
12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband….”
I commend you to the Heart of Mary.