40 Days with Mary is a book written out of great love and reverence for Mother Mary. As I was reading this book written by Tito Frank Padilla, I discovered how deep his respect is for the mother of our savior, Jesus Christ. Tito Frank was able to cross reference his writing to numerous verses from the Holy Bible about her and explain each of them clearly. He had so many insights and with this I was inspired to also grow in my love and devotion for Our Lady.
Growing up as a Catholic girl, Mama Mary has always been familiar to me. My mother would always remind me and my siblings to ask for her help when we pray. When I was about five or six years old, I remember my friends and I would pick out flowers during the month of May and in the afternoon after some siesta, we would go to the nearby chapel to offer those flowers to Mary. When I turned 12, I had a chance to take part in a Catholic group called Legion of Mary where I learned the phrase “To Jesus through Mary” which taught me that if we want to be close to Jesus fast, we must strive to be close to Mary, his mother. In our regular meetings, we would pray the Holy Rosary including the Litany of the Blessed Virgin. By this time, I had gotten to know more about Mama Mary and a lot more about her titles such as Mirror of Justice, Tower of David and many others. However, merely knowing our mother is totally different from truly loving her. Through the years, I learned that there is so much more that I should grow in when it comes to my love for her.
When I became a missionary, Mama Mary’s protection and guidance continued to be real in my life. I experienced many moments when I had to travel far and had to go to distant places by myself. I am not really fond of long rides especially when I am alone but every time I pray the Holy Rosary during my travels, I would feel more secure and safe. There were also moments when I thought that I would miss a possible transit to another island whether by air, land or sea; moments that would scare me to the core because I was afraid of what could happen if I would really miss my appointed departure especially that I had no one but myself. But with Mama Mary’s motherly help and assurance, I was able to get through.
I experienced countless moments of Mama Mary’s ever-present love in my life. The things that Tito Frank wrote in the book reminded me of those. Through the wise things that he said and shared about Our Lady, I was challenged to deepen my love for her far even more. And now I believe in my heart that when I am closer to her, I become truly much closer to Jesus. To Jesus through Mary.
Karen Penetrante is a Full Time Pastoral Worker of Missionary Families of Christ. She is currently the Youth Coordinator of the LIT Program as well as the Area Youth Servant at NCR Central.