Heart of Mary (for 99 cents!)

The Heart of Mary now beats in my car.

I found a cheap necklace today for 99 cents– and knew I needed to buy it. I don’t care that it’s not real gold– it’s the symbolism.

I feel protected so often while I’m driving. I’ve been pulled over but not ticketed many times. (Not because I flirt my way out of it!)  I’ve avoided near-accidents in ways that only can be explained by a feeling of grace. I must have a whole team of Guardian Angels.

I took down the stupid unicorn air freshener and necklace I previously had hanging in my car. Rosaries are too long and clunky, since I’ve tried those before. This necklace is just the right length, and it won’t get in the way of anything.

On Oct. 3, I prayed my first Rosary. I know, it seems ridiculous that I’m almost 32 and have never done one before. But although my entire family on both sides (and my step-mother’s side!) is Catholic, they are not punitive type who threatened I would be damned if I didn’t compulsively pray. I felt that praying a Rosary was intimidating, so I never tried it.

But I decided to try it in honor of my Aunt Mary Jane, a Catholic nun for 59 years. On the second anniversary of her death, I wanted to feel close to her. I used to call her whenever I wanted to talk about Catholicism, God, or matters of faith. She sent me icon cards my entire life, braided palms with me on Easter, and gently encouraged me to keep going to Mass. But she never shamed me when I felt distant from the church– and that’s why I was able to come back to it as an adult. Her faith was so strong, she knew I’d find my way home without pressure.

So I put on a black dress, with a broach of hers I’d chosen after her death. I wore the golden cross she had given me.

I went to a local church that’s kept open all day for Adoration. I brought one of my rosaries (I have several) , and I picked up a simple pamphlet there– on the basic steps of how to pray the Rosary.

And I did my best to begin.

I was alone in the church, and felt safe and peaceful.

Soon, I was crying. The rhythm of whispering the Hail Marys was healing, and it was more cathartic than anything else I’ve tried.

It’ll take practice. I don’t think I did it all right, it’s a lot to learn. But it’s something I plan to try again and I want it to become part of my routine. I’m inviting the Blessed Mother into my heart, and already I feel better.

So now I gave her a home in my car as well, and I feel closer to my aunt by doing so.

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