What comes to mind is Ash Wednesday of last year.
After fasting all morning and receiving the blessing with ashes, I spent an hour with our Lord in Eucharistic adoration, bringing my sorrow and pain to Him about an ongoing sense of loss I had experienced throughout the years.
I knew I could bring it to Him without needing Him to fix it...I just needed to give it to Him again for the thousandth time.
In that moment, He showed me the reason for this sorrow. He also showed me His divine justice and mercy~~how this sorrow was a tiny price to pay for the eternity of hell He had saved me from.
I was immediately plunged into worshipful awe and reverence. I cried for 30 minutes, desperately and gratefully.
And that was just one time in Eucharistic adoration. There are many other times I can remember as clearly as this very minute, times when Jesus draws into intimate communication with us when we draw close to Him in the Blessed Sacrament.
He's right there. Go to Him, be with Him, spend as much time with Him as you can.
The Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary
We pray this as a family every day. Often, I'll pray it before Mass as well. There have been plenty of times when this family Rosary is a source of frustration for me, leading to the need for more prayer just to recover from the first time.
I expressed this to a devout woman I know, hoping she would encourage me to do an abbreviated version with the kids so I could get out of it.
This is the reason why it is KEY to have mentors~~people you can turn to who say it like it is without sugarcoating their wisdom.
She told me that, even if it's hard, even if it involves children standing on their heads or bouncing off the walls, keep praying the Rosary.
She has lived many years longer than I have, and has raised many more children, and firmly believes that it is through the power of the Rosary and Mary's intercession that her children have remained staunchly Catholic. She has also been blessed to have a daughter called to a religious vocation as a cloistered Poor Clare nun.
The fruits of the Rosary are clear. Disorder becomes apparent when devotion to it becomes weak in our home.
Miraculous Medal and Brown Scapular
Years before becoming Catholic, I felt drawn to my husband's Miraculous Medal and wanted it for myself. I even wore it a few times but knew I was a fraud, not being Catholic and having ZERO clue what to say if anyone was to ask. I also knew I did not have belief, just that inexplicable longing.
Fast forward 8 years or so...the MOMENT I said "yes" to conversion, I put the medal on and have worn it every day ever since.
The Brown Scapular is another favorite devotion.
Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary
St. Louis-Marie de Montfort's writings made their way into my life through a woman in our parish who mentioned a consecration she made of herself to the Blessed Virgin Mother. She shortly thereafter came into possession rather fortuitously and unexpectedly a copy of The True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, passing it along to me because of my expressed interest.
If you have never understood Catholic devotion to the Blessed Mother, this book presents the beautifully simple and reasonable case to be made for not only loving and honoring Mary and asking for her intercession but for pouring ourselves into her as the mould in which our soul is formed and shaped.
If Mary, who is the tree of life, is well cultivated in our soul by fidelity to the practices of this devotion, she will in due course bear fruit, and her fruit is none other than Jesus Christ. I see many devoted souls seeking Jesus Christ by one road or another; and often, when they have labored much throughout the night...to them we can say, "You have labored much but gained little." Jesus Christ is still weak within you. But in the immaculate path of Mary...we work by day, we work in a holy place, we labor but little. There is no night in Mary for in her there was no sin, no slightest shadow. Mary is a holy place, the Holy of Holies in which the saints are formed and moulded. Please note that I say the saints are molded in Mary. There is a vast difference between carving a statue, by blows of hammer and chisel, and making a statue by casting it into a mold. Sculptors and statuaries labor much in making statues in the first manner and they need much time; but in the second manner they have little work and make them in a very short time. St. Augustine calls Our Blessed Lady forma Dei~~"the mould of God." (True Devotion, Chapter 7, Article 6)I must admit I never thought twice about making this consecration. Firstly, from the time I spied my husband's Miraculous Medal long before ever becoming a Christian, I longed for a stronger relationship with Mary, in that way that can make itself known unexpectedly after being hidden in one's soul. But I didn't really "get" Mary at first, as her absence in non-Catholic Christian churches is acute and almost entire and any devotion to her is usually seen as idolatry. I didn't know "how to do it" or whether Scripture supported this devotion (in fact, the Scripture knocks you over the head and makes you wonder how you could have possibly missed it before). Secondly, the woman I mentioned earlier emanates tranquility and devotion wherever she goes, a homeschooling mother of twelve children and a woman I altogether love to be around for the example she is. It reminds me of that business maxim: "When you see what works for the other guy..." :)
Now that I have gotten to know Mary better, I quite simply beg my soul to cling to her (my nature often tends toward the harder way!) as she has been given power and authority from the most high to guard our souls for Christ. In addition to her powerful intercession, I find she troubles herself rather faithfully with the material concerns in this world~~she is very much a mother in that sense, ensuring that her children have their needs met, and in that perfect way that reflects her celestial presence. Read the book for an enlightening interpretation of the story of Jacob, Esau, and Rebekah.
If you are interested in making this consecration or learning more about it, here is one link. Please note that the edition I linked to above does not contain any of the preparatory prayers for the consecration, but this last link will guide you through the process.
St. Louis-Marie de Montfort, pray for us!
Memorare and various other prayers
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.Amen.
Teach me, my Lord, to be sweet and gentle in all the events of life~~in disappointments, in the thoughtlessness of others, in the insincerity of those I trusted, in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied.
Let me put myself aside, to think of the happiness of others, to hide my little pains and heartaches, so that I may be the only one to suffer from them.
Teach me to profit by the suffering that comes across my path.
Let me so use it that it may mellow me, not harden nor embitter me; that it may make me patient, not irritable; that it may make me broad in my forgiveness, not narrow, haughty, and overbearing.
May no one be less good for having come within my influence. No one less pure, less true, less kind, less noble for having been a fellow traveler in our journey toward Eternal Life.
As I go my rounds from one distraction to another, let me whisper from time to time, a word of love to Thee. May my life be lived in the supernatural, full of power for good, and strong in its purpose of sanctity.
The prayers in Mothers' Manual
Now, I need to tag five bloggers to carry on this practice and post their own list of five favorite devotions. I pick the following:
Laura at Day By Day In Our World
Cecilia at Married to a Deacon
Two Ways of Renouncing the Devil
Tim Hollingworth at For My Flesh Is True Food (totally an excuse to trick him into writing an extra blog... :)