It was a unique and special experience because I was able to learn more about this title of Mary, pray the Rosary with focused intentions daily, and think back on the places I was able to visit in the Holy Land two summers ago (and how the author related her experience in these spaces to her devotion/understanding of Mary's role in our lives)...
|the Church of All Nations (site of the Agony in the Garden)...|
|the Western Wall (we didn't realize at the time you are not supposed to turn your back on it)...|
|Shepherds' Field (site of angel appearance to shepherds to announce Christ's birth)...|
|the Jordan River (site of Jesus' baptism)...|
|the stone of unction (in the Holy Sepulchre)...|
|Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Museum)|
All of our lives are full of knots and tangles (jealousy, pride, etc.), some visible to others and some invisible. It's hard to work through these knots by ourselves. Mary wants to help us untie them. We need to let go so she can.
Coincidentally, I was experiencing trouble with a knotted necklace chain about midway through my novena. As I struggled to untie the chain, I couldn't help but realize that the tighter I pulled and tried to control the knot, the more unmanageable it became. When I had the help of a needle and some light (and when I lightened my grip a little), I was able to get the knot undone. Needless to say, I was struck by this tangible example of undoing knots!
It's safe to say that prayer (especially to our Blessed Mother) helps us in this way too. I fully believe that we need to let go, offer up our "knots," and watch Mary work in our lives.
On another note, one that is bittersweet, summer vacation came to a conclusion today, but not before I had the chance to see some friendly faces either living in or stopping through Michigan:
|one of my ACE housemates|
|a friend from during my ACE time in AZ|
|friends from ACE whose wedding we attended this past March|