There is one girl I work with that I believe Mary has a special plan for. She was born on the Holy day, the Assumption of Mary into Heaven and she shares her birthday with her grandmother. She always struck me as having a certain light about her. At first I perceived her as innocent and untainted by this sinful world. I remember her being incredibly quiet when she first started working. She got excited by the simplest of things and addressed customers in a genuine way. One day Sarah Jessica Parker came into the store and everyone was completely star struck having no idea what to do or say around her. Not her though, she went right up to her and said she loved her in “Sex and the City” and she asked for a hug. Sarah Jessica Parker just melted and gave her such a big hug if you had seen it you would have thought they were long time friends.
As I got to know her I realized that she wasn’t innocent at all. She had a child and she was addicted to marijuana, over eating, and sex. When she hit her lowest point she was seeing a guy who completely manipulated her. I believe he was the driving force that led to her darkest hours. I felt a call to pray for her while I was on pilgrimage in France specifically while in Lourdes. I believe Mary asked me to offer up my prayer intentions for her when I took the bath in the miraculous water. When I returned from France I witnessed her transformation forsaking the use of marijuana, putting her daughter first, resolving to eat better, and ultimately breaking up with this guy. At some point she began to see me as a confidant and was eager to tell me about her progress. “I am working out more, I want to loose 30 lbs.” “That guy texted me again but I didn’t respond.” I could tell when she is really proud of something that she achieved because it was always the first thing she said to me. It had gotten to the point where she sought me out.
I have started to see her wavering though. She is using language like, “I want to be bad today.” She says this when she wants a treat from the pastry department, the treats she had given up for her diet. A few days ago she told me that she had gone back to that guy. I was immediately struck by fear for her. I wanted to talk with her about it and went into “fix it” mode but it was a busy day at work and we kept in getting interrupted. I was overcome with doubt and my mind was filled with conflicting thoughts. “Had I failed Mary?” “Has all this energy that Mary had placed in her been in vain?” “What should I do?”
I know Mary has special purpose for her. When I heard that she was born on the feast of the Assumption I found myself saying, “you know Mary has touched you.” I don’t even know where that came from, it definitely wasn’t the words I would normally use. She has also been drawn to my Miraculous Medal which I bought in France. She once pointed to it and said “is the medal that is shining Mary?” She didn’t say shiny but shining, it is a subtle but important difference.
When she made the commitment to better herself I felt as though I was witnessing the prodigal son make his way back home and then welcomed with great joy by the Father. Of course we never hear the rest of the story. Were there times when the son questioned his decision to come back? Did the Father ever worry that his son would leave again? It was so beautiful getting to see my coworkers journey back to the Lord I don’t want her to stray again not when she has made such great progress. I have such faith in this girl and in Mary’s role in her life. I just have to pray that Mary’s presence continues to grow in her life.
I have been actively trying to pray more during my breaks at work. The break room is in the basement where no WiFi service can be found. The majority of my break normally was spent with me playing around with my phone waiting for it to pick up some form of service so I could at least check email. Realistically I could just take my phone upstairs and where there is better reception but my job is very physically demanding once I get down to the break room I just don’t have the energy to make my way back upstairs. Not to mention I am on my feet all day and all I have in my mind is sitting down. After one too many frustrating breaks waiting to get access to my email I decided to be more productive and pray. Luckily, prayer is the best kind of WiFi you can get, direct connection to Jesus Christ every time.
There is a very popular prayer booklet known in the Catholic community called the Pieta Prayer Book. The main purpose stated in the booklet is to “serve as a spiritual tool for those who wish to increase their daily prayer life.” I like it because it is small and easy to use, it fits into my backpack so I can carry it wherever I go. It is also unassuming, I can read it in the break room without drawing too much attention to myself. The power of Mary is strong though and the evidence of her using this booklet to call her children back to her son was quite obvious a few days ago. I was all alone in the break room reading from the Pieta and this, somewhat new, employee came in to get ready to start his shift. I don’t know him all that well and I have to admit I had allowed my perception of him to be tainted by other coworkers and rumors that have been floating around about him. These rumors basically hinted that this guy had a questionable past. One coworker went as far as to get upset with management because they should have done a more thorough background check on the guy. I never got specifics on what he had done and I am sure it was by divine design that I didn’t. I was not supposed to know, if I had I would have never been able to have this encounter with him that Mary was orchestrating all along.
When he came in he said a quick “hi” of acknowledgement, I reciprocated and went back to my reading. I was reading with the Pieta booklet in my lap, in order for someone to notice it he would have had to be looking really hard or have been directed by some external force. I have no doubt this coworker was being guided because the strong motivation and eagerness that came from him was undeniable. “What are you reading?” He asked completely out of the blue. I was slightly terrified to answer the question taking into consideration what I had heard about him and being all alone in the break room made me a little nervous. I was prompted to be honest with him and trust in God (and Mary) that they were guiding the conversation. I told him that it was a prayer book. “Can I see it?” He quickly said. He was clearly being drawn to this booklet. When I showed him it and he started to read it he really read it, he didn’t just graze over it like some people might do in similar situations. “What do you think?” I asked when he finally handed it back to me. There was a long pause, I could tell that he was having a dialogue in his head and I was beginning to wonder if the question might have been too heavy for him at that time. He did answer saying it was really deep and it was evidence of the power of forgiveness. I didn’t know how to respond to that mostly because the prayer booklet wasn’t necessarily dedicated completely towards forgiveness which gave greater confirmation that he was being guided. I just went with it, nodding along. He added that he wished it was Sunday again so that he could go to back to church, he then confessed that he just recently had returned to the faith. I could see he really wanted the booklet. I would have given him mine but mine was extremely worn, it had been through many New York rain storms and was actually still a bit soggy from them. I knew of certain Catholic stores in the area that probably would carry them though. I offered to get one for him and he brushed it aside claiming that he didn’t want me to go out of my way. I assured him that it wouldn’t be. He gave me a truly beautiful smile, one of possible hope which came after a little sigh of relief. I think he truly needs this booklet and I believe Mary used it to call him back to her son, Jesus.
Mary is never to be out done. I witnessed a true encounter between Mary and one of her children that day in the break room. The Pieta Booklet is dedicated to the Dear Lady of Ephesus to honor her Assumption. I have no doubt that Mary is at work in this young man’s life and maybe he does have a questionable past but that just makes this encounter all the more powerful. I thank Mary and Jesus for allowing me to play a small part in this young man’s journey back to the faith.