Coincidences & the Final Meeting in Marian Consecration

snowy pathThree of the first four Tuesdays of our Marian Consecration had been snowed out. I wondered if it was a sign and knew if the fifth and final Tuesday was also snowed out that would be the end of it for me. The snow stopped with just enough time for the final meeting before the Consecration to go on as scheduled. I didn’t think at the time that the snow stopping might also be a sign. It couldn’t be coincidence, could it?

The meeting started at 7 pm in a Church 10 minutes away. At 7 pm I was still in my kitchen. My oldest son was at college, but my other four boys were either home or needing rides to return home soon. I had perfectly valid reasons for skipping this meeting where I was uncomfortable with what others were pledging allegiance to and where I now felt like a total outsider.

I was aware of each passing minute as I justified not going. Then something happened. I’m not sure what. All I remember is that I called a quick good-bye to my kids and rushed out the door.

I don’t like drawing attention to myself, and at 7:30, I hesitated a moment as I bit back my distaste for walking in late. The director looked up from her place in the circle of chairs and smiled as I opened the door. It was reassuring, but I was still squeamish about telling her I wouldn’t be participating in Saturday’s consecration. Fortunately, there was an empty chair right in front of the door as if it was just waiting for me. Another sign? Another coincidence?

Pope John Paul II’s Marian Consecration is No Coincidence:

By this time, I had dropped behind in the readings and didn’t know much about what Saint Pope John Paul II ask, but coincidences in his first day’s reflection proved enough for me to take notice.

2017 is the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima. Fatima holds significance for me because the message of Fatima was a big part of what called me to turn away from my lukewarm faith, but I had no idea Saint Pope John Paul II had a  particular connection to Fatima too.

Pope John Paul’s connection to Fatima went beyond a call from lukewarm faith. Lukewarm faith was not an affliction he suffered from. His was a physical connection.

The first apparition at Fatima was May 13, 1917 at 5 pm. Fatima’s last secret showed a figure, whom the children understood to be the Pope, shot and killed. Exactly 64 years later, on May 13th at 5 pm, Pope John Paul II was shot. He explains that “one hand fired, another guided the bullet.” He believes it was Mary’s hand in Fatima that allowed the bullet to miss an artery by 1/10 of an inch. The “coincidence” of May 13th was not lost on him.

May 13th 1996 was also the day the doctor confirmed the bleeding that had begun May 10th, which meant I was losing our first child to an ectopic pregnancy. I don’t believe in coincidence any more than Pope John Paul II. This was interesting, but the date wasn’t enough to convince me to consecrate myself.

The Final Meeting Before Marian Consecration:

I sat quietly in the circle during our final pre-consecration meeting. People spoke, but I’d never learned their names. I didn’t know much about those in “my” group. They were friendly and welcoming. I could have contributed, but I was an outsider. They looked as though they had worked through obstacles to consecration, while, four days before the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, I was in the midst of a great internal battle.

I sat listening without saying a word. These happy, confident people spoke of the beauty of consecration and the small celebration after.  I wouldn’t even have my boys with me that weekend. For me, Consecration morning, which should have be so beautiful, would have been spent alone. My boys would never know how much it would have meant to me to have them there or how hard I had to bite back my desire to beg them to come. Missing them wouldn’t have prevented me from participating, but it would have saddened me to go alone. It was another way the innocent in divorce are isolated even when the Church is welcoming.

But, four days before the consecration, I knew I wouldn’t be participating so it didn’t matter anyway.

Coincidences in Marian Consecration:

The director asked if we’d ever had coincidences that weren’t really coincidences. I didn’t share my two greatest coincidences. I actually consider them to be more signs than coincidences.

First, my husband and I had worked hard to build our family home. He had done a lot of the construction. I helped when I could. I had single handedly primed and painted every surface from the nine foot walls to the enormous ceilings and trim. I’d painted murals in the boys’ bedrooms and a baseball stadium in the basement. I’d made curtains for our bedroom and living rooms.

Some of my attempts were epic failures, but many made our house prettier on our limited budget. One project I couldn’t explain as a failure or success.

I’d bought two “Love Roses” to plant on either side of our front steps. My thought was that the roses represented my husband and me so anyone who climbed the steps to our front porch would be surrounded by our love on both sides even if only we knew it.

I’d done everything the same for both plants, but love only bloomed on the right side. The left side produced a few measly roses before it withered and died. I’d later wonder about the connection between those roses and the love I had for my husband compared to the love he had for me.

The other coincidence occurred a few months before my husband left. During earlier marital struggles I’d once given my husband my wedding ring back asking him to give it to me when he was ready to commit. He still had the ring, but we’d been getting along so well for so long that a piece of jewelry seemed a little thing.

Was giving him the ring back a mistake? I’ll never know. I do know I was hurting and hoping he’d tell me he loved me and wanted to make our marriage work.

I’d also never stopped wearing my engagement ring. I’d been hoping to show my commitment to our marriage had not ended. Then, one day after returning home from my son’s soccer game, I looked down to find the diamond missing. I don’t remember the prongs being loose or any other problem. The diamond was there that morning and gone a few hours later. I went back to the field and searched and searched and searched. I asked everyone I saw. No diamond. Sadly, I took off the ring and put it away.

When I asked, my husband said we could replace the diamond. I hoped he would. I hoped he’d give me my wedding ring. He never did. Was that lost diamond a coincidence or a foreshadowing of how my husband would leave? There one minute. Gone the next.

I didn’t share my “coincidences” but sat listening to others. One woman spoke about the end of her marriage. She shared an experience she believes allowed her to file for divorce. There are instances when divorce is evil but necessary, but what struck me was her saying that the priest she went to talk to about the possibility of divorce cheered her on when she had expected him to stand for her marriage.

Failure by priests to stand for Marriage is one of the greatest threats to Marriage today. It is worse than same sex unions or political agendas. Priests are men who sometimes throw in the towel as quickly as many husbands – and wives too.

Hearing this priest celebrate (might be too strong a word, but it’s close) divorce further isolated me from the group and from the Church.

Marian Consecration & Spiritual Attack:

I’d begun Marian Consecration hoping for a nice way to grow in my faith and love for the Lord. This had not been a nice journey though, and I felt under spiritual attack for much of it. I’d been struggling with who to go to for help. Who could I ask for advice. I didn’t want to over-extend the friendship offered by Rich Maffeo, the friend who’d told me to seek a spiritual advisor. Where could I turn?

I’d been thinking of contacting Leila Miller since I’d pictured myself unable to move ahead. Leila is a faithful Catholic with a strong Marriage. She’s an outspoken defender of Marriage and a voice for victims of divorce. Because of the strength of her Marriage and her convictions, Leila can spread Truth as few victims can. As I sat there listening to this woman talk of her divorce and how it seemed almost blessed by the Church, I knew I had to contact Leila about what I was hearing but about Marian Consecration too.

A Final Coincidence:

Before the meeting ended, the Consecration director pointed out something I’d always known but hadn’t thought of. I certainly hadn’t connected it with the Marian Consecration. She said Mary was about 14 when she had Jesus. Jesus was 33 when He was crucified. That made Mary 47 when Jesus died. I was also 47 years old. We were making our Marian Consecration on February 11th, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Remember, I started this Consecration because I thought it would be a “nice” thing to do. I started almost on a whim without much thought. I did not know a Consecration was supposed to be on a specific feast day. I certainly did not know it would be on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Both February 11th and Our Lady of Lourdes had major significance for me.

Was the fact that Mary was 47

and that the Consecration was held on February 11th,

which was also the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

a coincidence?

The date and stressing Mary’s age were weird, but was it more than coincidence? My mind sat unsure in silent, empty, motionless turmoil. I was unready to move forward on the path toward Mary and the Lord but uncertain about turning away from them either.

I knew I wouldn’t be attending the consecration as a participant, but I started thinking I might sneak in the back and share as an observer. As I left, the best I could do was to thank the director and tell her maybe someday in response to her asking if I’d be doing the Consecration.

I had a lot to think about, and I had to contact Leila…

*Please don’t think this is all there is! If you’ve read this far, please read through my last post on Marian Consecration! 

God Bless…

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