It is very true, but it seems that the only lady for my heart is Maria! She's a most wonderful person. She's very kind, loving, and compassionate. She's the most beautiful woman that ever graced this world. Her purity, her charity, her goodness, no other woman can match. I love her, and I know that she prays for me every day, even when I fail her, she loves me still. It is her face I see in my darkest hour, it is she who sustains me when I have fallen. And when I'm alone lost in darkness, a single thought of her brings a tear and ray of hope. I love her, I am her wayward son, brought back to life by the call of my own dear mother, my Maria.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, mater mei.
In Canandaigua, my hometown, we have a very beautiful church dedicated to Our Lady: St. Mary's. I used to go there often. Many times, I would enter the Church when it was dark, and all that illuminated the church was the flickering red lamp by the tabernacle, and the dim outdoor street light that would glow enough to illuminate the windows themselves. There is an altar rail before the Blessed Sacrament, so one can kneel down and pray very close. The church would creak in the darkness, and my eyes would play tricks on me as I peered into the darkness seeing moving shadows. It would take me a great amount of bravery to step into that darkness to pray the stations of the cross. The church is very large. But always, as I traveled that via dolorosa, there was the red light stretching forth its light as a bearing as I made my way toward the crucifixtion. It seemed to say, "He is here! I attest He is here!" That little lamp was my point of reference as I stumbled through that murcky darkness, meditating on the passion, or crying out my sorrows and sins to the Lord in anguish and bitter tears.
In the front of Church, four great windows lay opposite each other dedicated to Our Blessed Mother. On the right, an angel with a pure white lily gives Maria the angelic salutation, and she with hands folded across her breast looks down with humility, and gives her "Fiat", and she conceives Our Lord in her blessed womb. On the right side, beside this window is Christ teaching in the Temple. And above him, on the ceiling, a red candle burns! Yet, look in the corner of the window, and you see a mother suddenly relieved from the anguish of having lost her Son for three days. There is still sorrow on her face for she shall lose her tender child once again! On the left side, Mary is Queen of the apostles, and the Holy Spirit comes down upon them on Pentecost. Mary is at the center surrounded by the apostles now inspired with zeal by the Holy Spirit. At her feet, St. Peter kneels with the keys of the kingdom set before her. And beside this window, Our Lady is gloriously assumed into heaven with the moon 'neath her feet, and the angels place a crown on her head, as her eyes took ever upward to God. But the dome over the altar is the most beautiful. For there is Mary facing the people, and the Holy Trinity crowns her Queen of Heaven and Earth! These windows have told me more than a dozen sermons. Indeed, the windows teach the Faith, when preachers fail. The sacred art has spoken so much to me, that if I did not have recourse to it, I might not have continued to believe the truths of God.
Today is first Friday, June 3rd. I spent two hours at the church this morning. Just in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and then looking at the windows. The Blessed Sacrament is exposed in a side chapel, so there being no one in the rest of the church, I was free to kneel before the windows and pray. I felt peaceful, at rest. And I haven't felt any peace for a long time. My nights are not peaceful, and my days have been sad. I got up, made my way toward the center of the Church, and looked at the altar, then the high altar, then ad coelos: toward the heavenly coronation of Mary. Then, I slowly alighted the steps of the altar, and made my way to the high altar. I looked at those steps a moment. The thought crossed my mind that somebody might see me, and yell at me. I didn't really care if anyone saw me, this was more important for me. I took three steps, and knew from where I was that I faced Jerusalem. Here the angels gathered, and faced the King of Glory chanting holy, holy, holy ... and rather unconsciously I began to whisper those words as well. I don't know how long I stood there at the High Altar. I was happy to stand there. And I felt happy to completely forget myself, and time for a while seemed to forget me.
I stepped down from the sanctuary, and in the rear of Church I beheld a chalice. Father must have been going to say Mass soon, since it was on the table where the gifts are placed. Chalice and paten, they were both there. Yet, the chalice caught my eye, and with delight I read the inscription: Hic est enim calix sanguinis mei! It was very beautiful. In this sacred vessel, My God offers Himself for us, for me! For me, all this is full of powerful images with meaning I cannot express. I forgot to mention that I had my Prayerbook, and I read the first prayer that caught my eye: Oratio ad Beatam Mariam Virginem. It is a prayer before Mass for priests.
I went back to the chapel, and prayed some more before the Blessed Sacrament. All this has culminated in two resolutions. The first is to become a saint. I have decided God is calling me to be a priest. Next summer, I'm going to go to the Legionaries of Christ's summer candidacy program. If God is indeed calling me elsewhere, I know he'll bless me for giving Him the first shot, and I'll be joining y'all for a rousing Fall semester in Rome Junior Year. I'd have gone this year, but the program begins today, and I haven't talked about it with my parents yet! I'd have no arrangements for going to Connecticut. But right now, the thought of becoming a priest inspires and animates me. And I have been called to love passionately. It's in my personality: if I do anything I get passionate about it! I turned a simple request for a bagel and fruit into a full breakfast! Just ask the ladies who got the surprise continental breakfast in their dorm, thanks to the lovely and gracious Maria G. of Christendom! But its in me, its in my music, its in my songs! It bursts out in happiness, and whom could I love more passionately than Christ! I can finally see myself as the rug. And now I want to be the rug for people to step over to get to Christ.
I did not seek to be a saint at Christendom. I said and did things that would have shamed my Mother, who saw that I was not taking advantage of all the spiritual treasures that just lay at my feet! This treasure of grace could've saved me from a great deal of sins, and bitter sorrows. And I didn't become more Christlike, because I sought the attention of others. When I return I know I will have this temptation and many others, but I know that if I take advantage of all the spiritual riches my Mother has provided, I shall do well, and learn to love as I have never loved before. And oneday learn to love that seeks no return. And to love perfectly is to love as Christ loves. Maria will help me, Mater Maria, mater mei, and that is why I love her so!