After a long absence, dear readers, I bring you a long and nearly pointless post. The only point is to share a little bit of my life with all of you. So:
I prayed the Hail Mary for the first time when I was 7 years old. I'd just made my first Confession and Father S. gave me one Our Father and one Hail Mary as penance. I went and told my mother and she said, "Okay, then do them." "I don't know how they go," I replied. So she took out my Precious Moments Bible, which had prayers in the back, and put a paper clip on the page that had the Our Father and the Hail Mary. That paper clip stayed in there for years.
When I was 10 I prayed the rosary for the first time, at a rosary procession led by our associate pastor, Father A. It grabbed me, for reasons I don't think I'll ever be able to explain, and for about 4 years after that I prayed the rosary as often as I could, usually right before I went to sleep. (Actually, I usually fell asleep during. My guardian angel finished a lot of rosaries.)
Then I got out of the habit, for a couple of different reasons. When I came to Franciscan, I started getting peer pressure, if you will, to start up again. But I was "too busy."
During this past Holy Week, I decided I was just going to do it. And I did, every day for seven days. And did a little better about keeping up with it afterwards.
Then in July the Cobbler invited me to join a Facebook group, "August 15th Worldwide Consecration to Jesus Through Mary." I did, because I'd heard of a lot of people doing it and it seemed like something that was at least worth investigating further. The Cobbler and Theocentrica and I decided that we would do the Consecration on December 8 rather than August 15. (You can do it on any major Marian feast, from what I understand.)
Then in August I started taking Mariology, noting with amusement that my final was scheduled for December 8. (About two weeks beforehand it got rescheduled because the professor does not like having exams on holy days of obligation.) And sometime in there I started actually praying the rosary almost every day. And I started really really wanting to do the Consecration--not because everyone else at Franciscan does it, but because I needed it.
One day, my Mariology professor said that the rosary gives you the desire for Consecration, and I felt sort of gently stunned (if that's logically possible). I think that was shortly before we started doing the preparatory prayers.
Then on December 8 I went to Mass at 10 a.m., with the paper bearing the words of the consecration and my consecration chain in my purse, and after Mass I sat outside the Port and shivered a little and whispered the words and fastened the chain on my wrist. I haven't taken it off since. The Consecration, with my signature on it, is still in my purse. I realized that about a week ago, and decided I might as well leave it in there.
Just so this post has some sort of conclusion: During the preparation, I was having "coffee" with my household advisor and she asked if I was close to Mary. I thought about it for several moments and finally said, "It's not so much that I'm close to her as that she's just always been there."
And she still is.