The policeman seemed to emerge from the shadows right next to our van, wearing a bullet proof vest and carrying his weapon in a defensive posture. He walked along the street, eyes darting, attempting to penetrate the darkness as he searched. My husband picked up speed as we tried to find our way through the maze of emergency vehicles that blocked our usual route home.
We had the baby with us, but we’d left our other five children at home under the watchful eye of our 13-year-old. We’d hoped to bring some of the peace and relaxation from our date night home with us, but our tension only built as we wondered what we were returning home to.
Fortunately, we got out of the crime scene safely, and the street on which we lived was quiet. The Hail Mary’s I’d been silently repeating in my head dissolved into relief as I walked in the door of our house to find all of our children safe and happy.
We soon learned that during an attempted robbery in the neighborhood through which we had just driven, a homeowner had been shot and the “armed and dangerous” suspect had fled on foot.
Right here in small town Kansas.
In a good neighborhood.
Where my husband and I had just been driving, right around the time of the crime.
You can try to do everything possible to keep your family safe. But no matter where you live, or what you do, there will always be an element of evil in the world that is completely beyond your control.
That is where our Blessed Mother comes in.
The messages of Fatima tell us that Mary is aware and interested in everything that happens in our world. From our personal interior lives, to the realm of the political sphere, she is there. She is fearless. And she is fighting for all of us. She carries our prayers to our Lord in a splendor of purity and glory–she prays for us in a way that we never could on our own. At the Fatima apparitions in 1917, she warned us of the imminence of world war, and of our fate if our hearts are not fully converted to the Lord.
Because she cares. Deeply.
When an assassin attempted to murder Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1981, the bullet narrowly missed vital organs. Although badly injured, the pope recovered, and was convinced that it was our Lady who saved him. As he said, “One hand shot, and another guided the bullet.” Even the assassin himself revealed in an interview that he was shocked his bullet had missed its mark. He seemed to realize that an unseen force had worked against him.
This is why we honor Mary, and why we teach our children to honor her. Her yes to be the mother of Jesus was also her yes to be a mother to us all–a yes to do everything possible to bring the world to her Son.
My children have loved hearing the story of the Fatima apparitions during this special anniversary year. We continue to make an effort to pray the Rosary together as a family, and we all enjoyed an evening at a local IHM novitiate house where we shared a meal, joined a procession with our Lady of Fatima, and prayed a Rosary with several hundred others.
And I am grateful and relieved that I can give my children a mother who, unlike me, is perfect. A mother who will watch over my children when I cannot. A mother who will help me as we work together to carry them to heaven.
For more ideas on sharing the Catholic faith with your children, see Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s book Feeding Your Family’s Soul: Dinner Table Spirituality.
Copyright 2017 Charisse Tierney