Gaining insight on Our Lady of Providence
I first became aware of Our Lady of Providence in high school. Her portrait presided over every visit to the home of my favorite date, who was taught by her Sisters, became one of them upon graduation, and has remained my closest spiritual friend.
But it is through many years of praying the rosary daily, reflecting anew each morning on the Mysteries appropriate for that day, that I’ve gained some insight into how Mary served, and still serves, as Our Lady of Providence. Although most of the Mysteries have served that purpose, a few have been special sources of inspiration for me.
Monday, the First Joyful Mystery. The Father’s providential plan for our salvation required His Son to become a human being, and was thus dependent on His having a human mother whom, like every one of us, the Father created with freewill. For Mary, a young, unwed teenager in a small Galilee town, merely to be found pregnant would subject her to extreme religious and social condemnation. Everyone would know and gossip and many would shun her and her baby. But she chose to have, care for and raise her child. In so choosing, she made the Father’s providential plan work for us, and became and remains today, Our Lady of Providence.
Tuesday, the Second Luminous Mystery. A mature woman now, Mary didn’t see herself as a mere guest at the Cana wedding feast. She assumed personal responsibility for the success of her hosts, saw what they needed, and told her Son what it was. Mary didn’t have to tell Jesus what to do. Rather she told the servers, as she tells us, “Do whatever He tells you.” Mary’s similar loving concern and intercession for our own needs also make her Our Lady of Providence, because often it’s her intercession that moves her Son to provide for us what we need and sometimes, as at Cana, a great deal more.
Wednesday and Friday, the Fifth Sorrowful Mystery. Mary is profoundly Our Lady of Sorrows on these two days, but I also recall that, at the very last moment, Jesus looked down on her and the one male disciple who didn’t run away, and enjoined them to be mother and son going forward. That disciple, we are told, took her into his own home. If we were to emulate him, I think, she would be for us, as her prayer card proclaims, “Our Lady of Providence, Queen of the Home.”
Thursday and Weekends, the Fifth Glorious Mystery. Monday’s remembrance of Mary’s relief when she found her lost boy in the Temple pales to insignificance compared to the emotions she must have felt when she saw her Resurrected Son! And I’ve wondered, while she remained here after His ascension, what she thought about all that had transpired since she chose to have and raise a baby in such socially and religiously hostile circumstances? But when she and her Son were finally reunited in heaven, I’m sure she must have realized that, because she had freely made the fateful choice she did, she enabled God’s providential plan for our salvation work, and that she was indeed both Our Lady of Providence and Queen of Heaven.