In his book, “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin” St. Louis De Montfort writes:
“Because Mary remained hidden during her life she is called by the Holy Spirit and the Church, Alma Mater, Mother hidden and unknown. So great was her humility that she desired nothing more upon earth than to remain unknown to herself and to others, and to be known only to God. In answer to her prayers to remain hidden, poor and lowly, God was pleased to conceal her from nearly every other human creature in her conception, her birth, her life, her mysteries, her resurrection, and assumption. Her own parents did not really know her; and the angels would often ask one another, “Who can she possibly be?,” for God had hidden her from them, or if he did reveal anything to them, it was nothing compared with what He withheld.”
Before I came to know Mary, and before I gained a huge dose of humility I was extremely prideful (heck, I still am, but God knows how much I used to be….) I have always been more or less involved in my home youth group of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Parish in College Station, and during my junior and senior year, I was privileged to be part of our peer leadership team called P.U.L.S.E. There were only a few from my Confirmation class that were still involved in STAY (the acronym for our youth group) and I was one of those students (there were roughly about three or four of us that stayed until our senior year) and being the oldest of that leadership group, my classmates and I were looked upon for many tasks and supplied support to the inner-workings of the youth group and retreats. (Basically, we made things go smoothly for CORE team and made retreats awesome–in Pines-speak we were the “SWAT/Program staff” of the youth group (minus SWAT duties of serving food, garbage duty, and deep cleaning).
During our senior year, we were looked on as so much more, and I especially took on a huge leadership role as Director of our Annual Passion Play Project we do at the end of every Lent.
Now, going back a few years…There was a special group of people to me who exemplified leadership and who I idolized in the way that I wanted to be like them and leave my mark on STAY history (and on the hearts of the teens involved with STAY) as they did on mine. Among this group of girls (Whom I came to call the Senior Church/Choir Girls (yeah…you know who you are)…there stood out two of them who I wanted to be just like. Repeatedly I told myself that I wanted to leave my mark, to be remembered just as they had. For a couple years after they graduated, the names of these two women were uttered in a sort of awe and respect that I longed for deeply.
So, during my senior year, when through extenuating circumstances I became the sole Director of Passion Play 2011, it went to my head, big time. I saw my opportunity, my chance to become like those two women. To be remembered, to leave my mark on STAY History and have MY name uttered with that same awe and respect. Little did I know that God had some other plans for me.
It was that same year that I consecrated myself to Mary. It didn’t dawn on me at the time, Mary’s humility, and the passage above certainly didn’t stick out to me when I read and analyzed De Montfort’s book. It was more of a gradual thing..and definitely became realized AFTER I graduated and had finished Passion Play and all of that.
I shall begin with that story in a moment, first a little bit about humility that I discovered through the years:
Humility is not about putting yourself down or making yourself out to be this horrible person and not being able to take a compliment. Humility is about making yourself smaller and smaller in order to make Christ greater and greater.
We humble (small), and lowly creatures, take pride in ourselves, in being known. We long for fame and glory, we desire to be remembered.
That was how it was for me during those years I was a leader in my youth group. I longed for that glory, to be remembered, I wanted to leave a legacy that had people saying years down the line “Remember Caroline? Remember how she loved her faith, what an amazing Woman of God!”
I thought I had realized this when I became director of passion play. I thought to myself, “here’s my chance! With this I’ll leave my mark, my legacy, i’ll be remembered!”
I pushed myself to make it absolutely perfect and whatever God wanted it to be. At the end when the final performance was over, I had gotten my five minutes of fame, but I had forsaken myself to what I was supposed to take away from the Passion of Our Lord.
God made it clear to me that He wanted me to be humble, that I was only to be known to Him and be satisfied with that. At first, I wasn’t…Oh man, I wasn’t…but then, as usual with God, one day, I read that passage from True Devotion…and I realized.
I wanted to be like Mary.
Which meant so many things..giving up that wanting to be remembered complex and letting myself grow smaller in order for God to grow bigger. In essence, bearing Christ in my womb, giving of my very body so that He would grow in me.
But I knew that through humility, not pride, not greatness, I would have my remembrance. Mary was unknown, and the most humble woman ever to walk the Earth. Yet we are STILL speaking about her and loving her. It is in being more like Mary, that I wanted to be remembered.
I had gone from “Remember Caroline?” to “Remember what that woman said about Mary?”
I had finally realized that it was in Mary that I was to find my legacy. In Christ, through Mary would I be remembered by God, and God alone, and I was so incredibly satisfied to know that, because GOD was the only one that mattered.
Especially when I realized that people’s memories fade, those two women, whose names were uttered with respect and awe, if mentioned today…would be remembered with an “oh yeah, they were cool”. During my five minutes of fame, I realized that earthly glory faded, it faded fast, and was never remembered. But the Glory of God was to be PRAISED. To be REMEMBERED forever.
And so, in order to be like Mary, to be humble, I had to accept that I didn’t matter. That being remembered was nothing. I had to live by a different concept–that God should be remembered through me.