When I am waking up in the mornings, in that state between fully awake and still asleep, I say my first prayers of the day. I feel that for me, the veil separating Heaven and earth is somewhat thinner during this time. I find myself most open to inspiration, more malleable to what God wants from me that day.
One day, while in that state, I had just completed my prayers when I “saw” a rose petal on the floor by my bed. I thought that was really curious, for there were no roses in my room, but then I was stunned when this beautiful luminous Lady entered my room and gleefully picked the petal up. She threaded a string through the petal, binding it with many others in a long garland coiled in her simple side-bag. She looked at me, smiled, turned around, and walked out of my room. I was startled by this, but her smile compelled me to action; I jumped out of bed and ran to follow behind her.
Before I knew it, I was following this Lady through the streets of an old town as she kept picking up and stringing all the rose petals that were found along the way. She really had a knack for finding them. It was as if she was drawn to them. Every time she found up a petal, a beautiful smile appeared on her bright face as if she had discovered a great little treasure.
The rose petals were found in all sorts of places -- at homes and in the market, in benches at the park and at the plaza, at the beautiful church, and in some extraordinary tall buildings. But also in some small, sad places where you would think hope is scarce. Regardless of the location and its condition, whereas in light or darkness, the Lady went forth and retrieved each petal she found along the way.
I kept following her from a distance, still trying to make sense of what was happening. After some time, the Lady entered a grand plaza, and she proceeded to stop by a majestic water fountain. This fountain was made of stone and marble and was so tall that it was as if it was reaching for the sky. The fountain was surrounded by nine circular rows of angels, each of the “choirs” looking up to the Heavens, every row in succession a little higher but with a smaller circumference than the previous one.
There, by the shade of the fountain, a poor homeless woman was sitting on the ground protected from the sun, and there was a large pile of rose petals by her side. Every time someone stopped by the poor woman and spoke to her kindly or smiled, acknowledging her, another petal would grace the pile. The Lady smiled, took all of the rose petals from the mound, and added them to her string with glee. She then took all the petals in the string and arranged them as a rose garland around the beautiful fountain, adorning even more what was already a very ornate piece. Once done, she put her hands together in a prayerful gesture, and in a flash of light, the garland vanished.
Everything around us was enveloped in white light; the homeless woman could not be seen anymore, the rose petal Lady was nowhere to be found, nothing but the illuminated path home could be seen. I was startled yet again by the sudden change, but then I remembered that I had to go to work, so I hurried on home.
Once I got back, I sat right by my desk, amazed but still a little confused, when I felt my rosary beads on my neck. I took my rosary and finished my morning prayers, thinking of the many things I had seen. I prayed as usual for the many who have entrusted me with prayers and asked for the wisdom to understand... and when I finished, there were a few rose petals right by my desk... then I woke up, and inspired by this, I sat to write down this experience.
After much prayer and discernment, I humbly realize now that our prayers are not really our own. Yes, we are the instrument by which they happen, but they are not really ours. Our prayers have value, and our prayers’ power is meant for those who need it the most. We may be the people most in need of prayers, but we can still not claim our prayers for our own. Who helps determine the perfect distribution for our prayers’ merit?
I believe the beautiful Lady in my dream was our Blessed Mother Mary. Mother Mary was teaching me that our prayers are a most pleasant offering to God. She showed me how our prayers are gifts that we can offer wherever we are, in every life situation, and are a simple way to exercise our hearts of Charity, a virtue gifted to us by our Lord through our communion with Him.
Our Lady knows what to do for the good of the ones most in need, for the ones in true poverty. Our Mediatrix of Mercy will help determine the most efficacious way to distribute the merit from our prayers. She will arrange our offering into a most beautiful garland of fragrant roses, amplifying the efficacy of our single rose petal, our most humble prayer.
So, what do we do now that we know? When we pray, let us make it a conscious effort. Let us pray for the ones that have a genuine need and include them directly in our intentions. Let us always ask our Blessed Mother Mary to collect our prayers, arrange them ornately and send them directly to her Son, Our Lord. We trust our Mother Mary to do this efficiently and lovingly, and that through Her intercession, our Lord may accept them lovingly; that through His Grace, they may contribute light to this world in darkness.
Let us pray: Mother Mary, blessed Mother of God, take us by the hand and teach us how to pray. Please guide us towards the will of the Father so that our prayer and actions may become an acceptable offering, united to the perfect sacrifice of our Lord, for the good of the Kingdom. Amen.
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We are Ivonne J. Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.
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