As a child, I never knew Our Lady.
I knew of her in the stable at Bethlehem with the little baby and Joseph,but that I think, was all.My only exposure to her was at evensong in the parish church(low Church of England)and the singing of the Magnificat.I did not know it was Our Lady's song,her great response to the Almighty,but I loved the words,especially if I remember correctly "For he that is mighty hath done great things unto me,and holy is his name".I wondered often about the one whose name was holy......
My childhood was christian orientated.The school I attended was an ordinary state school,but very christian in ethos and practices.Morning assembly with hymns and prayers,grace before lunch and friday afternoon bible stories.It was there at school, that I came to know the Parables and learned to love the historical Jesus.I learnt about the disciples ,I learnt about Zacheus who climbed the tree ,blind Bartimaeus ,and the poor lepers,but never a word about Our Lady.Understandable of course,the protestant view of her being only, that she was blessed among women as the mother of Christ,and that is all.
So then ,she never figured in my world. She meant as much to me as maybe,the shepherds
abiding in the fields,or the three wise men with their gifts.....................Our great Lady unknown to me and unapproached. Strange then, that when I saw the rosary in the shop window, the year that I was thirteen, I wanted it.I hardly knew what it was,only that it was somehow holy,mainly because of the crucifix on the end . I wore it around my neck sometimes,or I carried it in my pocket.It accompanied me to school,and later on to work.I never prayed it.I did not know how to.Years later someone told me that holding the rosary is like reaching out for Our Lady's hand.Reaching out and clasping it.I like to think that that is so.
I suppose then, that that was the beginning of Our Lady's goodness to me.I know also,that the slightest glance towards her,be it a candle lit in her honour,or a hasty, whispered prayer, brings forth from her the sweetest of blessings on me her undeserving child.
The great Mother of God,Mary most Holy, stands at the stable door,beckoning us in.She invites us to look upon her little child ,the Saviour long promised,Emmanuel,lying in the straw wrapped in swaddling clothes.Our God,our King,born of her,her son.
Beata Mater et intacta Virgo,gloriosa Regina mundi,
intercede pro nobis ad Dominum.