“All the true children of God, the predestinate, have God for their Father, and Mary for their Mother.” ~ St. Louis de Montfort
A Special Photo
My paternal grandfather loved photography and was a photographer by trade. There’s one photo in particular that’s very special to him and my family.
Grandpa and Grandma used to visit a Marian shrine near their home. During one visit, Grandpa photographed a statue of Mary.
The statue was positioned near the doorway of the chapel, which made it difficult to photograph.
He said there was no way to capture the photo without getting “hot spots” — shiny glares — on the statue’s face. (In those days, photography wasn’t digital and couldn’t be edited the way it is today.)
He tried his best, assuming hot spots would be visible when the film was developed…
As if by a miracle, the photo came out perfectly!
According to Grandpa, this was no ordinary photo. He gave all credit to the Blessed Mother and said she took the photo, not him.
To thank and honor Mary, he distributed this photo to countless people throughout the world. He never accepted profit or praise. The photos were always distributed freely and graciously.
If you’re a relative or family friend, I can almost guarantee you have a copy of this photo. For those who’d like to view it, please visit my Facebook page. (I posted it on Monday, February 25th.)
Side note: An employee of the shrine said the statue is now in Medjugorje, the place where Mary has reportedly been appearing since 1981. Grandpa was fascinated by this information.
Love for the Blessed Mother
Grandpa had a genuine love for Mary. He was the first person I knew whose admiration for her was both visible and tangible.
He was committed to the Rosary and prayed it everyday. During a time when he could barely communicate, Grandpa held the beads tightly and followed along silently while my family prayed.
About five years ago, I developed a devotion to the Blessed Mother.
She opened my eyes and my heart and made me realize that I needed her in my life.
She made her presence known and asked me to begin praying the Rosary. After several months, I finally listened. (She was persistent, and I was stubborn. Sorry Mother.)
My relationship with her grew until, one day, I finally understood Grandpa’s feelings for her. These feelings became my very own!
I’m convinced his devotion was responsible for sparking mine. After all, that special photo has been in my family’s home for as long as I can remember.
A Strong Faith and Humble Heart
Grandpa’s faith was strong.
He believed wholeheartedly in the teachings of the Church and was loyal to the Mass, the Eucharist and prayer.
No matter what trials or tribulations he faced, his trust and hope in God never wavered. He willingly carried his cross each day and never gave up.
He was thankful for simple things — things many might take for granted — and frequently expressed his gratitude to God and others.
An Important Lesson
Grandpa taught me numerous lessons, mainly by his example.
The most important lesson is fidelity to God and the Blessed Mother.
While the older generations slowly move on, we must not let the religious devotions and piety move on with them.
We must learn from their example and be fully committed to our faith. We must make it visible and share it with others. We must never be afraid to be devout Christians/Catholics.
If I can wear my faith on my sleeve the way he did and help even one person grow closer to Jesus (through Mary), what an incredible gift that would be!
Grandpa was over 60 years older than me. Our childhood and life experiences were very different.
None of that mattered.
We formed a connection through our Catholic faith and our devotion to God and Mary. Our connection was special — and different than what I experience with many in my own generation.
Grandpa passed away earlier this month at the age of 94.
He received many graces in the time leading up to his passing. I’m grateful that I was able to be with him during his last day on earth and share in the Lord’s blessings.
I believe his devotion to God and Mary allowed him to experience a happy, holy death. I have no doubt that the Blessed Mother was with him in his final moments, guiding him on the journey…
“Happy is he who lives and dies under the protection of the Blessed Virgin.” ~ St. John Vianney
Grandpa, thank you for your life, your love and your example. You are dearly missed. And I promise to continue to share the photo!
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.