Most of my life I had a distant and somewhat tense relationship with Mary, our Mother. I understood her importance as the mother of Jesus, but I never felt a connection—more the opposite, honestly. I thought of her as the perfect woman, perfect disciple, perfect mother. I was none of those things. I looked at her and felt judged.
A friend challenged me to consider Mary as a friend rather than an adversary, a mother rather than a judge. It took a while, but one day I was praying and something clicked, that some of my most God-drenched moments happened as a mother, and it must have been that way for her even more—she was mothering the messiah, the Son of God! As I considered that, I “turned” to Mary in my mind and said, “Look—I need to go to confession later today anyway. Would you help me out? Thanks.” That seemed to be well received and I went on with my day.
A few hours later I went to confession, and although I had received the sacrament many times before, this was different. It was probably the first time I went that I didn’t feel nervous. I felt like someone really warm and kind was with me while I was in line. When I went into the confessional, the process came so easily! And when I received my penance, I was told to say the Hail Mary prayer three times.
I left the confessional and knelt in the pew to say the prayer, and as soon as I said “Hail Mary,” I had to stop. I completely choked up. It felt like I finally had a spiritual friend, someone who wanted me to be as close to her Son as she is.
If you are scared or nervous about going to sacramental reconciliation, consider praying and asking Mary to help you. She wants to help. Jesus gave her to us to help. All you need to do is ask.