The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart
that it was time- I must ask Julie to be my wife. I began to pray about
what we could do to spiritually prepare ourselves for this moment (without
giving away the surprise of the Engagement). I already knew how I wanted
to do it – before our Blessed Lord in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of the
Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC; a place
where I had made a pilgrimage shortly after my initial conversion with my
family 12 years previous). Team Orthodoxy(minus Brooke and with the
addition of another friend, Maggie) was attending a Christian Music
festival only a few hours from DC and hen planning to go to DC for a
couple of days. This was the perfect setting. However I knew that this
decision to become Engaged demanded a good preparation and so I prayed
about how to help ready Julie and myself. The more I prayed, the more I
felt a push toward the Consecration to Our Lady, developed by St.
Maximillian Kolbe, and in so doing, become a member of the Militia
Total Consecration to our Lady, promulgation of the faith, and the
overthrow of the enemies of the Catholic Church, through prayer, penance,
and evangelization. It is comprised of thousands of members from across
the Globe with members of the laity, priests, religious, and members of
many religious orders from Dominicans to Carmelites. So we spent the
prescribed time in preparation for the day of the consecration, praying
daily leading up to August 15th – the Feast of the the Assumption of our
OUR LADY OF VICTORY
Looking back in hindsight, our trip was truly dedicated and focussed on
Mary. This was completely unintentional on our part, but I think the
Blessed Mother was orchestrating it in such a way to show herself present
to us. We began our Pilgrimage trip by visiting the Cathedral of Our Lady
of Victory in Lackawanna NY. We prayed the Litany of Our Lady of Victory
with the congregation after attending Mass and after a brief visit to the
gift shop, got on our way to Purple Door.
OUR LADY OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT
After a weekend of going from stage to stage at the Purple Door Music and
Arts Festival at a Ski resort outside of Harrisburg, PA, we went to Sunday
Mass in Harrisburg at a parish named Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament
(which is a Marian devotion that St. Peter Julian Eymard fostered
greatly). Mary was stalking us for sure. Departing from there and after
spending a ludicrous amount of time navigating the Capitol of the United
States, whose traffic Mike compared to “driving with demonic three year
olds”, we finally made it to our destination.
The four of us found ourselves in a cramped hotel in the middle of
downtown Washington DC. Tired from a long few days, we decided to stay in
for the night because we still had 2 more days of busyness ahead of us.
Mike and I shared one room, and the girls were in the room beside us.
After dinner, we returned to the hotel to enjoy a night in. Being unable
to get to an open church as this was the night Julie and I were to
complete our Marian consecration, we set up a makeshift altar on a
dresser, with a crucifix and picture of our Lady on an iPod, draped in the
Vatican Flag which we used for an altar cloth. It was in this small hotel
room in Washington DC that our consecration to the Blessed Virgin began.
Mike just stood by to watch this occur. At the end of this powerful
Consecration prayer, we placed the Miraculous Medal around our necks, as a
sign of our total consecration to our Lady.
Personally, I felt almost an immediate revitalization of heart. My love
for God and our Lady grew in what felt like an instant, upon completing my
words of personal consecration. I felt ready to take on whatever was to
come in the future, and to do it not only beside my betrothed, but to do
it beside my fellow warrior in the Militia Immaculata. The two of us,
with our Lady, Queen of Heaven and Mother of Mercy, were now armed to
stand against the firey arrows that would fly our way to discourage us
from entering into the Sacrament of Matrimony, building a Catholic family,
and pursuing lives of holiness.
And the arrows came.
The morning came – the big day. “Where’s my toothbrush…my
toiletries…Where are they?” I asked in a panic. “I don’t know man”,
Mike replied. Turns out, my toiletries decided to remain at the hotel
in Harrisburg PA, to enjoy some much needed vacation. They wanted more
time by the pool, I guess. So, someone had to share their toothbrush with
me (John 15:13). God bless him. So off to a little rough start, but it
was only the beginning.
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
Off to the Cathedral for Mass and to tour the 6th biggest Cathedral in the
world and of course to haul the bookshop. On the way there, my car began
to struggle. It began to hiccup and felt like the power in the car was
being drained. I pulled the car over to let it sit for a few minutes,
turned it back on and it worked. The car had just been checked before our
trip and had been given a clean bill of health, so something was up for
sure. We made it to the cathedral and went inside. We were incredibly
blessed as we were able to attend Confession, Eucharistic adoration, and
to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It was the perfect preparation.
As we made our way upstairs, my heart began to pound but an tremendous
amount of peace resided in my heart. I knew this decision to ask Julie to
marry me was one we were ready for, and that God wanted it. We finally
made it into the Eucharistic Chapel and well long story short, she said
The engagement went without a hitch. The video can be seen here:
However after that was all said and done, I found that I was without my
wallet. I couldn’t find it anywhere. However we had obligations across
the city and had to get there, so I left it in the hands of Mary and St.
Anthony of Padua (I would most likely be dead without this dude’s
intercession – real talk), and we got in the car (which started without a
hitch) and drove to downtown DC again to go to the International Spy
Museum. Our first activity there ended badly as our GPS guided city
Adventure failed due to the Satellite guide failing to work half-way
through the adventure. Afterward, we went for dinner with my roommate from
College and then began the trip home.
O Mary, conceived without sin,
Pray for us who have recourse to thee.
OUR LADY OF THE HIGHWAYS
Before we began to drive, we laid hands on the car and prayed for its
health (I can hear our strictly traditional readers saying “those crazy
Charismatics”). We got in the car and began our 3 hour drive back to
Harrisburg where we planned on staying the night before continuing our
journey the following day. We prayed the Rosary together as a group.
Upon finishing we began to joke about the car’s fiasco back in the city.
1.5 hours from DC and 2 hours from Harrisburg, in what was like a flash of
comedic timing, the car suddenly lost power and we found ourselves under
an underpass in the middle of nowhere, Maryland.
OUR LADY, HELP OF CHRISTIANS
Stuck in a whole other country, with a dead car, on the night of my
engagement, here we were – stuck under an overpass on the main highway
leading into DC known as the Capitol Beltway. Thank God our Canadian
Automobile Association membership had been renewed. Though, the people at
their call centre were about as smart as a log, 2.5 hours later a tow
truck arrived to take us to our hotel which, again to our surprise was not
in the city we were originally advised, but 45 minutes from where we were.
By the time the 4 of us got into the tow truck, we were in absolute
hysterics. Our driver was very charitable, and quite understanding. He
was laughing almost as hard as we were, just because we were in such a
deplorable state. “What else could go wrong?” we would ask, laughing as
we said it.
Worn from a day of walking from altar to altar, grotto to grotto,
landmark to landmark, we packed into a two double bed room, the boys to
one bed and the girls to the other bed, as we only had a limited amount of
money we couldn’t afford two rooms. By this time it was after midnight,
and so we crashed.
OUR LADY OF PROVIDENCE
To be honest, my sleep that night was not great. Though I was extremely
tired, my adrenaline was pumping. I had been entrusted with the safety
and well being of my friends. I was the one leading this pilgrimage in a
way, so I needed help. “Blessed Mother, I need your help right now”. I
woke up early that morning. After making numerous calls, I found someone
who stated they had the part I needed and agreed to fix it today. From
here, I called AAA to have them take Mike and I to the garage with the car
to get it fixed. As the tow truck pulled up, another kind man welcomed us
and got our car onto the back of the truck. As we got into the cab of the
truck the driver asked where we were headed and then asked the most
important question, next to “Will you marry me” on this trip.
“Are you sure they have the part”, He asked.
“Well the guy I spoke to said they had…”
“Are you absolutely sure?”, he questioned.
“Well I can’t say for su…”
“You better call them” he said.
I called. Turns out, they never had the part in the first place. The
driver told us after I hung up the phone that garages tend to advise they
have something when they don’t, in order to milk as much out of you as
possible. He then said, “Let me make a call”. Sure enough he knew of a
garage that had the part we needed and that would bump us to first
priority because of our status with AAA. Who would think an alternator
would cost so much eh? Almost a Grand later, and a couple failed attempts
to get her going properly and returns to the shop, we were on our way.
It was too late to begin the trek home. As Julie and I both work for
Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and we did not want to sleep in a motel
again, we decided to look into the Sheraton Harrisburg, where we had
stayed the first couple of nights of our trip, to see if they could open
up an employee discount for us. Perhaps if they heard our story, they
could make an exception for us, as they had closed out the discount for
that night. Julie called, and to our great surprise, they opened it for
us. Spending less than we did at the Ramada, we were able to relax for
the night, go swimming, eat at Olive Garden, and rest up for the journey
home the next morning.
OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP
After an incredible journey, filled with joy and tests of trust, we made
it. With smiles on our faces (most of our faces that is), full hearts,
and empty wallets, we were home. Newly engaged with a real story to tell,
we knew for a fact that God is always faithful, though He does take you to
the edge sometimes. In hindsight, we can see our Lady’s maternal care for
us from day one. The Immaculate Heart of Mary truly triumphed in that
pilgrimage. Though we had to go through all that we did, she took care of
us and carried us through it all. The Blessed Mother, after that small
time of exile, truly revealed a little more of the Blessed fruit of her
womb. I truly hope for more opportunities to grow closer to her like that,
so that in the end, I will be made a little more worthy of the Promises of
In the Immaculata,
Posted on December 12, 2011, in Catholic, Catholic Clergy, chastity, Church Corruption and Renewal, Current Events, faith, Love, marriage, Orthodoxy, prayer, Saints, Testimony. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.