By Jourdan Reynolds
I always enjoy this time of year. The weather becomes cooler, the leaves begin to change, everything becomes pumpkin flavored and we celebrate our Mother Mary.
We dedicate September to Our Lady of Sorrows and October to the Holy Rosary. We are reminded of the communion of saints in November (which includes Mary), and celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in December. All of these devotions remind us of Mary’s presence as our spiritual mother. As the Mother of God, she wants to bring us ever closer to her son. Allow me to share how Mary has recently brought me closer to her son, Jesus.
“Totus tuus ego sum, et omnia mea tua sunt” is a Latin phrase meaning, “I belong entirely to you, and all that I have is yours.” This phrase comes from St. Louis de Montfort’s spiritual classic, “True Devotion to Mary.” It expresses St. Louis’ willingness and determination to love God as much as Mary loves God and to include her in our prayers of intercession. I came across this phrase while reading “Mary at the Crossroads of History” by Father Francis “Rocky” Hoffman. This literary gem pinpoints moments in history where Mary appeared to individuals around the world.
One chapter of the book focuses on the spirituality of Totus Tuus, a motto that St. John Paul II chose as the theme of his papacy. Like Louis de Montfort, St. John Paul II believed that a close relationship with Mary brings a person closer to Jesus. I too, embrace this motto and devotion. I came to accept this way of thinking during my struggles of identity and self-worth because Mary has offered her aid to me when I have faced the pivotal moments of my life.
One such pivotal moment is the origin of my adoption in South Korea. Up until this year, I had not had much luck, nor time, to learn the history of my adoption. However, when the pandemic first struck, I found myself at home much longer than any other time before. Mary or God (or both) sparked the idea of reaching out to my adoption agency once again. Within a month, the agency sent my adoption documents to me, and the things I learned helped bring closure to all my doubts and questions.
I discovered that my adoption was due to social reasons. The situation I was born into was not ideal, nor was it looked upon highly because of cultural beliefs and societal norms. Society would have discriminated against me, automatically restricting my choices for jobs and schools if I remained in South Korea. For these reasons, I believe that Mary desired my adoption by my loving family in the United States. Here, I would be free to make a life of my choosing and to carry out Mary’s desire of evangelization for the Americas.
Mary was my greatest spiritual ally in overcoming the difficulties that accompanied my adoption. It is my hope, and I believe hers, too, to share my story with others, to give witness that Mary is here for all of us, patiently waiting to bring us “totally” and completely to her Son, Jesus.
(Jourdan Reynolds is director of Religious Education for Immaculate Conception Parish in Colfax.)