Perhaps it was just my imagination. If it was, then telling you this story risks your opinion of me, for perhaps you will think I'm overly eager and too imaginative.
And perhaps I am. Maybe I do not guard my imagination enough.
But, on the off-chance that it wasn't my imagination, it is worth retelling because it gives glory to God and His Mother. Your opinion of me is worth that risk, I think.
So, I was sitting in the little chapel of St. Joseph, and--during a lull in the mass, at a time of transition--I felt Our Lady's presence, just off to my right.
She was dressed in the most regal attire, adorned with a veil of navy blue and a dress of a deep red color. Gold tassels and accents adorned her.
I have searched the Internet, and this photo is the closest I could get to what I saw with the eyes of my heart. The only difference is that the colors of her clothes were much more vibrant, she was much more beautiful, and she was sitting, not standing.
She was exceedingly joyful, and she smiled. And, with very few words, she told me something private, which I shall summarize for you with more veiled language.
She said that my greatest burden would be lifted, just before one of my greatest joys would be experienced. And while I may not receive visible poof of the burden being lifted, the presence of the joy afterward would be indicative that it was. And she couldn't stop smiling!
Because of my weakness, I doubted her immediately. I even questioned her very regal attire. Why was she so dressed up? Why should I believe that this was her?
She told me that she was dressed up and joyful because it was her feast day. But even this I doubted because the priest had mentioned nothing about this day being a Marian feast day, and surely he would have announced this at the start of mass, if it was.
Or, even if I had missed the announcement, some of the prayers of the Mass would have been slightly different, as they are on Marian feast days, and I would have noticed, given that I was following along in my Sunday missal.
Or it would have been printed in the bulletin. And it wasn't.
She smiled again and told me, "You will know it's my feast day when you check the Internet tonight." To hear the Mother of God refer to the Internet was surprising, but this was true: if I checked the Saints.SQPN.com website that I refer to often, then I would know if it was a Marian feast day or not. Challenge accepted, Our Lady!
As the order of mass resumed, I forgot about this little feeling in my heart. In fact, I forgot about it for the rest of the day. But that night, just before bed, something reminded me to check the Internet. I had almost forgotten! And so I went to the computer.
Incredibly, August 22nd is indeed a Marian Feast Day! In fact, on this day we celebrate TWO Marian feasts! It is the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as the feast day of her Immaculate Heart. And what could be more regal of a celebration than honoring a queen? Thus, her attire totally DID make sense!
After doing a little research, I learned that Pope Pius XII, in his encyclical letter called Ad Caeli Reginam, degreed that on this feast "there be renewed a consecration of the human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary." I also learned that this feast day used to be on my birthday (May 31st) but was later moved to August 22nd.
Perhaps that is because my birthday is already a Marian feast day, where we honor her under 3 titles:
- The Mediatrix of All Graces
- Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
- The Visitation to St. Elizabeth