My patronal feast, Our Lady of Loreto on December 10, was elevated on liturgical calendars in 2019. I love this title for Mary, even though it’s possible that my dad’s admiration for Catholic actress Loretta Young influenced my naming. Our Lady could have been a cover story.
Not everyone knows the legend about angels supernaturally carrying Mary’s house from Nazareth to a hilltop in Loreto, Italy. Others say it was the Angeli family who disassembled the house and took it by boat to its new home. Did they sneak it out? Who knows the real story? The point is that Mary’s house is a part of my story and my spirituality. Sometimes I imagine I’m visiting her home, and we’re sitting near her fire together, sipping some hot drink and discussing our children. In this imaginative scenario, Jesus often enters the room and sits with us.
Now that I’m house-hunting in Seattle, what better intercessor than Mary, Mother of a flying house? Our house did fly off the market within days.
I needed Mary while purging prior to the sale, and I prayed fervently as my very human tendency to worry surfaced. What if no one wanted our house? Ha!
Soon I will fly to a rainy city, very different from California with its droughts. I’ll experience different history, geography, and culture. When I fret, I find consolation in remembering that Mary walked or rode more than a week to Bethlehem. I have it easy.
Perhaps I will find a Loreto hilltop in my new state, a place where angels arrive with tangible blessings that lift my mind and heart to Christ in new ways. And I pray, not for the house of our dreams, but for the environment that will become home, the people we will meet, and a parish where we will put down roots.
I don’t know how God will use my husband’s new job and our desire to simplify. My writing and spiritual direction ministry can take place anywhere. I believe this transition will draw us closer to Christ; we will find a welcome wherever we live.
When it becomes my plan, the sheer joy I feel about moving fades; worries creep in. Our Lady of Loreto, invite me to sit in quiet once again with you. Tell me about your journeys to Egypt and back. I bet you never saw that coming.
Downsizing is an invitation to follow Jesus a little bit better. When tempted to complain about letting go of stuff, I remember the pregnant woman who likely trudged with only a knapsack, had no roof to sleep under at night, enjoyed no access to convenience foods or restaurants, and ended up homeless in Bethlehem.
I am privileged and traveling in a liminal space between one destination and the next. It’s a freeing place to be, full of excitement and anticipation.
Mary, were you excited about holding the Messiah in your arms? Even in the difficulties, I believe you smiled a Mona Lisa smile as your soul magnified God with every step.
Mary, please fly with me to my new home. Give me support as I remember your courage.
I pray a favorite prayer I learned in first grade, the Memorare. I fly unto thee, my Mother.