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She is never tired of loving us

We have often heard that Don Bosco used to repeat to his young people: “Trust in Mary Help of Christians and you will see what miracles are”. It may be that this phrase is a bit worn out and has lost its original force. Perhaps this was happening to me. But she herself reminded me how close she is to me.

Love for Mary translates immediately into a full love for Jesus. The authentic Christian is Marian and vice versa. The goal is not her but is Christ, her son. What humility! Nevertheless, she still shows us today, as she showed Don Bosco and so many others, that her love for Jesus translates into love for us. She continually intercedes for her children, sees them with love, listens to them with patience and helps them in times of danger. It is not for nothing that Don Bosco emphasised the invocation of the ‘Help of Christians’ with his boys. In a prayer, it is said with confidence that she is 'as terrible as an army lined up in battle'. How much love is translated into strength and protection!

Unfortunately, it can often remain a superficial love in us. But despite this, she loves us fully because she loves Jesus. Jesus loves her fully because He loves us. Some might think that loving Mary too much is to the detriment to our love for Jesus but the opposite is true! We love her because Jesus loves her and who can love more than Jesus?

Over the past few days, I have experienced this great love that Mary has for her children. At CEDES Don Bosco, in Costa Rica, it is customary to take young people on an annual retreat outside the institute, as is the case in most of our houses. Last Friday, 12th May, we were travelling with a group of young people from the school and unfortunately we met with an accident: the bus failed to stop on a downhill slope and to avoid further damage, the driver decided to turn onto the side of the road, causing the bus to overturn. When we realised that the driver could not stop, only one thing came to my mind: ‘María Auxiliadora!’ and I thought of each of the children in the back.

As best as I could, I grabbed onto a tube in front of the seat and the rest happened in seconds. I was hanging from a seat, with a tube over my head, my thumb upside down and a slight cut on my arm. I thought about the boys. I quickly settled down and made sure the teachers next to my seat were safe. They got up and together we started asking if everyone was all right. And they were. All the students started getting up, helping each other, removing the pieces of glass. Immediately, some bricklayers who were nearby came to help us and we started to get out through the roof of the bus. Then, the whole flow of ambulances, police and interviews began. No hard knocks, no fractures, everyone was fine - with minor bumps and tears, but fine.

In the middle of the rush to assist those most affected, I saw the bus again: it was upside down there. How come it had tipped over like that? And then I saw the children: almost forty, with nothing serious to worry about. How did we get out of there alive? I could only hold back the tears and say in my heart: “Thank you Maria! You took care of us.” We took care of what was necessary, went to the hospital and waited for all the students to go home. The other children, accompanied by other teachers, went to the institute and were well looked after and gradually started to go home. It was a heavy and upsetting day.

At home, with some bandages and medicine, I went to the chapel and began to cry. I thought about all the things that could have happened and how that journey could have turned into a great tragedy. The conclusion I always came to after each thought was: a miracle! We are all well! It was a miracle from Our Lady! I looked at my wounds and saw the signs of God’s love, of Mary’s love. Every scar from now on will remind me of that beautiful day when our Heavenly Mother protected us and prayed to God to give us another chance. The question and the challenge now is: why did she give us another chance? The answer is up to each one of us on that journey.

Looking at the context of this incident, there is no doubt that everything took place in a purely Marian atmosphere: in the month of May, on the eve of the celebration of the centenary of Our Lady’s apparitions in Fatima, almost at the beginning of the novena to Mary Help of Christians. Everything pointed to this: Mary is our help! So, the following Monday, with all the students, I prayed the Hail Mary with a devotion I had rarely done before. I saw the faces of those on that bus and asked Mary to continue to guide them in their lives, to help them understand that Jesus loves them infinitely.

Brandon Figueroa, sdb


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