There was a story recently told of a young woman whose life had gone from bad to worse.  She had experienced emotional problems and all of the things that go along with that. Talking with a counselor, she was trying to figure it out, and her conversations went something like this:  “When I was small, my mother and dad hired a nurse who was with me night and day.  When I got older, they sent me to a boarding school.  When I was old enough to drive, they bought me an expensive sports car.  After high school, they sent me to a very exclusive university in the East.  Every summer, they furnished the money for me to travel in Europe, Asia, wherever there was to go.  I guess I could say they gave me everything except what I needed most.  They never gave me themselves.”

That story is probably a bit more common than any of us would like to admit.  You haven’t got anything that your family needs as badly as they need you.  Try doing something that you may not have done in a long time.  Get with someone you love – your husband or wife, your mother or father, your child or grandchild – and gaze deeply into their eyes.  Pull aside the curtains, if only for a moment, and look straight into one another’s heart.  They need that and so do you. 

This old world is lonely enough, at best.  And it tends to become even lonelier because we seem to work at the job of isolating ourselves from each other.  Why not give the best gift of all – yourself?

We are in the month of May which is devoted to Our Blessed Mother.  Mary did it so graciously, so beautifully, that she made it look easy.  But don’t fool yourself; there was nothing easy about it.  The rearing of a child, even the Christ child, is not a simple undertaking.  And for a young woman to begin her marriage expecting a baby is no small matter.  That means adjusting to two dramatically new experiences at the same time.  Then consider what was waiting for her down the road; I’m sure she did.  The prophetess, Anna, told her that because of the child her heart would be pierced with a sword.  She had to wonder what that meant; and then one day, standing by a cross, she understood. 

Like Mary, we can give ourselves to God and to others.  From that will come the satisfaction of knowing that you have given the best gift of all — yourself.  To know that is worth more than all the prestige and power in the world.

In this month of May, please pray to Mary to help you in this task of giving of yourself in all you do.