Know Your Mother
I find it easier to understand God's surpassing mercy now that I am a parent. The love that I feel for Benedict, and my deep seated desire to do all that I can to make him comfortable, causes me to do things that are borderline irrational. Although he's not at an age where he appreciates treats, when he's sick I want to go to the store and buy things to bring him comfort. When I get frustrated with his occasional bad behavior, I get over it pretty quickly. All things in my mind are directed toward his care and well-being. This irrational parental love is something that God has for us. Understanding how I can overlook any of Benedict's flaws gives me a small insight into God's ability to forgive our transgressions. He simply has a parent's love.
Moving deeper into that thought, I'm reminded of the maternal compassion that Mary has for us. Though I'm not a mother and will never fully comprehend the deep connection that a mother shares with her child, I do at least understand that it's far stronger than the connection that I feel with Benedict. A mother grows and nurtures new life within her during pregnancy and then sustains that life for the first several months after birth. I think many would agree that a mother yearns with her whole being for the welfare of her children. Just as your mother yearns for your wellbeing, and your wife yearns for your children's wellbeing, so too does Mary yearn for us to be in Heaven with her Son.
Understanding who Mary is as our mother and how she so deeply wishes to be in our lives can lead us to a stronger spiritual life. Consider the events surrounding the numerous verified Marian apparitions throughout the World. Mary appears to the lowliest of people in our society. The Mother of God, the woman we consider to be Queen of Heaven and Earth appears from time to time to the poorest and those held in the least regard. I think this clearly demonstrates her desire to be connected with us and to help us on what she knows to be a difficult Earthly journey.
Having a relationship with Mary is as easy as picking up a phone, but some structure will be helpful. When you're ready to cultivate a meaningful relationship with her, I'd recommend that you pick up some guides or books that focus on the theology and person of Mary. The Rosary would be the most obvious starting point, but at the same time, not all prayers work for all people. You could take up the practice of praying the Angelus, starting your day with the Memorare, or consider doing the Marian Consecration. The Consecration is a relatively popular devotion put together by St. Louis de Montfort. The Consecration consists of 33 days of advanced prayer and preparation culminating in a pledge of love and fidelity to Mary on a Marian feast day. No matter what structure you put in place, building out this relationship will take time, but it will also bring great rewards. This isn't us forming a utilitarian relationship. This is about us getting to know our Mother, our Mother who loves us and has promised graces and aid to all who ask.
There's no doubt that we have a difficult life here on Earth. Our senses are strong and temptation is everywhere. In this climate, Mary extends her hand to us. Through the process of building a relationship and getting to know Mary better, we can become better Catholics and gain a deeper understanding of the person of Christ.