Two weeks away from graduation, I felt everything slipping from my control, into a place where every question was open ended. And there seemed no answers. Would I get a job? Would I be a failure? That’s when I met the Virgin Mary.
By Johnnie Eagan
20 April 2019
The first time I went directly to Mary for help was my senior year in college. I had always brought every thought, prayer, frustration and fear to Jesus because it felt like a more direct route, and after all, what did Mary, the Mother of God, have in common with me? Nothing. There was nothing relatable in her perfection, I didn’t see an ounce of my human brokenness in her sinless, pore-less, saintly face!
But senior year, two weeks away from graduation, I felt everything slipping from my control, into a place where every question was open ended. Would I find a job? Where would I move? Would I make enough money? Would I be a failure?
I hadn’t received any of the answers I needed yet—aside from a few polite rejections in response to my resume. It all combined into a knot, wound tight in my chest, and I couldn’t stop crying. No one understood the weight of the “not knowing,” no one knew how difficult it was to trust God fully in spite of so many variables. He wasn’t revealing his plan yet, and I have always found the waiting so painful.
So through force of habit, I found myself in the chapel. The room was empty and I could have any seat I wanted, and proceed to cry my eyes out in peace.
I found myself drawn to a statue of Mary in the left hand corner beside the wall, and I sat beneath her. As tears of frustration and fear fell my hand instinctively moved to her feet. Suddenly, for once, she didn’t feel far from me at all. I was beneath her physically in that chapel, and I was beneath her in my sinfulness, but she wasn’t unreachable. I looked into her face, and appreciated the sculptor’s work—her curved lips, her large eyes, her inviting face.
It struck me that she too had been in my position before, in even more extreme circumstances. God had laid a plan before her even more obscure and mysterious than my own. One of his angel’s had announced that her womb would bear a child, though she had never been with a man. She must have been petrified. I can only imagine the questions she must’ve had, swelling within her, desperate for answers that were not yet hers to hold.
God guided her down a path to greatness, power, joy, love, resurrection. She did not know what steps to take, or what would be asked of her tomorrow or in the days to come—but she held fast to him. Her faith and trust must’ve been so astounding, it’s no wonder that her “yes”—initially, then again and again—led to the salvation of the world.
Mary was scared once. Mary was young once. Mary overcame her fear, and God did not forsake her.
Nor would he forsake me.
I let my hand slip, and was grateful for the chance to finally see myself in her—even if fear was the connection which sparked our relationship. This was a chance to emulate her and grow in trust of the Lord as she did.
A beautiful challenge indeed.
Hello, my name is Johnnie Eagan. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, a predominately superficial, secular culture. Thankfully God led me to a Catholic University in Florida, which has helped reinforce my faith, and equip me with the tools I’ll need to move back to CA, ready to enact positive change! I truly believe beauty- through art and the written word are the most powerful tools when aiming to lead people to Christ and his truth. My passions just so happen to be art (illustrations, drawings and paintings) and creative writing, and I hope to use both to bring people to the faith I hold so dear to my heart. I am a proud Catholic, a published writer and illustrator, and could not be more grateful to contribute to Joy In Truth!