"In Blessed Mother's view, all are lovable; all souls are accepted, all carry a sweetness of heart, are beautiful to the eyes; worthy of consciousness, of being inspired, being helped, being comforted and protected — even if other mere humans believe foolishly or blindly to the contrary.

"If, following in the pathways laid down in the stories of the 'old believers,' if after the old God Yahweh Jehovah who seemed to spend inordinate time creating and destroying, thence came to us in huge contrast, the God of Love — then Our Blessed Mother is the ultimate Mother Who Gave Birth to Love.

"She is the Mother who ascended whole, the Mother who has lived through wars, conquests, conscriptions. The Mother who has been outlawed, done outrage to, squelched, carpet bombed, hidden, stabbed, stripped, burnt, plasticized, and dismissed.

"Yet she survived — in us and for us — no matter who raised a hand against her or attempted to undermine her endless reach. She is writ into every sacred book, every document of the mysteries, every parchment that details her as Wind, Fire, Warrior, Heart of Gold, La que sabe, the One Who Knows, and more.

"And most of all, she is writ into our very souls. Our longings for her, our desires to know her, to be changed by her, to follow her ways of acute insight, her sheltering ways, her trust in goodness — these are the evidences that she exists, that she continues to live as a huge, not always invisible but palpably felt, force in our world right now.

"Even when she was una desaparecida, disappeared by thugs and dictators over the many decades of the so-called Cold War, which was really a time of darkness meant to destroy the voice of souls across vast lands, we dreamt of her at night regardless.

"We saw her colors and her flowers, her roses, morning glories, lilies, bluebells, marigolds, and more appear at the side of the darkest roads, despite being told she was gone and never existed to begin with.

"We espied her on the roadway through the trees. Our Lady of the Birch Grove basilicas, Our Lady of the Sycamores, Our Lady of the Shrine of the Pines, Our Lady of the Redwood Cathedrals. She remained with us, even though outlawed for us to even think of her, to even imagine her. She was there nonetheless, for she is the quintessential Mother who does not, will not, leave her children behind.

"Even when her cottages and groves and vias, pilgrimage roads, were erased from maps, or renamed, or plowed under, she appeared to us in our travails and moments of white-heat creating anyway — pulling something stubborn from the ground of us, helping us to let die what must die, helping us to let live what must live.

"She will share her breath with us when we feel we have lost ours. She will warm us when we are too cold, and cool us down when we are too hot — in emotion, in spirit, in mind, in ideation, in desire, in judgment, in the creative life of the soul. She tells us to be gentle, but she will tell us too, 'Be friendly, but never tame.'

"All we have to do is ask and she will be there in ways that we may see/feel immediately. Or, we may have to reach toward her, apprehending her in a new, not at first completely comfortable way.

"St. Francis of Assisi was said to have rushed from cave to cave crying out in lamentation that he had just lost his God and could not find Him any more. But God told Francis He'd been there all along, that Francis had to learn to see God in all His many guises."