For all my newfound piety, I was still 15.

Months before, I’d left juvenile delinquency behind and accepted Jesus. My parents noticed the change.

Zeal for my evangelical faith consumed me. But, one spring day, I was aware of something else consuming me. I had a stomach bug. The school nurse told me to lie down in her office while she phoned my mother. Instantly I dozed off.

I awoke to my mother’s voice. She was there with me, and she was filled with pity. In her eyes I was her helpless baby again.

I was horrified.

Then it dawned on me: What if my friends saw my mom leading me out of school? What if she put her arm around me? I’d be a laughingstock — Mama’s Boy.

“Mom,” I whispered. “Do you suppose you could walk out ahead of me? I don’t want my friends to see you taking me home.”

Mom didn’t say a word. She walked out of the school and to her car. From there, she mothered me home, making sure I went to bed with the usual remedies.

It had been a close call, but I was pretty sure I’d escaped with my cool intact. I drifted off to sleep again in peace.

That evening my father visited my room to see how I was feeling.

I told him I was fine. And then he looked gravely at me. “Scottie,” he said, “your religion doesn’t mean much if it’s all talk.” Then came the clincher: “What you did to your mother today was shameful. Don’t ever be ashamed to be seen with your mother.”

I didn’t need an explanation. I was ashamed of myself for being ashamed of my mother.

Yet isn’t that the way it is with many Christians? As Jesus hung dying on the cross, he left us a mother (John 19:26-27). He told his Beloved Disciple to take Mary home. And now we are Jesus’ beloved disciples! Yet how many are taking her to their homes?

And how many Christian churches are fulfilling the New Testament prophesy that “all generations” will call Mary “blessed” (Luke 1:48)? Most Protestant ministers — and here I speak from my own experience — avoid even mentioning the mother of Jesus. To them, Marian devotion “exalts Mary at Jesus’ expense.” So you’ll sometimes find Protestant churches named after St. Paul or St. John — but almost never St. Mary. You’ll find pastors preaching on Abraham or David, Jesus’ distant ancestors, but almost never hear a sermon on his mother.

This is not just a “Protestant problem.” Too many Catholics have abandoned their heritage of Marian devotions.

The proof of Mary’s maternity came, for me, when I took up the rosary one day and began to pray. I prayed for a seemingly impossible intention. On the next day, I took up the beads again, and the next day, and the next. Months passed before I realized that my petition had been granted.

Sept. 8 is when the Church celebrates Mary’s birthday. If you’ve been away from the beads, please think about taking them up again.