I have written extensively on many subjects, and not just law. Much of what I have published is available in these [Mondaq] pages. I am often told I have had a successful career, but I am not fit to judge whether that is true or not. Nor do I measure success by the size of one's material wealth as I honestly do not consider that important. But whatever the level of achievement I may have attained (make no mistake, there was also considerable hardship along the way) I put it down to one very simple fact which I would like to share with my readers - I have always grasped things with both hands and have had an unflinching faith in the Blessed Virgin Mary's guiding hand. For the first you have to trust your instinct, if you don't the moment will come and go. The second is an act of faith. Instinct and faith are very different. Faith gives you the moral compass that instinct alone never can.
Since I was 15 I have silently felt a sense of overwhelming and private devotion to Mary, Mother of Jesus – also known, in Spanish, as "Our Lady of El Rocio". I have always worn a small medallion in veneration to her. I now carry it in a chain around my neck, the only piece of jewelry I ever wear. Niccolò Machiavelli famously observed in his dedication of his book 'The Prince' that the study contained in it was his most prized possession. My medallion and faith in it is mine. I would gladly give up any other worldly possession but not that. Here is why.
On many occasions throughout my life my greatest comfort was being held tightly in her spiritual arms, like any mother holds a helpless son. A mother loves her children unconditionally - she sees the faults in each but does not judge. She tries to protect them and gently soothe the pain. Whilst a mother cries with joy when she gives her baby the gift of life, she will also suffer knowing all too well the trials and tribulations that life is certain to bring, in sure knowledge that, like Mary, she will not always be there to pick up her children when they fall. Mothers have that warmth of character that all women have, and a smile that fills our hearts with joy, even in times of distress. A mother has that tender touch when she caresses her son's face or holds his hand (no matter how old). Mothers will always be there, even if unseen, willing to suffer in silence. They give much more than they will ever expect to receive in return. Her devotion, commitment and loyalty have no equal. A mother is also a wife, a partner, a friend, a grandmother, a sister. She was born to love those around her - by her touch, embrace, gentleness, kiss.
No wonder that the image of Madonna and Christ Child were at the center of the revival of Western art and how beautifully they were depicted by the Great Masters of the Italian Renaissance - as a real mother and child. Of all early Renaissance paintings Filippo Lippi's 'Madonna with Child' (hanging at the magnificent Uffizi gallery in Florence) is my favorite - it could be any mother.
When I published my first book (on PCCs) my co-author and I dedicated it to our mothers thus:
"To our Mothers, without whom
nothing ever was possible"
Nothing more needed to be said.
I do not believe there are any coincidences in life. What I am also therefore saying is never underestimate how matters of faith (and not just instinct) can positively influence career choices and personal decisions in life.
Nothing more now needs to be said either, except follow your instinct and faith, whatever faith that may be.
This is my testimonial. It is dedicated, with all its imperfections, to all mothers and grandmothers, but especially my own mother and to our Lady of El Rocio, – again, without whom nothing ever was possible.
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