Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Blessed Virgin

I know why she weeps.
When I was very little, I remember being dazzled by the Blessed Virgin, oohing and awing at her altar in every Catholic church I entered.  Almost running to kneel at the communion rail to pray.  I always visited Our Lady's altars in every church, even to this day I am moved to pray at her feet.
Last night I recalled my habit of kneeling at her altar every day after school upon my visit to the Blessed Sacrament; when I was in first grade, second grade - on through grade school.  Once, in 7th grade, while praying at Our Lady's altar for my mom and dad - some kids yelled into the church, "Your father's a jailbird."  One of the nuns heard them and shooed them away.  Sr. Vivian didn't like me or my family, and never acknowledged me or the incident.  Not long after, my mother was informed I wouldn't be eligible for admission to the 8th grade in that school, charitable scholarships weren't available, hence I had to enroll in public school. 
Daily Mass and my visits to Our Lady's altar never ceased during 8th grade...  But shortly after I began public high school, I stopped praying.
I reminded Our Lady of that last night as I sat in her chapel at ,my parish.  I prayed for all the kids who are kept from her on account of the sins of their parents.
Oh how the thoughts of many hearts are laid bare before her... and that is why Our Lady weeps.


  1. +JMJ+

    Terry, sometimes you break my heart.

  2. I'm thinking of the Memorare; "...never was it known...that anyone who fled to thy protection...was left unaided.."
    For sure, Mary never turned anyone away.

  3. Oh Terry....I am so sorry you had to endure what you did, yet I marvel that in spite of the faults and failures of the adults around you, you still found your way. Our Lady saw to that. But how pitiful that even in church, kids couldn't put their cruelty aside.

    One of the things that pained me most in Catholic school was that the parish printed a report on how much money each family donated each year. There were a few kids in my class that were hanging on by a thread, through no fault of their own, and I felt their humiliation every year when that report came out and there were zeros next to their family names. I wanted to ask the principal why that had to be distributed in school, for all to see, but I kept my mouth shut. I think this is one of the reasons why Matthew Chapter 6 is my favorite Gospel. yes, it was a good thing that the school didn't kick those kids out, but of what spiritual profit is it to give someone your coat and then constantly remind everyone that it belongs to you?

    Have a beautiful Sunday.

  4. Terry, I once shared that this Sassoferrato image of the Madonna is one of my favorite depictions of the Sorrowful Mother. I told the her title here is, "La Vergine Addolorata" (The Grieved Virgin).

    I have a miniature painting of it on vellum that was painted in Italy. I found it in a shoe box of junk at a road-side antique shop and bought it for $5.00 on a return across states trip home from attending my sisters funeral. My sister's name was Mary. It brought great comfort and still does.

    ... from a 2008 article on a study of pain reduction:

    " ... STILL on a spiritual theme, a study in Oxford University has cast new light on a famous claim by Karl Marx: suggesting that, whether religion is the opium of the masses or not, it may have an important role to play in pain relief.

    In a fascinating experiment, a group of practising Catholics and a group of non-believers (including agnostics) were subjected to a series of small shocks, calculated to induce "moderate pain", on their left hands. This happened while they alternately viewed two paintings: a Virgin and Child by the 17th-century Italian painter Sassoferrato; and the similar-looking - but clearly secular - Lady with an Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci.

    Asked to rank their pain on a scale of zero to 100, the groups returned similar figures while studying the Leonardo painting. Among the Catholics, however, the Sassoferrato image was found to reduce pain scores by 12 per cent relative to the non-believers..."

  5. As a small child the Blessed Mother and Padre Pio took care of me with their intercessions, which I desperately needed. Don't think for one minute that the lack of catechises nor official "Catholic" papers stops our mother - She was praying for me all along.

    You and I have very similar experiences only I processed the experiences differently and come to different conclusions however I end up at the very same spot where your conclusions have brought you .. at the foot of the altar.

    My mother claimed in private that she even saw an image of Mary at our front door. I know why she was there and to say that Mary's a superb mother is an understatement.

    You can't keep the Holy Spirit or our Saints from people by keeping them out of church... God comes anyway.

  6. Thank goodness our salvation does not depend upon the behavior of religious and nuns or we would all be in mighty big trouble, wouldn't we? So sorry, Terry. Sometimes I think it is because of my hurts that I love Our Lady the way I do...

  7. Terry,

    This experience must have hurt very deeply. I'm sorry.

    This is an entirely different situation. The Church and the secular culture are in agreement about alcoholism and committing crimes.

    With homosexuality, the teachings of the Church and the secular culture are completely at odds. The secular culture sees Church teaching as bigoted and discrimination and we are in fact, at risk of violating law if a family chooses to make an issue out of having their child told what the Catholic Church teaches that what they are doing at home is objectively disordered, morally evil insidious and dangerous.

    Catholic environment will continue to reject that homosexuality and heterosexuality are 'equal' for as long as these teachings are essential for our salvation. Catholic parents are going to continue to insist it be taught to their children. The homosexual parents are going to receive the rejection that comes along with forcing themselves into a culture that rejects their lifestyle. The child is going to learn that rejection.

    The hope here is that by their presence in Catholic schools the filial love we have will trump our willingness to teach in front of the child because we know it will do violence to him or her and his family. But Catholics can't and won't let this happen.


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