Hail Mary -
I never really had a close relationship with the Blessed Mother growing up. ---She's perfectly perfect.
---She has always found it easy to pray for hours.
---And hours and hours and hours-
(she prays without ceasing really)
---She's meek and mild.
---She's unassuming but confident in God's graces and love.
I cannot relate to those things. But, despite all of the many ways I differ with the blessed mother, as I grew, I prayed that a relationship might develop.
Being a mother brought me a little closer to her. I often ask myself "what would Mary do?"
But The true deepening of my relationship with The mother of God came after losing my son Jedidiah when he was 13 days old-
I could finally relate with her.
The surprising realization that a relationship had grown came when I was walking out of my bedroom one morning. I glanced down onto a dresser set there by the door-
on it stood a few statues- some flowers- some cards.
A plaque I think someone in my homeschool group gifted laid there-
The plaque had a cross on it and under the cross John 3:16 was written.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
And it hit me then and there.
It wasn't just God who watched Jesus die for us.
Mary watched him die too.
And losing a child is the tie that bound me to her.
To my sister Regina and Christina and my brothers-in-law Jose and Mike-this lent is going to be a lent you will never forget. You have given up more than anyone.
I pray that it brings you closer to God through Mary- because -how could it not?
And in the coming weeks life will carry on. Life will require us to keep on truckin'. But in dark moments of sadness- when you feel your pain is solitary and able to blot out the sun, find a crucifix- and Remember our Blessed Mother's pain. And remember she is there.
And I want you to look around you now. Look at all the many people who come to show that they care.
And all the many cards, emails, and texts that people have sent and will send.
So many people are caring for you and praying for you. Hold that close to you in those tough moments. Feel the body of Christ strengthen and flex about you.
There are lyrics from one of my favorite bands- over the rhine - these lyrics I find to be true- "pain is our mother- she helps us recognize one another". We can relate to each other through our pain because we have - **all of us**- lost something. Jesus was in pain on the cross when he made John recognize Mary as his mother and our mother too. The Body of Christ- here and now in this church - is feeling the pain of loss- and we are unified more than ever because of it.
Anytime I think of the Body of Christ I am reminded of the time when Father Kevin- then just plain old Kevin -
told us we merely had to hike 15 miles (more like 20)through Denver suburbs in our unshowered filth while carrying a sleeping bag and a can of chef boyardee. At the end of our hike we would set up camp and see Pope John Paul the second - and also find out that we didn't bring a can opener- or spoons and (someone may have stolen my sleeping bag)
We sang "we are one body" over and over again on hike- the song was sung somewhat deliriously over the last few miles but the mental capacities of the people singing it made it no less true. we are-
we are one body-
one body in Christ.
And we do not stand alone.
You are not alone in your grief.
The Blessed Mother is there.
And so are we.