Our Lady of Sorrows

This is a day of solemn remembrance: Mary watched her Son die on the cross.

I confess that I haven’t had to witness death in person; I’ve led a sheltered life. I can’t imagine what it’s like to see your child’s death, someone you’ve dedicated your entire life to.

The image above is Pietà, sculpted by Michelangelo and housed at St Peter’s in the Vatican. I saw it in person about 47 years ago, and it still strikes me to my core today.

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The Birth of Mary

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Today we celebrate Mary’s birth, a crucial step in our salvation story. In the Catholic tradition, Mary is honored as the sinless tabernacle for our Lord.

This purity was reinforced for us when our Lady identified herself in Lourdes saying “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

If that’s true, then her parents Anne and Joachim played a crucial role in her upbringing.

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Forgive us our sins

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Ever notice how many of the Rosary prayers are plural, rather than singular?

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name….

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

I have to confess that I’ve always thought of this as me talking about myself, along with others who are also talking about themselves. But there may be a different way.

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Come, Holy Spirit!

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Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

John 20:21-23

Today we celebrate Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. He said He would send His Spirit, and indeed he did. The promise was fulfilled!

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Mary visited Elizabeth

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This feast of the Visitation always makes powerful connections for me.

It’s one thing for God to ask Mary to be the mother of our Lord. That’s miraculous, of course, but we’ve heard the story so many times that we become a bit immune to the wonder of it.

But here we have Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, recognizing this wonder in a very real sense.

In a loud voice [Elizabeth] exclaimed, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”

Luke 1:42
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He ascended into heaven

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I have this amazing image in my mind about what it must have been like to witness Jesus’ ascension first hand. But it’s probably more influenced by movies I’ve seen than anything else.

He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

Acts 1:9-11 NASB

We know it was up. We know there were clouds. We know He rose into the sky, or heaven, depending on the translation.

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