Through it all, I never thought of the Pietà. I was thinking of Our Lady of La Salette. I was thinking how appropriate this liturgy was for this intention at the time. It was also the time just after the Boston bombing when the little boy, Martin Richard, 8 years old, died in the blast of the bomb. It was so normal for me to have the Weeping Mother of La Salette on my mind and in my heart.
Two weeks ago we began to prepare for the Ministry Fair at out parish. This is a time when all the leaders and the helpers of the parish get together outside the church, set up booths with table and meet the parishioners who come out of the church and offer them the opportrunity to join in the ministries that are required to make the spiritual life of the church impact the world. The Lay LaSalette booth harbored the table provided for the New Ministry of care for the Families who have lost a dear one at the hands of another human being. What picture were we going to use? Isabel and I thought about it and after a while we decided that the picture of the Pietà that shares a space in our house with the Weeping Mother of La Salette would be a good inspiration for the visitors to the booth and for the new ministers who are preparing to make this ministry theirs.
Sunday morning came. Pentecost Sunday it was. It was a full church for every Mass except for the
6:30 AM, of course. After one of the Masses, I came out of the church after having offered a few minutes to God between conversations with propspective members of the Lay La Salette community. It struck me! There, right in front of my eyes was the Mother of God holding her dead child. Massive, impressive, calm, strong, gentle and, not a single tear in her eye, nor on her cheek. Now that was a tongue of fire lighting me up. I started looking through Google for representations of the Mother of God in tears. Oh, futility! I did find one, one! It was not a common one. It was on a blog that is written by a Hawaiian woman. She was writing about Our Lady of the Seven Dolors. It's not a bad picture, but it also does not come from the manifestatioin that comes from La Salette. It also does not respond to what my tongue of fire brought me.
Mary is not known for crying for herself. Mary Cries for Him, for her Son. Mary cries out of frustration that we don't care for her Son as we should. Michelangelo shows her as the strength of the world carrying its Savior on her lap. Not a tear to be seen. At La Salette, she loses it and weeps for the abuse that we give to her Son on a constant basis. She weeps out of frustration for constant pleading that she is driven to do for us and to so little avail. She weeps for the real flagellation that her Son gets from our constant sinning. This is what hurts her. It took her all those centuries before she could show herself to her children in such a torn condition.
On this one day, in the hot sunshine of Southern California, in the patio of a parish in the care of her special missionaries, Mary was strong and and dry-eyed on one side and strong and assertive through her tears on the other. This parish has the spiritual support that it needs tobring this new form of ministry to great fruition for the comfort of the victies and the greater glory of God.