Since the publication of the Vigano Testament, demands for resignations have been an almost daily occurrence. More recently, their rapidity has increased; as has their target. Calls for papal resignation are no longer a novelty. It is not surprising that amidst these personalised demands, there is not only emotional anxiety but spiritual confusion. No matter what the vantage point of particular members of the faithful, or their subjective experience, the common denominator appears to be the perception of betrayal. As one might expect, the natural human response is to look for consolation. This can itself lead to a very real dilemma: to whom can we go? Who will understand our anxiety, pain, and grief? As the Venerable Fulton J Sheen observed:
"Truth is not just something to be believed in, but to be acted out."
In the novus ordo, today marks the feast of the Birthday of Our Blessed Mother. She who personifies 'woe to the serpent' and rescue to man. How different the Church would be if we could re-awaken devotion to her and the mystery of the unity of her own heart with that of her Son.
We all know of her as the first tabernacle. In many (if not most) Catholic Churches one will find Our Blessed Mother's depiction in the pieta. Whether sculpture or simple relief, the image and its symbolism is undeniable: Mary the Mother of God, presenting and offering the broken body of her Son to the whole world. In terms of emotion, the scene is some distance away from the celebrations of the wedding of Cana where we are told she counselled the servants to follow her Son's instruction. To the untrained eye, and perhaps in human terms, the joy, hope and expectation of the wedding celebration have evaporated. In its place, the human eye detects pain, suffering and death. Yet, the counsel which Our Blessed Mother urges upon us is the same. In the wedding at Cana, Our Blessed Mother instructs the servants (Jn 2:5) to heed Jesus' words. In the pieta, she presents the Word incarnate to us. In both, she not only recognises the needs of God's children she acts on our behalf. She listens, consoles, guides and protects us. She is our advocate and mediatrix. She who was conceived without sin. Yet, as St Louis de Montfort observed: her's was a life 'fraught with sorrow and uncertainty'.
It is not for nothing that the Church's Liturgy concludes each day with a Marian anthem. In her compassion she tends to us, provides us with shelter, and maternal love. Who better to give us counsel now? Who better to remind us of what is true? Perhaps we might join in the words of St Louis de Montfort (The Secret of the Rosary):
"Pray for us now
Now- because we can be sure of nothing except the present moment."
In these difficult and uncertain times, we turn to Our Blessed Mother in heaven who bore Truth to the World. Truth which is Divine. In marking her birthday, we celebrate the birth of not one person, but the miracle of life which was to be given through her. In the words of the collect from the old rite:
"O Lord, we beseech thee, bestow on thy servants the gift of heavenly grace: that as our redemption began to dawn in the child-bearing of the Blessed Virgin Mary; so this festival of her Nativity may yield us an increase of peace."
She is the cause of all joy.
Our Lady, comforter of the afflicted- pray for us.