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 Unveiling  Mary

 by Sister Patty Fawkner SGS
 
 
an extract from article ‘Unveiling Mary’
 
“Rather than the litanies I recited as a child where I honoured Mary with inscrutable names such as “Tower of ivory”, “Mother inviolate” and “Singular vessel of devotion,” I would like to take the lead from blogger Christine Schenk, who praises Mary as “marginalised woman”, “unwed mother”, “refugee woman with child”, “mother of a political prisoner”, and “seeker of sanctuary”.
 
There will be no luminous statue of Mary on any altar I may create this May. But in my prayer space I have a beautiful image of the Annunciation. This May I pray that Mary, my companion and sister in faith, may continue to help me look with compassion in the direction of her son and all those who suffer with him.”
This article was published in the May 2019 edition of The Good Oil, the e-magazine of the Good Samaritan Sisters.

Christ is Alive!

 

When I was growing up, a trip to the city was a big deal. It involved good clothes, a train journey and a visit to St Francis’ Church to light a candle. As a little person, I was in awe of the candelabra in the side chapel—I remember the feeling of heat generated from the candles that burned so brightly, the sound of coins dropping into the boxes and the sight of people kneeling in quiet prayer. I took the selection of my candles and their placement very seriously—I have always maintained a strict one-candle, one-prayer rule! I continue my candle-lighting practice and have gone on to light candles in churches all over the world. This simple action holds deep meaning for me—the prayer accompanying each steady flame entrusted to the loving care of the Lord.

On Easter night, the paschal candle was processed into the church accompanied by the proclamation of ‘The light of Christ!’ And what a beautiful sight this light offered as it filled the darkened church. Taper to taper, the light was transferred without the flame being diminished, and we moved into the light of new life. Some of us on Easter Sunday morning, though, may have felt as though the paschal flame dimmed a little when we awoke to the news of the bombings in churches in Sri Lanka. Listening to the news that morning, there seemed to be sad story after sad story. It can be a challenge to hold Easter joy in one hand and the suffering of the world in the other. But it was ever thus. As we journey with the readings during this Easter period, we may observe that the resurrection did not bring about a perfect world. A sense of the harshness of the Mediterranean world permeates the Acts of the Apostles. The Good News was not always received with open hearts—we may recall that during his earthly life, Paul was stoned, imprisoned, ship-wrecked and eventually beheaded! Immediately after Easter Sunday, we listen to a story in which the disciples are gathered in fear (John 20:19–31). The third Sunday of Easter presents the story in which the disciples do not immediately recognise Jesus (John 21:1–19), and now we enter into a series of gospels from John that encourage us to hear and respond to Jesus. The work of encountering Jesus and witnessing to the resurrection has begun anew for us. One of the magnificent tapestries in the Gallery of Tapestries at the Vatican Museum is ‘The Resurrection of Christ’. It is large, and the most extraordinary aspect of this Renaissance piece is the optical illusion woven into it. In this tapestry—the product of Flemish artisans—the eyes of Christ seem to move; as you move and view the tapestry, the eyes follow. The viewer may even notice that the left knee and the stone upon which Jesus’ foot rests also seems to shift perspective as you move. A little reminder to us, perhaps, that just as we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord, the Lord’s eyes are also fixed upon us. In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis observes: ‘Christ’s resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world. Where all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force’ (§276). And perhaps this is our Easter challenge: to open our eyes to the signs of the resurrection. To help to roll the stones of life away. To be light for others. So may our hearts truly become Easter hearts—awake to the presence of the resurrected Jesus, who continues to breathe life and bring peace into this world of ours. In this month of May, let us join with Mary and offer our prayer to God –

Alleluia! Regina Caeli Regína caeli, laetáre, allelúia:

qui-a quem me-ru-í-sti portáre, allelúia,

Resurréxit, sicut dixit, allelúia.

Ora pro nobis Deum, allelúia.
 

O Queen of heaven, be joyful, alleluia:

For he whom you have humbly borne for us, alleluia, 

Has arisen, as he promised, alleluia, 

Offer now our prayer to God, alleluia. 

 
—Cathy Jenkins, Director
Catholic Archdiocese Office of Evangelisation