Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiæ,
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevæ,
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
Our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry,
Poor banished children of Eve;
To thee do we send up our sighs,
Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
The greatness of the Catholic Tradition is clear from its capacity to embrace—and attend to—the breadth and depth of the human experience, from glorious victory to tragic suffering. Not surprisingly, the powerful beauty of our faith is reflected in the image of Our Lady. Today, September 15, is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Since the Middle Ages, Catholics have reflected on the seven “dolors” she suffered—the prophecy of Simeon in the temple, the Flight into Egypt, the loss of the child Jesus in the Temple, meeting her Son on the Way of the Cross, the Crucifixion of Jesus, the Deposition of His Body, and His Burial. Meditating on her suffering, we are stirred to compassion for our neighbor in need, Christian and non-Christian alike: especially when disaster strikes.
Of course, the Church is not the only family that has endured great sorrow. Our national family has known its share of unspeakable tragedy. America remembers the events of 9/11, when thousands of lives, from every race, ethnicity, and religious background, were senselessly taken.
It seems that Catholics are constantly bombarded with requests for donations to various causes: all praiseworthy, no doubt, but still…many. Yet I think you would agree that it is impossible to see the wake of disaster Hurricane Dorian left across the Bahamas and North Carolina, and not be moved.
One of the great joys of serving as your pastor is that I have never been put in the position of having to “beg” from our parishioners: not that I would be ashamed to. I am among family here. Still, my message this week is straightforward and simple. Our brothers and sisters are in desperate need of assistance.
This week’s bulletin gives details concerning donations for relief of the hurricane victims, and we will have a special collection at all Masses on the weekend of Sunday, September 29. We thank you in advance for being as generous as your means will allow.
I end with the words of St. John Chrysostom (349-407 A.D.), the great Archbishop of Constantinople, whose moral challenge is matched only by the beauty of his words: “As you take care towards your bodily needs, take care of those of your soul. For nothing else is needed by the soul, other than to cover the widow and orphan and poor man. Do not leave your soul to be seen naked by God on that fearsome and terrible day, but become arrayed in light through almsgiving, and appear with all glory before God.”