I have a hazy school memory from sixty years ago. The teacher used a strategy that involved students standing around the room shoulder to shoulder. The teacher posed a question to each student, in turn, about something we had studied. If they answered correctly, they stayed in their place. An incorrect answer resulted in a trek to the end of the line to wait for another turn.
During Lent, Catholics all over the world come together to pray the Stations of the Cross, and usually we sing a hymn called the Stabat Mater. It’s really a beautiful prayer that we ought to pay more attention to. It’s a poem, really, that was probably written about 800 years ago by a Franciscan, Jacopone da Todi.
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What keeps you going when the going gets tough? When you experience the pain of rejection or betrayal? When you have been misunderstood by your friends, family, or community? What keeps you pursuing God for His direction for a purposeful and successful life?
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary ... If anyone can relate to our feelings during the tough times, it’s Mary.
Sixty-two years ago, I, along with tens of thousands of young adults, responded to the invitation of President John F. Kennedy who in a speech said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." I joined the Peace Corps and was sent to Chile to help a country that had been devastated by an earthquake.
Recently, in his message for the 29th commemoration of World Day of the Sick, Pope Francis entrusted not only those who suffer sickness, but also healthcare workers and caregivers, to Mary, calling her “Mother of Mercy and Health of the Infirm”.