a Valentine Mini-Retreat with Mary
Friends unfriending each other. Judgment because one person wears a mask and judgment because another doesn’t. A fraction in every corner. Disagreement, confusion, and grief.
A year ago, who would have believed something as innocuous as a face mask would cause angry divisions, sadly, even among family members or people who have been friends for decades?
The facemask has become a symbol of personal philosophies and value systems. In itself, the mask is a neutral thing. It offers protection from disease, as noted by decades of mask-wearing in our medical community. In contrast, masks worn during Mardi Gras are a Christian symbol used to
disguise the hidden self. [Masks come off on Ash Wednesday] as we enter darkness…and engage in a ritual acknowledgment of [our] human and sinful nature.”Taking Root, Margaret Wurtele, St. Mary’s Press (1990)
Divisions we experience as part of this human nature are so great that Jesus wept over them (Luke 19:41-44). The moment is so significant that a Jerusalem church called Dominus Flevit (The Lord Wept) marks His tears. On the four corners supporting the dome, the architect put sculpted urns to catch teardrops. That is a lot of tears!
In this weeping God, we find the answer to that which divides. “Healing occurs where there is love because Jesus, the source of all healing, is love.” (Catholic Women’s Devotional Bible, Sheila Fabricant Linn, author, and minister of healing.)
Does it seem too simple to claim that LOVE HEALS? Love is mentioned over 500 times in the New Revised Standard Bible. Jesus teaches,
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”Matthew 22:39
As the dreariness of the pandemic wears on, let us not falter in love. Let us treat others and ourselves with compassion and respect. If you need healing from the sorrows of these days, seek help. Begin each day with a new mantra; several are listed below. And always remember that God loves you!