Special Offer for september 2021
Mary, Mother of Mercy
by Pierre-Marie Dumont
Birth of the Virgin (1485–1490)
by Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449–1494)
The editorial of the month
by Léonie Caldecott
Some years ago, a dear friend of mine committed suicide. I tell you this not in order to debate the rights and wrongs of what she did, but rather to focus on the situation which caused her to take this terrible step. She was suffering from a little understood medical condition which put her in appalling neuralgic pain. No drug seemed to bring her relief. She went through years of this, the disease spreading slowly through her body, until she was completely bedridden. From what I understand, she took her life only after some medical experts told her there was nothing more they could do for her. I imagine that, in her agony, she despaired.
In this month when we exalt the Cross of Christ, it is well to remember how many people may be close to such despair, for any number of reasons. Life can be extremely cruel, which is why the Cross is such a moving symbol. It reminds us that Jesus too hung in agony, dragged towards the blood-soaked ground as though he had no power at all. That is how people who suffer feel: powerless against the forces of gravity dragging them down.
When we speak of the triumph of the Cross, we are not speaking of an easy victory. To exalt the Cross is to let the nails pierce us too, a little, when we touch the wounds of others. Most likely we cannot take them off their personal crosses: but, like Saint Vincent de Paul, we can stand by them so they know they are not alone. We can be channels of grace, rather than gravity.(Read More)