Monday, January 11, 2016

For Meditation: A Kind Woman in Heaven

"Never, as he afterward told Father Vaillant, had it been permitted him to behold such deep experience of the holy joy of religion as on that pale December night.  He was able to feel, kneeling beside her, the preciousness of the things of the altar to her who was without possessions; the tapers, the image of the Virgin, the figures of the saints, the Cross that took away indignity from suffering and made pain and poverty a means of fellowship with Christ. Kneeling beside the much enduring bond-woman, he experienced those holy mysteries as he had done in his young manhood.  He seemed able to feel all it meant to her to know that there was a Kind Woman in Heaven, though there were such cruel ones on earth.  Old people, who have felt blows and toil and known the world's hard hand, need, even more than children do, a woman's tenderness.  Only a Woman, divine, could know all that a woman can suffer.
Not often, indeed, had Jean Marie Latour come so near to the Fountain of all Pity as in Lady Chapel that night; the pity that no man born of woman could utterly cut himself off from; that was for the murderer on the scaffold, as it was for the murderer on the scaffold, as it was for the dying soldier or the martyr on the rack.  The beautiful concept of Mary pierced the priest's heart like a sword."

Willa Cather, Death Comes to the Archbishop,216-217.

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