See the latest (and last) Lady’s Night.

See the latest (and last) Lady’s Night.

LADY’S NIGHT - The Encounter

Happy Easter, everyone!  I apologize for my tardiness in posting this Lady’s Night that was originally intended for Easter Sunday.  I know that I missed my target date (and the entire Octave!), but at least we’re still in the Easter Season.

Recall from my previous posts that in many Catholic countries, Holy Week is marked by processions (as in Sevilla and Jerez de la Frontera, Spain) where the faithful bear life-size statues posed in vignettes of Christ’s final moments through the streets of town as a public expression of faith.  It is a sorrowful occasion where Nazarenos dress in the traditional garb of a penitent and the haunting strains of the mournful saeta float through the air. 

These statues, these processions are signs that speak to the human heart in ways that words cannot.  They remind the community that we have sinned and have lost the friendship of God; yet, they also give a most eloquent testimony that He would rather die that spend eternity without us.

As God’s little children, to whom did we turn as we walked the Via Crucis of our own lives, as we walked it in community about a month ago?  We mourned with and were comforted by the Blessed Mother whose Immaculate Heart—as prophesied by Simeon (cf. Luke 2:35)—was pierced by sorrow as with a sword. 

However, Our Lady of Sorrows who stood at the foot of the cross and witness the death of her Child would also witness the empty tomb.  On Good Friday, our Mother embraced the cross and crown, the nails and reed to share in the suffering of her dying Son and, in union with Him, surrender all to the Father’s will.  She truly taught us how to kiss the cross in bearing an agony so incredibly intense and profound. Likewise, who can ever imagine the ecstatic joy that she experienced on Easter Sunday when Life triumphed over death, Light defeated darkness, and when Love conquered all?  The Glorious follows the Sorrowful as dawn proceeds the night.

Joy is one of the marks of a Christian, for we are indeed Easter people.  Who better to give us an example of a joyful life of a Christian than the very first disciple of Christ, Our Lady.  At that first Easter encounter, the words of her Magnificat seem to be fulfilled:  “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior” (Luke 1:46-47).

In the Regina Caeli, which replaces the Angelus in the Easter Season, we recall the glorious Resurrection of Jesus and seek to share His Mother’s joy:

Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.
Has risen, as he said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

There is an ancient tradition, popular especially among Franciscans, which holds that, although it is not recorded in the Gospels, Jesus first appeared to His Mother after the Resurrection.  In the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, there is even a Chapel of the Apparition to commemorate this event.

Bl. John Paul the Great spoke of this pious tradition in his address at the General Audience on May 21, 2997.

The expectation felt on Holy Saturday is one of the loftiest moments of faith for the Mother of the Lord: in the darkness that envelops the world, she entrusts herself fully to the God of life, and thinking back to the words of her Son, she hopes in the fulfilment of the divine promises.

The Gospels mention various appearances of the risen Christ, but not a meeting between Jesus and his Mother. This silence must not lead to the conclusion that after the Resurrection Christ did not appear to Mary; rather it invites us to seek the reasons why the Evangelists made such a choice.

On the supposition of an “omission”, this silence could be attributed to the fact that what is necessary for our saving knowledge was entrusted to the word of those “chosen by God as witnesses” (Acts 10:41), that is, the Apostles, who gave their testimony of the Lord Jesus’ Resurrection “with great power” (cf. Acts 4:33). Before appearing to them, the Risen One had appeared to several faithful women because of their ecclesial function: “Go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me” (Mt 28:10).

If the authors of the New Testament do not speak of the Mother’s encounter with her risen Son, this can perhaps be attributed to the fact that such a witness would have been considered too biased by those who denied the Lord’s Resurrection, and therefore not worthy of belief…

It seems reasonable to think that Mary, as the image and model of the Church which waits for the Risen One and meets him in the group of disciples during his Easter appearances, had had a personal contact with her risen Son, so that she too could delight in the fullness of paschal joy.

Present at Calvary on Good Friday (cf. Jn 19:25) and in the Upper Room on Pentecost (cf. Acts 1:14), the Blessed Virgin too was probably a privileged witness of Christ’s Resurrection, completing in this way her participation in all the essential moments of the paschal mystery. Welcoming the risen Jesus, Mary is also a sign and an anticipation of humanity, which hopes to achieve its [fulfillment] through the resurrection of the dead.

Thus, it is fitting that there should be one more procession following the somber pasos of Holy Week. This time, instead of recalling to mind the 4th Station of the Cross, the people announce the Risen Christ by enacting this first Easter encounter between Mother and Son.  In fact, you might remember this video and this teaser pic.

On Easter morning, two processions the leave church and follow different routes:  one carries an image of our Risen Savior, the other bears a statue of Our Lady, still wearing the black mantle of sorrow.  At a designated time and location (usually the main street or plaza), the two processions meet.  Sometimes an image of St. John or St. Peter is carried back and forth between the two processions as they make their way towards each other, expressing our anticipation for this reunion after the tomb.

Then in some communities, especially in Italy, as Our Lady rounds the corner and first spots her living Son, she does as any mother would do:  she runs to Him, casting off her cloak of sadness.  Depending on the local custom, Jesus may also run towards His Mother as well. 

The streets that only days before witnessed the faithful carry an image of their crucified Savior in a slow and mournful procession as in a funeral march, now tremble beneath the running feet of those overflowing with Pascal joy in encountering the Risen Lord.

There are some who treat such examples of popular piety as mere quaint, folksy customs for old women and simple people, but I think there is some deep spiritual significance in these outward expressions of faith.

Such beautiful processions depicting the Easter encounter of Mary and Jesus communicate more than just a natural, familial response between a mother and her son.  They signify the relationship of the Church and her Risen Bridegroom.  Such processions speak of our desire to encounter and embrace our God and to continue living with Him forever even after the grave has swallowed our mortal bodies. 

Like our Blessed Mother, the Resurrection has filled us with great joy.  For as the psalmist joyfully sings, “You changed my mourning into dancing; you took off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness” (Psalm 30:12).  What else could be our response but to imitate her reaction in seeing her glorified Son?  Easter is a time to cast off our sluggish spirits and sinful habits which weigh our feet down.  Now, is the time to fly towards Jesus with wings of faith, as St. Paul says, like runners in a marathon who run, not aimlessly, but so as to win the race (cf 1 Cor 9:24, 26).

Although as I’ve said before, this post-Resurrection meeting between Jesus and His Mother is not mentioned in scripture, the Gospels do record other people’s reaction to the news of the empty tomb. 

In his homily for Easter Sunday, His Excellency, Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles, points out that everyone in John’s Resurrection narrative seems to be running.  When Mary Magdalene discovers the stone of the tomb rolled away and Jesus’ body gone, she runs to tell the other disciples (cf. John 20:2).  At this astonishing news, St. John and St. Peter literally race to the tomb to see for themselves (cf. John 20:4). 

Why do they run?

First, their sprinting feet communicate their excitement and astonishment, as Archbishop Gomez states in his homily.  As St. Mary Magdalene’s wondrous news reaches the ears of St. John and St. Peter, I like to imagine that their hearts literally lift them to their feet and draw them to the tomb that they may see and believe (cf John 20:8).

They run because they have the first glimpses of the reality of the Resurrection.  They run because they can taste the victory won by Christ and are eager to experience first hand the glory of His triumph over sin and even over death itself.  They run because they are filled with hope that their Friend, their Lord and Savior, is truly alive again.

Psalm 42 very poetically speaks of our desire for God and the disciple’s desire to encounter the Risen Christ:  “As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God” (Psalm 42:2).  Water is a basic necessity for life; without it, we die.  If you were in a desert without water, and you saw an oasis in the distance, what would be your response?  Probably you would muster all the energy you had left and run to the life-giving spring.  Psalm 18 also says that God has given us “feet like a deer’s” (Psalm 18:34); that is, He gives us the means and motivation to run to Him who is the Living Water, our Refreshment, our Salvation, and our Hope. 

Therefore, like St. Mary Magdalene, St. Peter, St. John, and Our Lady, let us run to encounter the Risen Lord.  Apathy and complacency may attempt to slow us down, and Satan will try to steal our joy, but keep running; set your gaze on the empty tomb and the glorious cross, and run with all your strength.  However, if by chance you should stumble or fall, know that our Victorious Savior is running towards us as the father of the Prodigal Son ran towards his repentant child the moment he caught sight of him walking towards home (cf. Luke 15:20). 

[Photos:  not mine]

From Our Lady of Sorrows to La Virgen de la Alegria (The Virgin of Joy).  I love seeing our Mama smile; she looks so beautiful.
[Photo:  from Artencodoba]

From Our Lady of Sorrows to La Virgen de la Alegria (The Virgin of Joy).  I love seeing our Mama smile; she looks so beautiful.

[Photo:  from Artencodoba]

Here is a nice video of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag, whose fiesta we celebrate today.  This video, which is mostly in English with some parts in Tagalog, tells of the cultural history and spiritual significance of Our Lady of Manaoag; the relationship that she has with the Filipino people; and the architectural design of her shrine in the province of Pangasinan.

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Novena to St. Joseph:  DAY 4
[Photo:  I suppose that since I’m posting pics from Venice today, this one would be most appropriate for the fourth day of our novena in preparation for the Feast of St. Joseph, the Worker.  During a walking tour of Venice, I took this photo of a shrine to our beloved patron on the outside wall of some random building.  In many Catholic countries, these little shrines are a common sight (I wish we had that sort of Catholic culture in the United States).  I love how Catholics in these places are not shy or ashamed to publicly express their faith; hopefully, they also live their faith in public and in private—that’s the tough part.  But these outdoor shrines are signs that we are not alone; they remind us to turn to God for help and to seek the intercession of our heroes in the faith—like our glorious father, St. Joseph!] 

Novena to St. Joseph:  DAY 4

[Photo:  I suppose that since I’m posting pics from Venice today, this one would be most appropriate for the fourth day of our novena in preparation for the Feast of St. Joseph, the Worker.  During a walking tour of Venice, I took this photo of a shrine to our beloved patron on the outside wall of some random building.  In many Catholic countries, these little shrines are a common sight (I wish we had that sort of Catholic culture in the United States).  I love how Catholics in these places are not shy or ashamed to publicly express their faith; hopefully, they also live their faith in public and in private—that’s the tough part.  But these outdoor shrines are signs that we are not alone; they remind us to turn to God for help and to seek the intercession of our heroes in the faith—like our glorious father, St. Joseph!

Happy Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist!

Here are some pics that I took from a recent pilgrimage to his tomb in the iconic Basilica di San Marco in Venice, Italy.  (Unfortunately, I can’t show you the inside of the Basilica because photography was prohibited, but I can tell you the interior was amazing; it seemed to be filled with a heavenly glow from the golden mosaics depicting scriptural events which covered the walls and ceiling.)

How did the relics of St. Mark come to Venice?  The Venetians believe that St. Mark stopped on their shores to preach the Gospel before traveling to Alexandria where he was martyred and buried. 

The Inventio (Recovery) took place in 828.  After venerating St. Mark’s relics in Alexandria, Venetian merchants, Buono da Malamocco and Rustico da Torcello, learned that the Moor where going to raid the church where St. Mark’s body was buried.  So, they took his body from Alexandria to Venice where St. Mark is venerated as the city’s co-patron saint (along with St. Theodore).  My tour guide even said that they covered his remains in pork to aid in the transport from a Moorish land.

THE NEW CHIVALRY by Matt Sciba
From Truth & Charity:

He took a towel and tied it around his waist.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist.  (John 14:4-5)
On Holy Thursday, I watched our bishop wash the feet of twelve individuals, just as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples on the night he was betrayed.  Regardless of status or stature, a person washing the feet of another looks humbled.  The shoulders are hunched, the back is bent, and the person doing the washing is on their knees on the bare ground, a position of complete humility.
It is springtime, and weddings are aplenty.  One of the traditions performed at many weddings is the garter toss…One such event happened at the wedding of a couple I knew in college.  Matt and Julie married last week, and when the time came for the garter to be removed, Matt did something unexpected.  As Julie sat in her chair, Matt approached her with a water basin and a towel.  With perfect tenderness, he humbled himself and made a beautiful gesture of his service to her.
As husbands and the spiritual head of our households, we are called by Christ to imitate the same dedication of service to our wives. Service doesn’t simply mean helping out, but means humbling ourselves, putting our wives before us always, and heroically attending to her needs.
Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Perkins

Wow!  I would do this for my bride.  Such a romantic gesture (in both a Chestertonian sense and in a Catholic Hallmark sense) is a powerful sign of Christ’s total self-giving which we see in the cross and of His madatum novum that He gave to the Apostles at the Last Supper.
This article and picture reminded me of my friends’ wedding last year.  I believe for the Offertory Hymn they chose Servant Song whose lyrics are like a dialogue of love between friends:
Will you let me be your servant?  
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too.

[Photo:  by Voboril Photography]

THE NEW CHIVALRY by Matt Sciba

From Truth & Charity:

He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. (John 14:4-5)

On Holy Thursday, I watched our bishop wash the feet of twelve individuals, just as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples on the night he was betrayed. Regardless of status or stature, a person washing the feet of another looks humbled. The shoulders are hunched, the back is bent, and the person doing the washing is on their knees on the bare ground, a position of complete humility.

It is springtime, and weddings are aplenty. One of the traditions performed at many weddings is the garter toss…One such event happened at the wedding of a couple I knew in college. Matt and Julie married last week, and when the time came for the garter to be removed, Matt did something unexpected. As Julie sat in her chair, Matt approached her with a water basin and a towel. With perfect tenderness, he humbled himself and made a beautiful gesture of his service to her.

As husbands and the spiritual head of our households, we are called by Christ to imitate the same dedication of service to our wives. Service doesn’t simply mean helping out, but means humbling ourselves, putting our wives before us always, and heroically attending to her needs.

Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Perkins

Wow! I would do this for my bride. Such a romantic gesture (in both a Chestertonian sense and in a Catholic Hallmark sense) is a powerful sign of Christ’s total self-giving which we see in the cross and of His madatum novum that He gave to the Apostles at the Last Supper.

This article and picture reminded me of my friends’ wedding last year. I believe for the Offertory Hymn they chose Servant Song whose lyrics are like a dialogue of love between friends:

Will you let me be your servant?

Let me be as Christ to you.

Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too.

[Photo: by Voboril Photography]

L’incontro

What a beautiful expression of faith!  When Our Lady catches her first glimpse of the resurrected Christ, what does she do?  She casts off her mourning and sorrow, and runs to her Son.  Let us fly to Jesus, too.

More about this joyful tradition in Lady’s Night.

I visited her this past summer.  Ah, she is beautiful.  Que viva la Virgen!
allaboutmary:

It is La Macarena, the most popular Virgin in the Land of Mary Most Holy. A multitude of lighted wax tapers are placed on the platform before Our Lady so that their glare will keep Our Lady from seeing the torments of her Divine Son. They also shed incandescent light on the magnificently arrayed life-sized image of the Virgin. The crystal tears shine on her face, tender and sorrowful. From midnight to noon, La Macarena processes through the streets of Seville.‘Viva la Macarena!’ the people shout. The enthusiastic crowd greets her. Women weep. Men beat their breast with their fists. Even the most phlegmatic cannot help but be caught up in the wave of fervour. Some of the more daring try to touch her garment or take a petal from the flowers that adorn the platform as a sacred memento of their beloved Mother.From midnight to noon, she walks the streets of Seville. At times the processions halts to the refrains of a saeta, a wailing song of sorrow and repentance that pierces the night air. These songs are composed extemporaneously by the people to console Our Lord and Our Lady who suffer for our sins.
Source

I visited her this past summer.  Ah, she is beautiful.  Que viva la Virgen!

allaboutmary:

It is La Macarena, the most popular Virgin in the Land of Mary Most Holy. A multitude of lighted wax tapers are placed on the platform before Our Lady so that their glare will keep Our Lady from seeing the torments of her Divine Son. They also shed incandescent light on the magnificently arrayed life-sized image of the Virgin. The crystal tears shine on her face, tender and sorrowful.

From midnight to noon, La Macarena processes through the streets of Seville.
‘Viva la Macarena!’ the people shout. The enthusiastic crowd greets her. Women weep. Men beat their breast with their fists. Even the most phlegmatic cannot help but be caught up in the wave of fervour. Some of the more daring try to touch her garment or take a petal from the flowers that adorn the platform as a sacred memento of their beloved Mother.

From midnight to noon, she walks the streets of Seville. At times the processions halts to the refrains of a saeta, a wailing song of sorrow and repentance that pierces the night air. These songs are composed extemporaneously by the people to console Our Lord and Our Lady who suffer for our sins.

Source

Semana Santa in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

Like a lamb led to slaughter

[Photos:  not mine]

The Most Romantic Night:  In the Garden with Our Lover

After serving at my first Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper, I was convinced that it was the most romantic night of the year.  The Feast of St. Valentine doesn’t even compare to the outpouring of love and affection showed during these next several days.  And really nothing comes close to the sensory experience of the Sacred Triduum, and, perhaps, the most sensual of all is the Mass on Holy Thursday evening.

Recall my previous post and how G.K. Chesterton defined romance.  As Roman(tic) Catholics we know that the Christian life is a paradox:  the familiar and unfamiliar, the secure and the strange.  Thus, it is also quite romantic. 

In these next holiest of days in the holiest of weeks, we not only get to read in scripture and meditate on what occurred during that first Holy Week, but we also get to experience it in a very special way—through liturgy!

In previous posts, I talked about art, beauty, and signs.  From the vestments to the bells, from the religious icons to the very architecture of the church building, (ideally) all these are designed for a specific purpose; they are intended to say something, to speak to us at a deeper level than the written or spoken word.  (How effectively they communicate, well, that’s a subject for another post.) 

The liturgy of the Lord’s Supper has a particular significance for me because it was through that particular liturgy that I began to fall more in love the Mass and Our Eucharistic Lord.  There was something about my first Holy Thursday Mass that drew my heart towards Christ.  It engaged all my senses, and my entire being longed for Him.  This is the power of the Eucharist and of liturgy done well; this is what Chesterton would call romance.

In a recent article on Christopher Hitchens and Groaning During Sex, Marc Barnes notes the great power of ritual and, similarly, the power of liturgy through his reflection about sex.

Sexual union in its fullness – and unfortunately I can only go by literature here — is not a limited thing, but an experience of infinity. No couple views sex as a finalized experience (it’s this awesome and no more), but as an attempt at infinite joy. Thus everyone, atheist or otherwise, naturally gasps things like “more,” “God,” and other such infinities during the act. Ritual unveils the infinite.

Think about it: If you gaze on the face of your lover again and again, you dive into her infinite worth. No one would say, “Alright, I’ve got it! You’re a 9! No more and no less!” No, the cliche “words cannot express how beautiful you are” is simply a statement of fact: Who can express the infinite? So your gaze becomes a ritual, you gaze again and again.

Or returning again and again to a truly beautiful piece of music — again you dive. For who among you can imagine saying, “I’ve discovered all Mozart’s Requiem has to offer!”? No, it’s precisely in feeling we could never discover everything a piece has to offer that we feel fulfilled. Ritual — the again and again — unveils the infinite.

So it is with sex. You live a natural, ritualistic sex life — you grow ever deeper in the infinities love, communion and joy. It is not an Erotic North Korea, this repetition. It is the very method by which we are fulfilled.

Tonight, we will have the Washing of the Feet, a liturgical act which calls to mind the mandatum novum, the new command of Jesus to love and to serve.  Even if you aren’t a man chosen to have your foot wash, you can still appreciate the significance of this ritual.  It is a very intimate act between the washer and the washed:  to remove one’s shoes, exposing bare feet; the cool water; the physical touch of another who has to bend down humbling himself, literally putting himself lower level.  Can you imagine if Jesus washed your feet?  The intimacy and trust involved I think is greater than that required even for a hug, but, perhaps, the most intimate act of all is in the consumption of His Body and Blood.

In this special liturgy, not only do we recall the events of the Last Supper, but we call to mind that first Passover when the unblemished lamb was slaughtered and its blood placed on the door frames and lintels to save God’s People.  The significance of thousands of years of salvation history seem to culminate in this liturgy.  It’s like having The Ten Commandments and The Passion of the Christ playing in my head simultaneously; it is both epic and overwhelming.  

What can be an adequate response to this love?  A Love which can grant freedom to slaves, part the waters of the sea, endure thorns and whips, die on a cross, and unite with us under the appearances of bread and wine?  Lord, Your love is too great for us!  In this moment, just as in sex, Marc Barnes might say that all we can do is groan.

And in a beautiful binding of infinities, all these experiences make us groan. What is the human response to the terrible beauty of the soprano’s highest note in Miserere Mei Deus? A groan. What is the natural end of gazing at Michaelangelo’s Pieta? A groan, audible or otherwise. And what is the natural response to the fact of sex? A groan. Infinity stings us sweetly. It is a paradox — we cannot grasp it, yet we must. We cannot fully contain the Evermore, but we will try. We cannot comprehend the Beauty of our lovers, but we will try. We are simultaneously satisfied and dissatisfied — and so we groan in sweet frustration at the convergence of the twain, at the crashing of opposites that creates a thing entirely new.

On another level, our appropriate response is given to us by the liturgy which follows the words of Christ who also gave us the mandatum novum.  After the Last Supper, where He made an offering of Himself as He would on Good Friday, Jesus took His apostles to the Garden of Gethsemane, and, drawing Peter, James, and John aside, He told them to watch and pray.

Tonight, after we receive our God in the Holy Eucharist, the ciborium is left on the altar.  The priest puts on the cope; grains of incense die, releasing their fragrance as a sign of our prayers rising to heaven; in my parish, the church is cloaked in darkness; the catechumens and candidates come forward bearing candles; and the haunting strains of the beautiful and poetic Pange Lingua are sung.  The priest gently takes the ciborium, enfolds Our Lord in the humeral veil, and walks in procession under a canopy to the altar of repose.  After a moment of adoration, he leaves in silence.  Then, the altar is stripped, the sanctuary candle extinguished, and the doors of the tabernacle are left open, proclaiming its emptiness.  It’s heartbreaking, gut wrenching, mind blowing.

Like the church building, I wait in darkness.  Like the candles, am called to be a light for the world.  Like the grains of incense, I die to offer my fragrance.  Like the procession, I walk on pilgrimage with Jesus.  Like the altar, I am stripped of pretense and stand before my God exposed.  Like the tabernacle, my heart is open to receive the Word.  Unlike the Apostles, however, tonight I shall watch and pray.  It is tradition in my parish to keep vigil with Our Lord until midnight with the youth and young adults taking the first hour of the Night Watch.

As our creation began in a garden, our redemption, in a sense, also began in a garden.  In Eden, there was Adam whose disobedience in eating the forbidden fruit brought death to the world.  In Gethsemane, the New Adam became obedient unto death, drinking of the chalice, and, became for us, the Fruit of the new Tree of Life.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, on the Altar of Repose, our Lover is present.  Be present with Him tonight.

[Photos:  “Agony in the Garden” by Carl Heinrich Bloch from CatechismClass.com; Altar of Repose at St. Joseph’s Church, Las Piñas, Philippines by Dr_Sonny]

bethestraw:

7LW: Lisa Emperador - “… my God, why have you abandoned me?”

Young professional Lisa Aquino Emperador shares with us her reflection on Jesus’ words: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

As a survivor of sexual abuse, Lisa humbly shares how these words and the image of Jesus on the cross has had a profound effect on her faith, her life, and her attitude toward suffering and weakness.

Lisa echoes the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians: “… for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Coming soon: Listen to Colin Wen share about Mother Teresa as he reflects on Jesus’ words “I Thirst.”

Who doesn’t love looking at Our Lady? 

Walk with us, O Mother of Sorrows, through this Valley of Tears.  Hold us by the hand; shield us under your mantle; lead us to your Son.

[Photos:  not mine]