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  A Christian Faith Magazine January 2005, Volume 10, Issue 6  
Rev. Raymond K. Petrucci Woman On A Rock
Rev. Raymond K. Petrucci
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Six months have passed since I first saw her. I was driving to work when I noticed a woman sitting on a rock. There was a plastic bag, presumably containing her lunch, placed on the ground at her feet. There was nothing remarkable about the scene; just a woman waiting to be picked up to go to work. Then again, there was something about her face and posture that spoke of the hopes and ambitions of the immigrant worker. Unsure in her new country and thankful just to have a job; she exuded an unflappable resolve to make it for herself and for her children. I had no idea what her life was like, what challenges she faced, or what joys she experienced. The woman gave no indication whether she welcomed or dreaded what lay ahead in the brightening day. However, I felt that she revealed a nervous anticipation like a racehorse at Post Time anxious to run the race and to win. Now that stone is covered with snow and the weather too bitter for sitting and waiting outside. I pray that she is well and realizing her goals.

Memories of another woman occupy my thoughts as this year begins. The first day of it celebrated her crowning achievement - Mary, the Mother of God. As the other woman, Mary harbored dreams of a joyful and fulfilling life. She would share similar hopes and wishes for her family. Yet, her mission was a vastly different one. She had encountered intimacies unknown in human history and accepted a task unmatched in the annals of time. She was the woman in the gospels and these writings were to proclaim her faith, her trust, and her gift to the world. Little information is recorded about the particulars of her life during those exhilarating and precarious years of salvation's dawning except that she was there and that her presence was profound.


Reflecting on these two women, one living in anonymity and the other in renown, I find it pleasing to believe that the former is a Catholic with a strong devotion to the latter. Her spiritual relationship with Mary unites a woman of faith with the ultimate woman of faith. Perhaps, that woman, upon her stony perch, was praying to the Blessed Mother for comfort or guidance before meeting the demands that awaited her. Was her life joyful or burdensome? I shall never know. But I do know that the Mother of God would be a steadfast friend to her. Mary felt the happiness and the horror of life. For those of us who have seen the powerful movie The Passion of the Christ, the portrayal of Mary's own passion (suffering) tore at our hearts. As she endured the crushing agony of her son's crucifixion, Mary became an ever-present source of compassion for all who mourn and the prime example of patient faith before the unfolding mystery of God's plan.

The relationship between so many Catholic men and women and the Blessed Virgin Mary is deep and profound. I believe this is so because of her status as one so close to Jesus and so completely human. Mary is gloriously viewed as the Queen of Heaven but remains open and approachable as the simple girl of Nazareth. She shared our human experience and reaches out to us in our needs. She is a kindred spirit who danced joyfully and wept bitterly. In other words, Mary understands. With each dawning of a new day, one may turn to Mary to pray for him or her in making the hours ahead pleasing to God. She identifies with the hopes and dreams of people. She knows what it is like to direct controllable events and cope with all that cannot be controlled. Each human being can find in her one of their own who will assure the faithful that in the vagaries of life all will be well. Would it be fair to speculate that the grace and love of God amplified in the person of Mary for the benefit of all people could have altered the tragic course of those numbered in the 31,000 successful suicides and of the 6 to 8 times as many attempts registered annually? One might conclude, not unfoundedly, that the establishment of spiritual, mental, and physical well-being is among the many fruits of Marian devotion.

Facing the changing tides of her life, Mary stood patiently and confidently before her God. She has become the paradigm of such things. Her heart is a wellspring of love and encouragement from which all may come and drink. Absolute was her faith in the victory that her Son had secured and in her partaking of it. In the minds of the faithful, Mary, as saint and Mother of the Church, extends her arms in a welcoming embrace encouraging all to listen to her Son and to share that triumph of eternal love with her. Those who turn to her find a mother's caring. As we make our uncertain way through another year, we discover in Mary's unwavering trust in God a rich cache of perseverance and steadfast hope. Mary, the Mother of God, is a woman on a solid foundation - a woman on a rock.

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