“And there followed Him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented Him. But Jesus turning to them said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are coming when they will say ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts the never nursed!'”. Luke 26: 27-28
I am sharing with you today the full text of a reflective talk that I gave in February at the Passionate Walk 2013 at the Cypress Springs Mercedarian Center at the request of Sister Dulce Maria. Among the beautiful stories, testimonies, and personal, deep reflections given at each station of the cross, this was my humble offering.
Given that today is Good Friday, the day that Our Lord suffered His Passion, I offer this now to you as a Daughter of Jerusalem, as a small, humble act of love to comfort my Lord on His journey. I pray it touches you and comforts you in some way today as you reflect upon the His Passion on this very holy day. Peace.
Our Lady of Sorrows, Pray for Us.
“The Women of Jerusalem represent ALL women of all time, whom You have fashioned with the capacity to nurture and love all mankind as spiritual mothers. Women, whom you made capable of unending love, and who weep in great sadness over evil and sin, and the crosses that we carry. Women who, when open to the graces and action of the Holy Spirit, are imbued with magnificent courage, strength, and virtue to be manifested in the call to love and protect falling humanity.
Jesus, when you came, you taught the world the true dignity and respect due women, who are the life-bearers and nurturers of the entire human race, and who are capable of profound, unending love that is fashioned after your own Sacred Heart, and personified in the heart of Our Lady.
But so many women of today, Lord, are being swept away by evil ideals, whether through their own sin, or through sins committed against them in the diabolical disorientation that we see in today’s society. In a misguided search for happiness and freedom, so many women have turned from their true feminine creation to radical feminism and secular ideals and vices, unintentionally enslaving themselves by following the selfishness of Eve instead of the humility, virtue and selflessness of Our Lady.
We are literally surrounded by so many false philosophies, psychological theories and distorted secular ideas in our culture that distract us from You, Lord, and we are confused and lead down paths to unhappiness without realizing it until we are so far away from You that we lose our identity as Your beloved daughters.
In my private women’s mental health practice, I so often heard – and still hear – “Why am I so unhappy?” , and I pondered these things deeply in my heart. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions abound in today’s world, and the earth is groaning with the ache in our hearts. Where is the freedom? Where is the peace? It’s not found on the altar of ourselves as you know, Lord. And yet, your people turn away. How sad it is that the unhappiness, apathy, and despair of women affects not only themselves, and not only their children and spouses, but all men, all women, and future generations. And you know how my heart aches over this, Lord.
As I have reflected over my life in preparation for this moment with you, I wanted to thank you for the many crosses You have provided for me so lovingly which have kept me anchored against this tide and from being swept away. I want to thank you also for the magnificent way in which you, in your perfect timing, loved me and taught me through each of the crosses that you selected for me. You know my inmost being, and what I needed and would be able to bear at any given moment and time in my life. More importantly, those crosses that you chose especially for me have united me with You so profoundly and have allowed me to fall deeply in love with You.
I have come to understand that the most painful crosses you have asked me to carry, the ones that wounded me the most, the ones that I wept bitterly through…were the ones that uprooted my identity as a daughter, as a wife, as a mental health professional, and in a most profound way, my identity as a mother. The redemptive value of suffering you taught me as I bore the cross of a wayward son who rejected You and became a son of the earth for a time, united me most intimately with you. In my brokenness and fear for his life, you taught me that I am nothing, and can do nothing, without You. And you taught me of your profound Love and Mercy that knows no end. I learned that I am a beloved Daughter of the Most High God, which informs each and every action of my day and life, and keeps me rightly ordered within all of the roles that I fulfill in my vocation as wife, mother, and servant to your people. Nothing else matters that is outside that understanding.
Jesus, through the inquisitive, tenacious, rather spirited and intellectual nature you have given me, coupled with the tender feminine heart you have placed within me, and the honing and humility I have experienced through the many crosses that you have asked me to carry, you have restored my true feminine identity within me. And, I know that you have a plan and a purpose for me, and that the crosses and experiences You have given me are no accident.
And, I know that you are calling me forth to actively demonstrate Your love by serving the women of our age utilizing these gifts and experiences. While it would be so much easier to live out the rest of my days in quiet solitude, I know in my spirit that these lessons are not to be kept to myself, and that you are calling me to serve with courage and virtue as a vessel of beauty in restoring the dignity and respect due each woman in order that they may embrace your Truth, and accept their true identity and nature, and faithfully live out their own vocation in their families and in society in cooperation with your grace for the salvation of mankind.
In Your time, You are showing me how you wish me to serve my beloved sisters in Christ and families during the second half of my life by planting me in areas and methods of service I never imagined. In this day of impurity, impropriety, radical feminism, moral relativism, and secular ideals in which your beloved daughters and sons are suffering so profoundly, I see that you are calling me to serve through the areas of integrated faith and mental health, writing and academics, sacred music, and radio and other forms of media. The enormity of this call feels overwhelming at times, until I remember in great trust that I am not alone, nor am I capable of this on my own. I pray that you will offer me the perseverance and virtue that I need to serve you well. I am greatly humbled, feel unworthy, and am trusting You in my fear. Please keep me in Your will. Keep me small. Keep me in Your love.
May my words and service, and my lament for the condition of mankind, honor those beautiful, courageous Women of Jerusalem who stepped forward in faith for love of You. May I always remember that I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done unto me according to Thy Word.”