• Church Life,  Mother of God,  Scripture

    Sorrowful and Immaculate

    I made this image some years ago in Rome, in the courtyard of one of the religious houses in the city. The statue depicts Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as She stood beneath the Cross of Her Son. I was struck by Her quiet dignity in that moment, suffering silently and partaking fully in His Passion and Death upon the Cross. In that moment, the prophecy of Simeon was borne out – “and a sword will pierce Your own soul, also” (Luke 2:35). It is because of the words of this prophecy of the holy man Simeon that we see so many depictions of Our Lady of Sorrows with a…

  • Faith and Life,  Mother of God

    Our Grand Desires

    As human persons, we often tend to have grand ideas for ourselves and about ourselves. This is no less the case for Catholics or Christians – we, too, are prone to this sense of ego. It’s one of the things Our Lord counsels us in the Gospels – that we must deny ourselves in order that we might be able to follow Him more perfectly. Love of self and the love of God (and neighbour) tend to be polar opposites. One always gets in the way of the other. Although every one of us is called to holiness, as we are reminded so very clearly by the Fathers of the…

  • Faith and Life,  Mother of God

    The Gentlest Caress

    In the oldest part of Westminster Abbey, London, stands the tiny chapel which is pictured above. It is opposite the tomb of Saint Edward the Confessor and is surrounded by the tombs of numerous Kings and Queens of England, as well as a huge number of illustrious figures from the worlds of the arts and literature across the centuries. This statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been touched so much in the past thousand years that the face is partially rubbed away and much of the fine detail has been lost. And yet even now, so very long after the statue was first placed there, still it is adorned…

  • Faith and Life

    A Faith That Costs

    I have a sense that a lot of people think of Christianity as an ‘easy’ faith. And when it comes to Catholics, in particular, the impression may be that our religion does not really ask that much of us – Mass on Sundays, no meat on Fridays and little else of any real substance. But – as is the case with many common assumptions – the reality does not quite match the perception. Tomorrow, Catholics will celebrate the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Saint Elizabeth. The story of this visit is recounted early in the Gospel of Saint Luke. Having just consented to become the…