14th August – 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C).

EXTRA FOR LATER: TOTUS TUUS is a wonderful new magazine and the latest edition can be read online at  www.tiny.cc/TTE27 . It makes for an ideal gift to a family member or friend (see page 2 for subscription details). You might to get to read an article or two during the coming week.


I did prepare a homily for this weekend after my long Covid break. Here it is.

One of my roles as a pastor is to encourage people, when they experience difficult times, encouragement to remain faithful to the Lord Jesus in times of trial, etc. One such instance is a conversion I had with a woman whom we’ll call ‘Mary’ some time ago.

Mary’s daughter had just started college. Two months or so down the road the daughter calls up and says that she’s coming home for the midterm break. Mary said ‘Great! it’ll be nice to catch up in person with all that’s gone on.’ In the next sentence the daughter says she’ll be bringing her new boyfriend whom we’ll call ‘Jim’. Again Mary said ‘Great, it’ll be nice to meet him and get to know him.’

In the next sentence the daughter said that Jim would be staying in her own bedroom. Mary paused for a moment and said “Jim will be most welcome to visit us but we are a Christian family. Jim will be welcome to stay in the spare bedroom.”

With that all hell broke loose! The daughter threw a hissy fit and a whole flood of angry and derogatory words ensued. One of the choice terms that came out was that of being a dinosaur. Mary held her cool and said that if one needed to be dinosaur to be a Christian in the current time, then she was happy to be a dinosaur.

And that was only half of it! The rest of the family joined in with the attack. Mary was told by her husband and the other children that she had to move with the times. After all this was the 21st century and this was what young people did nowadays. Mary’s response was calm and level-headed: “You can all move with the times. I will stay with Jesus and the Gospel.”

At the end of it all, the daughter and boyfriend did come home for the midterm break but when to stay at his place and did their thing over there.

I tell you this story today because it is a good modern illustration of what Jesus said in the gospel. If we are faithful to him and his teaching it may very well bring us into conflict with others, even our own family. He spoke about a family of 5 being divided 3 against 2 and 2 against 3. In this instance it was a family of 5 being divided 1 again 4 and vice versa. It was an exact match that a mother was divided against daughter and vice versa.

In the Catholic Church we see Confirmation as a sacrament of strengthening. As well as making an adult ‘confirmation’ of our baptismal promises we get a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit to enable us to witness to Jesus in the world. In older days when the bishop administered the sacrament he would touch the cheek of the candidate. This was an imitation slap to remind us of the opposition we may encounter later in our Christian witness – like what happened to Mary.

In the first reading we heard about the prophet Jeremiah who also upset the people of his time by witnessing to the Word of God. He was dumped into the mud pit and left to die except for a change of heart on behalf of the king.

Good Friday STATIONS OF THE CROSS at the clinic.

Most Saturdays I lead prayer at the White Plains Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. The prayers that are said are largely the traditional prayers for the dead which are offered for the aborted babies. Our secularised world would like to pretend that what goes on in such places is routine health care. Our presence helps to manifest God’s truth that something truly terrible is taking place there.

If you’d like to come along in the future, please do get in touch with me! Perhaps next Saturday we’ll have a 100 in attendance rather that our customary 10!

In summary: Jesus says in today’s gospel that if we are faithful to him and his teaching, we should sometimes expect opposition, even from within our own family.

13th August – Saturday Memorial of Our Lady.

This morning 10 of us gathered at the White Plains Planned Parenthood abortion clinic to offer the customary prayers for the dead – for the aborted babies. Appropriately the gospel at Mass spoke about Jesus’ love for little children.

People brought little children to Jesus, for him to lay his hands on them and say a prayer. The disciples turned them away, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children alone, and do not stop them coming to me; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’ Then he laid his hands on them and went on his way. (Matthew 19:13-15)


Here is Fr Marius’ daily reflection.

Dia dhuit,On this very day in 1917 the three little shepherds in Fatima were preparing for Our Lady’s promised fourth apparition when they were abducted.Thousands of people still turned up and many said they could sense Our Lady’s presence, and saw a [heavenly] light etc., so she kept her promise to appear.She later appeared to the children on August 19th near their homes.She also told the children that the miracle on October 13th would have been much greater had they not been abducted.The wickedness of a few had an impact on many.Sin has such a negative impact on our own lives but it also affects others. This is why the Prophet Ezekiel today, like so many prophets, and like Our Lady, says to the people: “repent, renounce all your sins, avoid all occasions of sin.”This is why Our Lady at Fatima spoke so much about the need for reparation (penance) for sin.Justice is restored when we make reparation (repair the damage), and graces and blessings can then flow.Let’s do whatever small acts we can today to make reparation.God bless,Fr Marius

12th August – St Jane Frances de Chantal.

“Unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, and anger are like the four walls of a prison cell. Forgiveness is the key that opens the door and lets you out.” This statement is from Robert Enright, a Catholic  psychology professor and trailblazer in the scientific study of forgiveness. However, it wouldn’t be a bit surprising to find these words in the writings of St. Jane de Chantal, who as a widow founded the Visitation Order with St. Francis de Sales in 1610.

Jane is one of those saints who shows us how powerfully God can work when we break out of the narrow cell of our grudges and self-pity. She knew from experience how crucial it is to forgive—and how difficult.

Like all of us, Jane faced the ordi­nary challenges to forgiveness in everyday life. She was also tested by the slander, conflict, and opposition she encountered as she launched a new kind of religious community. But on at least three occasions even before she entered religious life, Jane suffered a hurt or injustice that called for a heroic response. Each time—and not without a struggle—she found and used the “key” of forgiveness and stepped into greater freedom.

For almost nine years, Jane was a wife and mother who never dreamed of becoming a nun. Her mar­riage to Baron Christopher de Rabutin-Chantal, a soldier and courtier in the service of Henry IV, the king of France was arranged by her father. He chose wisely, thought Jane’s first biographer, who knew her well: the two were “perfectly suited” and had “every quality con­sidered admirable and necessary among the nobility.” Well, maybe not every quality. Although the spouses came to love one another dearly, Christopher had rough edges.

Descriptions of the young cou­ple’s life at the castle of Bourbilly, the large estate that Christopher inher­ited, often come across as a fairy-tale mix of domestic joys, glittering social events, and exemplary prac­tice of the faith. What usually goes unmentioned is that Christopher, who was known as a ladies’ man in his bachelor days, had an illegitimate child. And according to Sr. Marie-Patricia Burns, a Visitandine nun who thoroughly researched the civil records, the little girl, known only as Claudine, was most likely conceived after his marriage.

Jane loved her husband “madly” – and was surely not consoled – by knowing that many noblemen had affairs. How much she suffered over his unfaithfulness we will never know. Her response to this affair, however, can tell us a lot.

Like many a spouse who is cheated on, Jane could have with­drawn and given Christopher the cold shoulder. She could have retaliated by taking a lover. An attractive woman, she had no lack of suitors. She could have vented her anger indirectly, by reproach­ing Christopher for all she had to do when he was away at court or in battle: raise their children, manage the estate’s farmlands and workers, and repay the debts Christopher had incurred before marrying.

But Jane chose a different path. Strengthened by her prayer life and daily Mass attendance, she chose to forgive. Christopher, for his part, chose not to be a deadbeat dad. Rather than abandoning his illegitimate daughter, as many would have done, he assumed responsibility for Claudine’s welfare. So did Jane. She took the girl into her home, raised her with her own children, and gave her a mother’s love. In later years, she arranged a good marriage for Claudine – and took a lasting interest in her two daughters.

Instead of making life misera­ble for her husband, Jane won his heart. Her forgiveness and kind­ness, in fact, laid the foundation for a home so happy that Christopher took early retirement from active service. He wanted to be with Jane, he explained in a parting sonnet to the king’s court. Worldly splen­dours paled beside the virtues of his beloved wife.

11th August – St Clare, Virgin.

I had a shocking start to today! I was in the bathroom shaving and heard the 9am bell ring from the church. I said to myself: “What’s up! Surely it’s only 8am!” But it was 9am and I had set my alarm for an hour later than I attended given I was scheduled for saying the 9am Mass. I quickly washed the shaving cream off my face, hurriedly put on enough clothes to look half-decent and ran out to the church to get ready for Mass. I started Mass 10 minutes late – the latest I can remember in my 25 years of being a priest. MISTAKES HAPPEN!!!

I received this photo of the Sea of Galilee via WhatsApp this morning. The sea and its surroundings was the setting of much of Jesus’ public ministry. As a spiritual exercise imagine that you and Jesus are standing on the shore. He has his hand on your shoulder and you are both gazing out at the beauty of the sea.


“Go forth without fear, Christian soul, for you have a good guide for your journey. Go forth without fear, for He that created you has sanctified you, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother.” – Saint Clare, on her deathbed in 1253

Saint Clare was born in 1193 in Assisi to a noble family. Before her birth, her mother received a sign that her daughter would be a bright light of God in the world. As a child she was already very strongly drawn to the things of God, praying fervently, devoutly visiting the Blessed Sacrament, and manifesting a tender love towards the poor.

When she was 18, she heard St. Francis preaching in the town square during Lent and she knew at once that God wanted her to consecrate herself to Him. The next evening, Clare left her house at night, ran to meet St. Francis and his companions at the church they were staying in, and shared her desire to follow him in his way of life. He received her, gave her his tunic, cut off her golden locks, and sent her to a Benedictine convent, because she could not stay with the brothers. Her younger sister Agnes soon joined her and the two had to resist much pressure from their family to return home.

When Clare was 22, St. Francis placed her in a small house beside the convent and made her superior, a post she should serve for the next 42 years of her life until her death.

The ´Poor Clares’ as they came to be known, lived an unusually austere life for women of the time, walking barefoot around the town begging for alms, wearing sackcloth, and living without any possessions, completely dependent for their food on what was given to them. But the emphasis of their lives was, and still is, contemplation.

Many young noble women left all they had to take on the poor habit of Clare and the order grew rapidly, with houses being founded all over Italy, all of whom took St. Clare as their model and inspiration.

Clare’s reputation for holiness was such that the Pope himself came to her deathbed in 1253 to give her absolution, and wanted to canonize her immediately on her death, but was advised by his cardinals to wait.

Claire died in absolute tranquility, saying to one of the brothers at her side “Dear brother, ever since through His servant Francis I have known the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, I have never in my whole life found any pain or sickness that could trouble me.”

She was canonized in 1255, two years after her death.

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/saint/st-clare-of-assisi-564

10th August – Feast of St Laurence, Deacon & Martyr.

Below is commentary from the Bishops’ website on today’s Mass readings and today’s Saint Laurence, a deacon martyr of the early Church in 258AD. He was burned to death on a grid-iron.

Gospel Reflection        10th August,         Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr            John 12:24-26

Jesus often used the image of the sowing of seed to speak about God’s relationship with us and our relationship with God. Several parables come to mind in that regard, such as the parable of the sower going out to sow, the parable of the mustard seed, the parable of the seed growing secretly, the parable of the wheat and the weeds. In today’s gospel reading, Jesus again speaks of the sowing of seed, declaring that ‘unless a wheat grain falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest’. The seed that is sown has to die to being a seed if it is to grow to its potential as a wheat stalk which can be used for the making of bread to feed the hungry. It is often the way with life generally that something has to die for something new to emerge.

In the gospel reading, Jesus is addressing us as his potential followers and servants, and he is declaring that we need to die to ourselves if we are to become fully alive with the life of God. We have to die to ourselves in the sense of dying to our self-centred selves, that tendency in us to live for ourselves alone. If we live our life in that self-centred, self-regarding, way, Jesus says that we will lose our life; we won’t be alive with the life of the Spirit. In the first reading, Paul echoes what Jesus says, declaring that if we give generously and cheerfully, if we reach beyond ourselves, then we will open ourselves up to God’s blessing, ‘there is no limit to the blessings God can send you’. The deacon, Lawrence, whose feast we celebrate today, exemplifies that truth in a striking way. He gave his life generously for the Lord, and, in doing so, yielded a rich harvest, not just for himself but for the whole church. In less dramatic ways, we are all called to die to ourselves so as to live for God and for others. In doing so, we not only find life for ourselves but also bring life to others.

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The Gospel reflection is available with our thanks from Reflections on the Weekday ReadingsYou have the Words of Eternal life by Martin Hogan and published by Messenger Publications  c/f www.messenger.ie/bookshop/

FIRST READING

A reading from the second letter of St Paul to the Corinthians      9.6-10
Theme: God loves a cheerful giver.

Thin sowing means thin reaping; the more you sow, the more you reap. Each one should give what he has decided in his own mind, not grudgingly or because he is made to, for God loves a cheerful giver. And there is no limit to the blessings which God can send you – he will make sure that you will always have all you need for yourselves in every possible circumstance, and still have something to spare for all sorts of good works. As scripture says: He was free in almsgiving, and gave to the poor: his good deeds will never be forgotten.

The one who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide you with all the seed you want and make the harvest of your good deeds a larger one.

The Word of the Lord.            Thanks be to God

Responsorial Psalm         Ps 111
Response                             Happy the man who takes pity and lends.

  1. Happy the man who fears the Lord,
    who takes delight in his commands.
    His sons will be powerful on earth;
    the children of the upright are blessed.    Response
  2. The good man takes pity and lends,
    he conducts his affairs with honour.
    The just man will never waver:
    he will be remembered for ever.                Response
  3. He has no fear of evil news;
    with a firm heart he trusts in the Lord.
    With a steadfast heart he will not fear;
    he will see the downfall of his foes.          Response
  4. Open-handed, he gives to the poor;
    his justice stands firm for ever.
    His head will be raised in glory.               Response

Gospel  Acclamation         Jn 8: 12
Alleluia, alleluia!
Anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark, says the Lord,
he will have the light of life .
Alleluia!

GOSPEL

The Lord be with you.                                And with your spirit
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John         12:24-26
Theme: If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.

Jesus said to his disciples:
I tell you, most solemnly,
unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies,
it remains only a single grain;
but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.
Anyone who loves his life loses it;
anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for the eternal life.
If a man serves me, he must follow me,
wherever I am, my servant will be there too.
If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.’

The Gospel of the Lord.     Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

9th August – St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Virgin & Martyr.

This was my few words this morning.

Today as well as being the 80th anniversary of the martyrdom of St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross is also the 77th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. The first atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima 3 days earlier on the 6th August. The total death toll from the 2 bombings is estimated at  129,000-226,000.

Recently I was watching a YouTube video on the bombing. A major dimension of the video itself and the following commentary block was the arguments for and against the bombing. A good case was made to justify the bombing: namely, it brought a quick end to the war; alternatively the Japanese army would have fought to the last soldier defending their homeland.

The discussion about the pros and cons of the bombing had one notable omission with regard to perspectives: What would Jesus have to say about it. I remember in the seminary going through the same list of arguments about the bombing without any reference to Jesus and the New Testament.

So, what would Jesus have to say about the legitimacy of the atomic bombing of Japan? Any person of age 8 and upwards would instinctively know that this atomic bombing would be totally abhorrent to Jesus. To even suggest that Jesus would approve of it would be blasphemous.

On Good Friday Jesus died praying for his enemies: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) In the gospel we just heard this morning Jesus embraced a little child and said that unless we change and become child-like, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. He went on to speak of the good shepherd who leaves the 99 on the hillside to go in search of the stray.

And we need to remember who Jesus is. He is not just a wise and holy man or a prophet – like what we might see and admire in the likes of Martin Luther-King or Gandhi. Jesus is GOD! He is the second person of the Blessed Trinity who speaks with divine authority and who is the supreme revealer of divine truth.

Another point worth noting about the bombing of Nagasaki is that the Catholic Cathedral was within the central blast zone. It was 11am local time and there could very well have been Mass going on at the time of the mushroom-cloud explosion. Below is a Wikipedia photo of the cathedral ruins afterwards.

I would like to end on a point for personal reflection: Does my understanding of right / wrong come from Jesus or someplace else?

8th August – St Dominic.

I celebrated the 9am Mass this morning. It is good to be back to a normal routine.

This was my few words about St Dominic.

St John Paul often spoke of ‘The School of the Saints’. For us to be saints and grown in holiness we can study their lives like the education of regular school prepared us for ordinary adult life. It says of St Dominic in today’s Office of Readings: “He seldom spoke unless it was with God, that is, in prayer, or about God, and in this matter he instructed his brothers.” There is great fascination in our world about exorcisms, deliverance, possession by the devil, etc. What should be of greater interest to us is the saints like St Dominic who were possessed by God, for whom Jesus and the Gospel was everything.

Further on we read “Frequently he made a special personal petition that God would grant him a genuine charity for the salvation of men.” Concern for the salvation of souls should also be a primary concern of our lives, praying for the conversion of the lapsed and helping with the quality of our own Christian witness.

7th August – 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C).

This morning I tested a second time for Covid-19 and thankfully was negative. It will be “back to business” tomorrow.

EXTRA FOR LATER? I and many others continue to be concerned about the so called ‘Hot Button’ topics that have arisen during the ongoing worldwide Church Synod. These topics such as women priests and an acceptance of the LGBT agenda – most especially gay marriage – would fundamentally change our 2000 year old Catholic faith. Those participating in the Synod make up some 1-2% of Church membership and some are obviously influenced by the spirit of our modern age. The page 1 article on this week’s Irish Catholic features a reaction by more than 500 young people who say they do not agree with this re-invention of Catholicism and who support the Catholic faith as it is. One young man tellingly says: “The duty of the Church is not to change with the world, it is to change the world.” A recent article by David Quinn elaborates on this important issue www.tiny.cc/SYNODDQ.


I didn’t have to prepare a homily for this weekend either. Here is the homily of Fr Sylvester O’Flynn which looks at the gift of faith we have received. Beyond this excerpt of his homily (below), one can read the full article at www.tiny.cc/FSOFFAITH.

In the full version of his homily he looks especially at the darkness that can afflict our faith journey, what spiritual writers call ‘The dark night of the soul’. This was a particular aspect of St Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s faith. He also speaks about the ‘Cloud of unknowing’ (itself the title of a spiritual classic) and that there is so much about God that we can never understand but must accept and surrender to.

“Character, like a photograph, is developed in darkness.” So said Yousuf Karsh, the great portrait photographer, who had extraordinary ability in balancing light and darkness to portray not only the outer visage but also the inner character of his subject.

All three readings on this Sunday touch on the theme of faith persevering through the dark nights. The Book of Wisdom (18:6-9) recalls the night when the Hebrew people prepared for their escape from slavery in Egypt and the long journey to become a free people in a land of their own. They were led by a cloud by day and a flame by night. The human eye could not take the full light of God’s glory so – mercifully – it was shaded by a cloud…later called the Cloud of Unknowing. Then in the full darkness of night there was always a flame to lead them. Faith brings light on the meaning of life, what to believe in, and a code of morality. Yet there are mysteries to be lived with and questions we cannot answer…the darkness of faith.

In our second reading (Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19), the life of Abraham is the model of the journey of faith. On the strength of God’s word, he left the security of home for the promise of many descendants. He experienced seven blessings (light) and ten times of testing (darkness). He and Sara had no children, let alone the many descendants they were promised. Then Sara, long past the normal age, carried a child. They called him Isaac, a name meaning the smile of God. Some years later, Abraham was asked to sacrifice this boy who was the smile of God in his life. When the boy asked where was the lamb for sacrifice, Abraham answered, “God will provide”. His belief in God’s promise never wavered in any time of testing.

Today’s Gospel (Luke 12: 32-48) begins with the promise of Jesus. “There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom”. But just like the journey of Abraham, the possession and enjoyment of this kingdom will be in the future. The disciples were told to seek this kingdom as a great treasure, being dressed for action, with their lamps lit.

St Paul had a great insight into the growth of faith. “When I was a child I thought and reasoned like a child, but when I grew up, I gave up childish ways. Now we see dimly, as in a mirror, but then we shall see face to face” (I Cor. 13:12). Mirrors in his day were made of metal and provided a very poor image. Faith is the preparation for the full knowledge of God, called the beatific vision.

As in the stages of human growth, faith develops through the stages of childhood, adolescence and maturity. These stages of spiritual growth do not necessarily correspond to a person’s age.

Childlike faith is uncomplicated. It is very clear and totally certain. It is simple and sure, accepting what is handed down without question.

Adolescent faith (which may be at any age) is quite unclear and very uncertain. There are many doubts and questions. It is obscure and uncertain.

Mature faith can cope with obscurity (darkness) while remaining certain. There may be many questions but this house is built on the solid rock of God’s promise, like the staunch faith of Abraham.

6th August – Feast of the Transfiguration.

This is today’s gospel and commentary from the Irish Bishops’ website.

GOSPEL            

The Lord be with you.                   And with your spirit
A reading from the Gospel according to Luke         9:28-36       Glory to you, O Lord
Theme: As he prayed the aspect of his face was changed.            

Jesus took with him Peter and John and James and went up the mountain to pray. As he prayed, the aspect of his face was changed and his clothing became brilliant as lightning.J Transfiguration Suddenly there were two men there talking to him; they were Moses and Elijah appearing in glory, and they were speaking of his passing which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were heavy with sleep, but they kept awake and saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As these were leaving him,
Peter said to Jesus,
Master, it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’
He did not know what he was saying. As he spoke, a cloud came and covered them with shadow; and when they went into the cloud the disciples were afraid. And a voice came from the cloud saying,
‘This is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him.
And after the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.
The disciples kept silence and, at that time, told no one what they had seen.

Gospel of the Lord              Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

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Gospel Reflection        6th Aug.      The Transfiguration of the Lord             Mark 9:2–10

There was both a heavenly and an earthly dimension to Jesus. He was both Son of God and Son of Man, Son of Humanity. In today’s gospel reading, Peter and the other disciples had an experience of the heavenly dimension of Jesus while on a mountain in Galilee. The world of heaven shone through him in a very striking way, and, as a result, his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as light. The disciples had a brush with heaven. They soon had to come down the mountain and would have to set out with Jesus on the road to Jerusalem, where he would be crucified and his face would look very different, broken and pained. On the cross, on the hill of Calvary, he was truly Son of Man, sharing our human brokenness and vulnerability.

Yet Jesus was just as much Son of God on the hill of Calvary as he was on the hill of the transfiguration, as the Roman centurion recognised. Peter and the other disciples experienced Jesus as Emmanuel, God with us, on the mount of transfiguration. Yet Jesus was just as much God with us on the hill of Calvary. Jesus is God with us both in those really happy moments of our lives when we easily say ,‘It is wonderful for us to be here’, and in those troubled moments of our lives when we might find ourselves praying, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ The Lord is always with us in all his heavenly and risen glory. In every situation of our lives, the bright and dark ones, God the Father is saying to us, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved … Listen to him.’

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The Gospel Reflection is available with our thanks from Reflections on the Weekday Readings 2021-2022My Words Will Not Pass Away by Martin Hogan and published by Messenger Publications  c/f www.messenger.ie/bookstore

5th August.

I tested NEGATIVE for Covid19 this morning, praise the Lord! I will stay in quarantine until Sunday and test again tomorrow evening for an extra measure of security.

In my room there is a religious calendar and the image for August is a painting I haven’t encountered before. It is entitled What Our Lord Saw from the Cross and is a c. 1890 watercolour painting by the French painter James Tissot.  The work is unusual for its portrayal of the Crucifixion of Jesus from the perspective of Jesus on the cross, rather than featuring him at the centre of the work.  The scene shows witnesses, including Jesus’ followers (the women and the disciple whom Jesus loved), participants in the Crucifixion, and bystanders; of Jesus’ own body only the feet can be seen, at the bottom of the picture. (I believe that the white surface in the painting is white marble rock rather than snow.)

This is a wonderful image to help our meditation on the 5th Sorrow Mystery of the Rosary, the Crucifixion. Looking out through Jesus’ eyes (while discounting his great suffering) reflect on the various people in the painting. If possible zoom-in and enlarge the people who look at. You could put yourself in the scene and imagine how you would look, where you would be positioned, etc. Try to give is a prayerful few minutes.

If you would like to add reflective background music to your meditation, play the following video. It is a traditional Irish piece called “The Lament of the Three Marys”: https://youtu.be/a-baeHKuo6M