As we approach the Fifth Sunday of the Great Fast, the Church gives us the life of St. Mary of Egypt to consider, for like her, a pilgrim to Jerusalem on the door step of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, we find ourselves on the threshold of Holy Week and the Cross of our Lord.
In many respects the life of this broken girl from Alexandria Egypt resonates loudly in our day and age where actions habits and lifestyles result in catastrophic circumstances where there seems to be no way out.
The recent suicides of 17 year old Rehtaeh Parsons, and Amanda Todd, tragically highlight this. Both girls, and countless others, having being caught up in a world that doesn’t care about “it”, can’t heal “it”, won’t forgive “it”, and can’t stop “it”, feel the only thing they can do is just end “it”. Sadly this is the new norm, whether it manifests itself physically or spiritually.
The truth is the world, our culture, our society really can’t care, heal, forgive, and stop “it” (whatever “it” might be), and its pain, abuse, suffering, and violence. The best the world can provide is coping mechanisms and distractions, and even excuses, but it can’t and won’t give the one thing needed. Love.
Love, real love, can’t make things “unhappen”, and it certainlly can’t stop us from being hurt, or bring back the Rehtaeh and Amanada’s of the world. But love can turn even the deepest wound (and even deaths) into miracles. St. Mary’s life bears witness to this. That despite her brokeness, pain, and desperation, (one could say through it all) she found peace in the love of the Lord. Her memory is kept not because she was perfect, but she knew she was broken and “needed someone”.
Our blessed St. Mary had every reason to never be forgiven and healed of “it” given the life she lead, the people who hurt her, and the people she hurt. Lord knows St Mary could have been consumed by despair.
But do any of us? Are we any better, or do we pretend “it” doesn’t matter, by ignoring the lives of Rehtach and Amanda, by numbing ourselves to the hardness of life that is outside our doors (and some times inside our homes). Do we seek answers, healing, forgiveness and care from a world ill equipped (and hesitant) to help us where there is “nobody”?
Or do we follow the path of St Mary, who’s repentance was only surpassed by the profound mercy of God. Christ offers us all that the world can’t. A love that accepts, and cares, that wipes away every last tear (Rev. 21:4).
Oh blessed Mother Mary of Egypt. Intercede for the souls of Rehtach and Amanda, and all those who suffer with them, and for all of us, at the merciful throne of the Lord, that they, may share His saving peace and love with you.