Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Jesus Meets His Mother ~ The Fourth Station

Fillippo Lippi ~ Edge of Mary's Mantle

"Save the best til last," the saying goes. And in the Genesis account woman was the last piece of God's creation. Then we marvel at the courage of the faithful women who followed Jesus from Galilee and his own mother on this day of his dying. 

But what has happened to women? They seem to be losing all sense of their own dignity and worth. Failed women are our nightly entertainment. The hunted woman, the spurned woman, the maniacal woman, the aggressive seductress. Showing everything, women have lost their mystery. Celebrity women in and out of jails and rehabs have their children taken away. Posing media toys set up for manipulation, the weather lady sensualized, women have become cartoons and objects of ridicule and scorn.

But woman is the same creature as Mary, who trembles before the Archangel, who cultivates strength and speaks the word that brings Life into the world, who stands in solidarity with suffering humanity. Indeed, Mary's only degradation is that she is determined to stand by her crucified Son who dies a slave, a criminal outsider.

Mother! Call her with a loud voice. She is listening to you; she sees you in danger, perhaps, and she - your holy mother Mary - offers you, along with the grace of her son, the refuge of her arms, the tenderness of her embrace...and you will find yourself with added strength for the new battle." Benedict XVI


  1. Why do you think this has happened to women? The perception of what is acceptable behavior among the young population is very different from what it was years ago. This is true for both males and females, but most especially females. They do not see themselves as degraded and this is what I find to be most distressful.

  2. Why do I think this has happened to women? Well, I"m a priest so I'll have insights or observations made through a priest's lenses, if you will. I'm 63 years old, and I believe that many parents of my generation and those behind me have simply failed in their parenting. We stopped teaching virtue a long time ago. Virtue is the practice of goodness. I've seen a lot in my 34 years as a priest and my 16 years in working with young people who are in trouble and their families. A few years ago I went to a parish other than my own to do a Friday evening wedding. As is custom the groom and bestman settled into the sacristy to await the arrival of the bride, to have a few pictures taken and for the priest to give a last minute review of what's to happen. It's also the time for the priest to meet the readers and anyone else who's got a part in the liturgy. At one point I asked the groom who was going to do the readings. He answered, "My 15 year old niece. Oh, here she is now." The girl was entering the sacristy having walked across the church sanctuary and as I came around the vestment closet which blocked my vision of the door through which the girl was entering I jumped back and let out an audible gasp. The 15 year old niece had on a silvery party dress that barely covered her bottom and was so low cut that the girl had to continually hoist the dress up to avoid her falling out of it. Her hair and cosmetics were overdone, resembling a sultry actress. She wore high heels that made it difficult for her to walk. Yes, I noticed everything and I felt a great sadness for her and an immediate anger for her mother who likely picked out the dress and her father who likely paid for it. I can't imagine allowing my 15 year old girl to go to a wedding where men will be drinking and ogling her. I've been told that it's impossible to buy a modest dress for a teen-aged girl. To me that means we're a bunch of sellouts, or have surrendered our authority as parent-guides and teachers to a host of other influences. But this is just one example. The example isn't the case, it's just an example but indicative of what's happening.

  3. After thought: I used to invite teenaged girls to read Alice von Hildebrand's The Privilege of Being a Woman. Girls devoured it. Many long to be taught. I sat at a school banquet once next to a girl who was handling her fork and knife like a viking. I gently and secretly gave her instruction on the correct use of her silverware while we ate. All her girl friends leaned in to learn. No one taught ever taught them.

  4. Father Stephen
    I'm glad you have the voice to make all of us aware of how we are failing our daughters (and sons) as parents. Today's generation is also missing a key virtue that is RESPECT. The media makes it even more difficult by not endorsing the common morals that were continually instilled by our parents. Today's parents need to heed because someday our children will be parents.
    May Mother Mary bless us.

  5. Thank you for your response to my question. Your stories are on point with what is happening to our children today. It is a moral breakdown in society that is found in all walks of life and it is no better for our boys than our girls. The girls are just more obvious because of the styles that are sold in the stores that make young teens leave little to the imagination. I take comfort in the fact that the friends my teenage daughters have share a more modest approach and carry themselves with self respect. My hope is that they will find strength in each other and not give in to what is deemed mainstream by most.