Dear Friends in Christ,
There are certain moments in life when the distance between earth and heaven kind of disappears, and we know–like Moses standing before the burning bush–that we are on holy ground. We can feel the weight of glory pressing up against us. These moments awaken within us a peaceful and joyous realization that heaven is not some distant, far off place, but rather is imminently close. It is, as of yet, still hidden from our eyes, but here in the valley of tears, “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7). As this faith in us increases, we can say with St. Paul, “We are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8).
This past week, on August 22nd, the Church celebrated the feast of the Queenship of Mary. On that day, we celebrate the crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth. Mary always stands as a ready reminder that heaven and earth are close, for she is the Queen of both. She who reigns gloriously in heaven, also attends to us here on earth as a tender Mother. She holds us by the hand, and she helps us to be courageous and to continue walking in Faith toward our true homeland.
When our pastor, Fr. Mario, wrote to you some months ago, he asked that you become devoted to the Most Holy Rosary. I have been touched by how you have responded to that invitation. I have heard from several people telling me that they never prayed the Rosary before until he made that request. What a beautiful tribute to his priestly fatherhood and to his filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin!
As someone who is completely new to this parish, I can tell you that the fruits of those prayers are entirely evident to me. This great devotion to the Blessed Virgin–Queen both of Heaven and Earth–is showing us how close heaven is to us. It is consoling us, strengthening our faith, and making us courageous. These prayers undoubtedly are assisting Fr. Mario in his great time of trial, but they are accomplishing things that we will only fully understand when the veil of this life is lifted and we see clearly in the full light of heavenly glory.
Until then, let us walk by faith. Let us be courageous. And let us turn our eyes to the Queen of Heaven and Earth, our Mother, and ask her, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners . . . now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
Your Brother in Christ,
Fr. David Barnes