Just last week a local news station featured a story about a statue of the Blessed Mother that appeared to weep. I had some familiarity with the location, and I was especially intrigued to hear one account suggest that the weeping began after a rosary belonging to one of our authors, Fr. Jim Willig, was placed in the statue’s hands.
I confess to loving all that is particular about the Catholic Church. I love the theology, the hierarchy, the architecture, but also the relics, the incorrupt saints, and, yes, weeping statues. Even though I work for a Catholic organization, I’m somewhat in the minority on this. While some of my more skeptical coworkers expressed doubt (one even suggested that someone must have a leaky roof), I was only too willing to believe.
Before you imagine me gullible, let me ask this: If you had not been raised in the Christian faith, if you were hearing the story of Jesus for the first time, would you believe it? Could you sit in traffic at the end of a long day and imagine the eternal God having any interest in our tiny human lives? Could you imagine God caring about us individually? Could you imagine God loving us? Becoming one of us? Dying for us?
I can think of about thirty different ways to make a statue weep, but I can’t think of a single rational explanation for Christianity. So, am I too easily duped? Or can I convince anyone that pretty much everything about our lives is an incomparable miracle for which the only reasonable response is gratitude?
I’d love to know what you think about what some call the “creepy, crawly underside” of Catholicism. Enhancement to the faith? Distraction? Embarrassment?
And, whether you’re a true believer or would just like to hedge your bets, check out Lessons From the School of Suffering by Fr. Jim. I don’t know if the story of what he learned while dying of renal cell cancer made Mary cry, but it sure did a number on me.
Photo of Our Lady, Queen of Reading taken by Katie Carroll