I was in college and volunteering as a youth minister when I was introduced to the Salve Regina (“Hail Holy Queen”) prayer. Standing in that church basement making photocopies one hot summer day, my eyes fell on the prayer shoved between a few holy cards on a bookshelf. I remember being captivated by its beautiful imagery and confidence in Our Lady to intercede for us.
But, as I stood at that photocopier, I was confused:
“To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears,” I read.
“What valley of tears?” I thought. Okay, sure . . . I had my ups and downs as a young adult. Truthfully, though, a whole lot was going great: I had a family who loved me. The tender beginnings of a deeply rooted faith. An education and the promise of provision. Life was pretty sweet at the tender age of nineteen. At the very least, most definitely not a valley of tears.
Since then I’ve come to know a few hard things: Dishonesty and betrayal. Death and disappointment. Deep fears and anxieties. And globally—war, sickness, economic instability, offenses against human dignity. Even as I write this, I know that some of us are walking through the darkest valleys of tears.
And so, this prayer makes more sense to me now than it ever did.
Jesus reminds us in today’s Gospel, Luke 21:34-36, that He knows our struggles. His fully human heart walked the darkest of valleys, and He walks through ours with us, now. He urges us not to bury our heads in the sand. Not to despair. Not to shut it all out with food or deep dives into Instagram or binge sessions on Netflix.
Let us ask for Mary’s help today to show us the most beautiful fruit of her womb, her Son, Jesus. He gives us everything we need to journey through this valley of tears together.He gives us everything we need. // Karen Schultz Click To Tweet
Thank you for being here.
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