OUR LADY OF BROKENNESS
I can’t remember who gave me the gift of the statue pictured above, but it stands on a sideboard close to my bed and near the window overlooking the street. It’s a street lamp throwing light onto the statue in the picture.
Look closely and you will see the statue is chipped in places – the nose and the left hand. It’s what happens to chalk statues when they are dropped or knocked over.
The statue represents Our Lady of the Immaculate Heart, but I prefer to call her Our Lady of Brokenness as, even with all her graces, she wasn’t immune from the trials and knocks in life. Just like the statue.
The picture below shows Our Lady’s ‘smiling’ statue. Over many years millions of pilgrims have trekked up Medjugorje’s Apparition Hill to see and visit the marble statue. On one occasion the statue was vandalised and its nose broken. Sculptors came all the way from Italy to repair the damage, but it never seemed quite the same after that. It still looks fractured.
Most of us try and cover up our brokenness in life, even after healing, but I know in my own situation some of the scars are still visible and if I start to scratch at them then they begin to bleed again.
So I am happy to have this statue of Our Lady close to me in the morning and at night as a reminder of my fragility and weakness which I become more aware of as I age.*
I sometimes see it in others as well, not because I look for it, but because I recognise traits of myself. However, I am consoled by the truth that if I also witness love in others it can only be because love dwells in me also.
I sincerely believe that God is the good in every heart – and that the good can also be recognised in our brokenness, just as clearly as I am able to see each day the shattered statue of Our Lady of Brokenness standing beside my bed. She is also the Mother of Goodness.
* I was encouraged to read recently this comment by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State for the Holy See. He was questioned about his recent spell of ill health and replied, “I’ve made a full recovery, thank God, although I began my new duties from my hospital bed. One must and can serve the Church this way as well. This is a very clear sign that we are putting our fragility and weakness at the service of the Church, trusting in God.”