'Seven swords that pierce our Lady's heart' in Myanmar
"Anyone who wishes to be merciful must have a strong and steadfast heart. Indeed, it is not easy to be merciful and compassionate. We may encounter ungrateful poor, proud and demanding needy. We need a strong heart to persevere in mercy and compassion."
By Cardinal Charles Bo
Dear Pilgrims of our Dear Mother from all over Myanmar,
We have come here to seek her merciful maternal assistance. We, as human being, live with limitations and inabilities. It is right to seek assistance from the one who can assist us, who is stronger than we are. Mary is one whom we can trust because she is our loving mother.
Our Mother lives so close to us that she might be able to come to our aid at anytime of need. She is not indifferent to our misery. Throughout the history she intervenes in times of trouble and desolation.
We cannot forget millions of our youth living as unsafe migrants in the nearby countries, we cannot forget the farmers who are losing their lands to companies, we cannot forget the thousands who live in the internally displaced communities.
In this season of Lent we are called to feel for one another. Just like our Mother Mary stood at the cross she stands today at the gates of the IDP [Internally Displaced People] camps, in fellowship with the tears of those of innocent girls human trafficked to nearby countries.
We should not forget millions of children who do not go to school. We should not forget thousands of farmers who lost their lands in the last two years to big companies.
I am so glad and so grateful to the generosity of our people. They donate a lot to the churches. Some parish churches have no more space to put up the statues donated by the parishioners. It is good to donate such things to the church. However, please do not neglect the hungry on your doorstep.
May I urge our parish communities to reach out to all people—regardless of race and creed. Let us go to the peripheries, to the fringes of the society. Let our Christian communities be a haven to the weary and the destitute.
It is easy to say that the Church should be compassionate and the parish communities be more sensitive to the needy. Let us live this compassion in a particular manner. Unless the individual member moves nothing will go ahead
Let us make our hearts firm because we need a firm heart to love and give ourselves to the needy. A compassionate heart does not mean a weak heart. Anyone who wishes to be merciful must have a strong and steadfast heart. Indeed, it is not easy to be merciful and compassionate. We may encounter ungrateful poor, proud and demanding needy. We need a strong heart to persevere in mercy and compassion.
There are seven swords that pierce our Lady’s heart today in Myanmar:
During the ceremony of the consistory, the Holy Father whispered in my ear, “Be strong! Courage! Myanmar is a little flock. Yet, God is with you! Go ahead!”
This text was excerpted from a homily Cardinal Bo, archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar, gave before a crowd of an estimated 100,000 pilgrims, marking the 113th annual celebration Feb. 28, 2015 of Our Lady of Lourdes of Nyaung Lay Bin at the National Marian Center
ACN photo: street scene near Yangon, Myanmar