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Looking Past this Vale of Tears

September 20, 2016 by  
Filed under Book Club, Vicki Burbach

Book Club INTERNAL FEATURE IMAGE (internal to post) 600x214 - for post on the vale of tears

Life of Christ (Week 24 of 27)

As the physical Body of Christ had external wounds, bruises, and scars, and yet the inner structure was left untouched, so there seemed to be a foretelling that though His Mystical Body, the Church, would have its moral wounds and scars of scandals and disloyalties, nevertheless, not a bone of its body would ever be broken. — (Life of Christ, Chapter 52, Paragraph 5)

As the Mystical Body of Christ, we have fallen, tethered to the plummet of our first father, and we have not recovered. As a result of that fall, we live in a state of deep division. We suffer from division in the world. We suffer from division within our country. We suffer from division in our communities, within our families, and in the deepest recesses of our own souls.

We are wounded.

And there is no earthly place we can go to escape the pain.

Through our human condition, we can sometimes find ourselves feeling raw and desperate, virtually impossible to mollify. Perhaps this is why Christians have been praying the Hail Holy Queen for nearly 1,000 years: :

Hail Holy Queen
Mother of Mercy,
Our life, our Sweetness and our Hope.
To you do we cry,
Poor banished children of Eve.
To you do we send up our sighs,
Mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.

And yet, as we go through life experiencing the challenges and difficulties inherent in a fallen world, we still have cause for great joy! We have something which can carry us to the end. We have something that can help us withstand the greatest of sorrow, the most of acute of pain.

We have hope.

Turn, then, most gracious advocate,
Thine eyes of mercy toward us.
And after this, our exile,
Show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb,

We have Jesus.

Through Him, we can overcome.

I think there is no passage in this book from which I take more solace than the one above. For just as

At the Deluge Noah made a door in the side of the ark, by which the animals entered, that they might escape the flood; now a new door is opened into the heart of God into which men might escape the flood of sin.  p. 579

We, as individuals seeking asylum in His Sacred Heart, must avail ourselves of His mercy. We cannot spend our lives on this earth thinking about what we could have or should have done in this or that instance. We must know that in Him, we can be whole. For by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).

Whatever happens, however far we fall from His plan, however far those in the Church stray from His story, however much scandal and sin affect His bride, we must know, beyond a doubt, that the gates of hell shall not prevail (Matthew 16:18).

Let us reflect on a crucifix today from the perspective offered above.  Spend time contemplating the wounds of Christ, the cuts, the bruises, the anguish, all offered willingly and lovingly for our salvation. While reflecting on His passionate sacrifice, let us recognize that, while His body was shattered, His core remained pristine. So too, as we face the world, we can know that, despite all the damage we suffer in life – the injuries, the betrayals, the scandals, the pain, the suffering, the loneliness – at our core, by virtue of our baptism, we belong to Him. And in Him, we, too, are pristine.

Regardless of the challenges we endure today,

we have hope.

We have joy.

We have Jesus.

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Reading Assignment:

Chapters 53-54

Discussion Questions:

1. What do Fulton Sheen's words in the featured quote mean to you? Consider praying the rosary today in light of the Sheen's words regarding the Body of Christ. Pay particular attention to the Hail Holy Queen.

2. Feel free to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!


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About Vicki Burbach

Vicki Burbach is a wife and homeschooling mother of six children ages four to sixteen years who relishes the calm inspiration of spiritual reading amidst the roller coaster of life. A passionate convert to the Faith, Vicki is an avid reader who started the book club so she could embark with like-minded bibliophiles on a spiritual journey through some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. She is author of the new book How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between. You can also find her at

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  • Patricia

    Today’s post makes a very important point and one that must be kept in mind, especially with the happenings in today’s world and those in the days to come: “So too, as we face the world, we can know that, despite all the damage we suffer in life – the injuries, the betrayals, the scandals, the pain, the suffering, the loneliness – at our core, by virtue of our baptism, we belong to Him. And in Him, we, too, are pristine.”

    Simple Definition of pristine
    : in perfect condition : completely clean, fresh
    : not changed by people : left in its natural state today’s ?

    “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

    • Vicki

      Thanks for the lesson – It’s great to break open the discussion that way. And it is amazing to actually contemplate His eternal perfection.

  • Kris S.

    When I was a kid I thought Bishop Sheen was God (he was on TV) and although this was not the case, his words remind us that the Holy Spirit is with us and we are united with Jesus no matter what circumstance: I have overcome the world!

    • Vicki

      Funny. I am sad to say I never saw Bishop Sheen on television. I’m sure it was quite the experience. I’ve had the privilege of listening to his tapes and reading his books, and I have watched a few videos here and there; I can see why a young person would make that mistake:)! God bless!

  • marybernadette

    ‘I belong to a prayer group and at ‘reflection time’ the Lord has been saying to me often ‘Surely, He has borne our grieves and carried our sorrows.’ I He knows I have had a difficult time forgiving others because of past hurts but I have been asking him to help me forgive. Yes, to meditate on the ‘Passion of the Lord’ often is what the Saints advised and through this, they grew in their ‘burning love for God.’ Let us always have recourse to the Saints to help us in our journey, especially Mother Mary, she will make sure we reach our ‘Destiny.’ Recently, I read something re: the life of St. Gemma Galgani,were she was pleading for Our Lord to spare one particularly hardened sinner. Our Lord told her, to the effect that, he was lost and she could not prevent it. She was very upset then told Him about His Mother Mary’s intercession, soon after the man repented and was saved.’

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