Blessed Virgin Mary Church
Our Lady of Light: Help of the Addicted
Brother Michael (Mickey) O'Neill McGrath, OSFS
Painted, blessed, and dedicated the new parish shrine on Sunday, October 20, 2013
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, stands as a towering figure of light in the darkness.
She is a timeless reminder of God's abiding love for each of us,
no matter who we are, what we do, or how many times we stumble on our journey.
Her hair is streaked with gray to signify the wisdom that comes with age and experience.
The painting is filled with age-old symbols and some newer, more personal ones as well.
Mary is dressed in blue, a traditional color of the inner peace and serenity which she inspires in us.
Surrounding her head are twelve stars, another very traditional symbol of Mary in art,
but here they also serve as a reminder of the twelve steps of recovery...the main source of spiritual,
emotional, and physical healing for people seeking sobriety and health.
Mary holds a broken cocktail glass in her hands to remind us that our most life-changing lessons
come from our deepest pains and trials. As St. Paul said, "When I am weak, then I am strong."
Three Flowers are growing from the soil in the glass, each with a symbolic purpose:
the lotus is an ancient symbol of enlightenment and beauty;
the gold rose reminds us of the glorious mysteries of the rosary, the ones about new light and eternal life;
the lily stands for the hope of Easter and its promise of starting over again each and every day.
The words come from the opening lines of a beautiful ancient prayer entitled Loving Mother of the Redeemer.
They speak to people in every age who struggle to know God's love for them,
and who wish to show their love for God in return.
"Loving Mother of the Redeemer
Gate of Heaven, Star of the Sea,
Assist your people who have fallen, yet strive to rise again."
Mary, Our Lady of Light
is the perfect soul friend for you or a loved one if:
you stumble in the darkness, unsteady on your feet and unsure of your destination;
you feel burdened by painful memories or unfulfilled dreams;
you are stressed and anxious about the uncertain future;
you are weary of counteracting loneliness with temporary fixes and false remedies;
you feel controlled by dark impulses; your family is suffering or work is bringing you grief;
you just want to know, more than anything else, the love of God is in your heart.