July is a special month here at Graymoor because on July 9th we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Atonement, which is our title for our Blessed Mother. This feast day is ours. It began at Graymoor, in the heart of New York state. So, we can truly say that Our Lady of the Atonement is an American Madonna.
As great as this feast is for us, I would like to write about the mail I receive every day from all around the world. These days, most of it is sad and heartbroken: failed relationships, loss of job, serious illness. The list goes on and on. I can tell you that God does hear your prayers, and we friars bring your prayer requests to the altar. But sometimes I just wish I could do more.
When I read your letters, I am reminded of the gospel of the woman who reached out to touch Jesus (Mark 5: 21-43). It was a touch of faith by a desperate woman. Jesus stops to question, who touched me? The woman comes forward; she is fearful and starting to tremble. She needed reassuring and kind words. Jesus tells her, “It is your faith that has cured you. Go in peace and be free from this illness.”
Whenever I read this gospel, I think of the Broadway show “Cats” and the song “Memory.” The words of that song could have been spoken by Jesus to this woman. And in times of trials and tribulations, He says them to us: “If you touch me, you’ll understand what happiness is. Look, a new day has begun.”
Perhaps in times of suffering and distress, we need to recall the last sentence of the Bible: “Come Lord Jesus” and invite Him to reach out and touch us.