Homily delivered on Sept. 2 at the ICCC
by Heart’s Home founder Fr. Thierry de Roucy
on the occasion of the Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Compassion
“For the twentieth anniversary of the founding of Heart’s Home – it was two years ago – we decided to build, in thanksgiving, a little shrine on the top of our International Center for a Culture of Compassion housing a “Pietà”, that is to say, a statue of the dead Christ returned to his Mother. This shrine was not built without difﬁculty: many friends spent many hours digging the foundations in the rock, designing it, building it, sculpting the statue and cleaning the surroundings.
This means that this house of prayer can not be abandoned. We put into it too much time, too much heart, too much strength. This can only be a living house, a clean house, a house with flowers, a house where people like to spend time because, in fact, it is an inhabited house. Always inhabited. The house where we are expected. Always expected. I would say even more: this shrine is the hidden treasure of our property. We think we are going to the ICCC to see some beautiful trees, a nice pound on which we can row a small boat, to ski and skate during the winter, to ﬁnd silence or to eat good tarts. Yet in fact, we come here for a meeting, we come here to rise towards God, we come here to drop the weight of our lives, we come here to learn how to lighten the burden of others, we come here to offer our thanksgiving .
To explore this shrine, we must go up... It is at the end of a path of prayer, of a wait... We arrive at the shrine tired. We can stop here for a long time and look: looking at the face of the mother, so full of tenderness, understanding the meaning of her Son’s death - a death full of love – a death of mercy. On top of the hill, nobody is judged. All are loved. With a love that encourages us to live and to go to the end of our own trials.
We could be afraid facing this statue. It seems that it represents extreme suffering: the Son humiliated, covered in blood, dead, has just been handed over to his mother. As at the beginning, when he was the Baby in the crib, Mary holds Him in her arms, she holds back his head which is falling, she offers Him to the Father as the extreme Sacriﬁce of the evening. “All is fulfilled.” The Child has never been so fragile, vulnerable, poor. He was so thirsty while dying that the soldier gave him to drink. But he is dead and yet still thirsty.
This statue speaks of God. A God that gives his Son so that men might have life. A God that goes till the end of the sacrifice. A God that can not scare men.
It speaks of the Virgin Mary. Since her ﬁrst yes, which already contains all the others, she has not ceased to be next to Christ. Because He is a true man, He needs a true Mother, beloved of the Father, immaculate, faithful. He needs to be able to look at her, to know that she is present, as she needs to look at Him, to know that He is present.
But she also speaks of us who are members of His Son, who need to be helped, watched and forgiven. God wanted to spare us the pain of being orphaned. He wanted everyone to have a Mother: all Christians, and also all men and women. In times of special tests, each time we are on the cross, she is present. We just need to take a moment to recognize her. We just need to tell her our love, to ask for help.
That is why we are here this morning. Not to forget that in this torrent of tears, the smile of Mary is our comfort. It crushes all despair, it cautions us against all paths that lead nowhere, it prevents us from wasting time on trivia. The Son she holds in her arms is not dead, He is risen from the dead. And all those who are willing to be held in her arms while being brought down from the cross will not die without following the Son in the Resurrection.
This Pieta, this is the statue of Golgotha, but even more, it is the statue of Easter. This is the statue of our entire life. The obedience of the Son, the hope of a Mother, the power of the Spirit have accomplished this miracle of the regeneration of mankind. Under the tired eyes of every man, under his heart damaged, as under the ice of winter, are the seeds of a new life, ready to spring that are the reason for our rejoicing today. Amen!”