Invocations from the Litany of Loreto play in my mind as I drive through Indiana and across Illinois:

                                                            Morning Star
                                                            Ark of the Covenant
                                                           Gate of Heaven

These images have captivated me from the time I was young.

                                                           Tower of David
                                                           Tower of ivory
                                                           House of gold

I pass through Missouri with the prayer still on my lips. The plains of Oklahoma smile at my incessant whispering.

The cause of my fixation is contained in a cardboard box in the seat next to me in the cab of my truck. I feel like a modern-day astrologer transporting a gift of gold to honor the King.

But a Texas hamlet, not Bethlehem, is not my destination.

                                                              Mystical rose
                                                              Spiritual vessel
                                                              Singular vessel of devotion

A week ago, I was in Ohio for a family wedding. My brother asked if I knew priest in need of a chalice. His Knights of Columbus council wished to donate a sacred vessel in memory of a brother knight.

I immediately thought of Fr. VJ, a priest from India serving a parish in Eastland County, Texas. In March, wildfires destroyed 90% of the homes in one of his towns. News footage displayed block after block of burned-out cars, twisted tin, charred wood and heaps of ash. Many of his families lost everything and some of their children were burned. A county deputy gave her life saving those who were being evacuated.

“Yes,” exclaimed Fr. VJ when I contacted him. “My parish will be deeply honored by such a gift.”

Many churches and organizations contributed food and clothing in the weeks that followed the fire. Several months have now passed. The gift of this chalice, according to Fr. VJ, will assure his community that they are not forgotten as they continue to rebuild their lives. “Each time it is lifted above our altar,” he continued, “God’s love will pour down.”

Indeed. Eternal love from the God who weeps. Love as moist as the tears of Our Lady. Love poured out like rain. Love to douse the flames of pain.

                                                               Solace of migrants
                                                               Comfort of the afflicted
                                                      Mary, help of Christians, pray for us!

06 / 21 / 2022
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