by Howard Hain
A run-of-the-mill bakery.
A hand truck full of eggs.
A handful of women from Latin America.
Neither load is fragile.
A woman’s strength may appear as a delicate shell, and if poorly handled she too may break.
But strength is not a matter of not breaking.
It’s a matter of showing up, chipped, broken, sometimes even shattered.
It’s a matter of overcoming.
Of letting go.
One buttered roll at a time.
Preparing the day “café con leche” by “café con leche”.
The eggs slowly disappear.
The ladies change names.
Mary, the Mother of God, remains.
“Holy Mother, pierce me through, in my heart each wound renew, of my Savior crucified.”
It’s a matter of believing. Of dreaming. Of seeing what can’t be seen. Of loving who can’t be loved.
It’s a matter of hope that never ends, of hope that sustains the very faith from which it came.
It’s a matter of saying “yes” to each and every hour—for someone must be present to serve God’s promise of daily bread.
She who stands closest to the foot of the cross most resembles the man being crucified. She must embody Compassion. She still hears His breath, expanding and contracting deep within. Suffering is not be feared. Being without the source of all consolation and peace is just too terrifying.
The “fear of the Lord” keeps us within the grasp of Jesus’ hand.
It “is the beginning of wisdom.”
Mary is there to begin.
She remains till the end.
Wisdom begets Wisdom.
And she most often looks like a little unpresuming lady working behind a busy breakfast counter.
She is a lady nonetheless.
She is the mother of all I hope for.
“Pray for us, O holy Mother of God; that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”