There are times, Mary, when the world is dark and harsh and uninviting. But this is not news to you. You know all too well the language of anguish your gay and lesbian children speak when crying out against the hatred, fear, and religious discrimination leveled against us, for you have drunk deeply from such wells.
An unwed virgin mother, a sexual outcast threatened with death by stoning, had God not intervened. An exile from family and friends, religion and homeland, you knew the joy of self-discovery, its accompanying fear, and the mystery and dread of the unknown.
Mother, you have also tasted the pain of loss and death. Powerless, you stood before your crucified child as he hung beaten, bloody, naked and derided by the spiritually blind and deaf, rejoicing as you wept. You gently cradled his lifeless body, becoming intimately and forever united with all who suffer because of who they are, not what they have done, and those whose actions threaten the complacent and fearful.
Loving Mother of the Oppressed, our Mother, our Mary, your gay and lesbian children turn to you in trust for your help, protection and support. Be mindful of us. Incline your maternal ear to our cries, cries that have grown all too familiar to you. Open your arms wide to embrace the exiles, and press us close to your strong, mother’s heart. Wrap us securely and shield us with your mantle, for the wolves of ignorance are prowling still, the winds of rejection continue to blow cuttingly cold, and the encroaching darkness blinds us to ourselves.
Look upon us, your abused, wounded and rejected children with motherly affection. Help us to love ourselves, to appreciate our sexuality, with its desires and passions and attractions as a great gift bestowed by our God, who is passionately in love with each of us. Help us never to accept the second-class status many wish to burden us with. As you supported Jesus when he learned to walk, grasp us securely by the hand and raise us up. Help us to stand tall and proud as friends and lovers of Jesus Christ and your precious children, so that we may give glory to God who made us ,with lives of laughter and light, integrity and selfless dedication to all who walk with us and will come after us.
Mary, Mother of Strength and Gentleness, pray for us, now and at the hour of our rebirth.
Tom Yeshua is the pen name of Thomas E.L. Cloutier OFS, a transitional deacon who taught theology for 30 years at Nashua (N.H.) Catholic Regional Junior High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Don Bosco College in Newton, N.J., and a master’s in divinity and theology from St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Mass.