Heart of hearts

Two weekends ago Steven and I headed down to Brownsville after Sunday Mass and, as agreed, drove straight to Immaculate Conception Cathedral to take photos of my most favorite sacred space since starting first grade at age five across the street.

Recently captured

“It’s funny,” I told Steven as I categorized the photos on the computer desktop last night.  “I thought I’d seen everything in the cathedral but, here, my third eye’s captured bits and pieces that I’d missed over time.  I guess I’ve always been so taken with the Madonna and her Child in the left alcove that I failed to notice St. Francis and St. Teresa of Ávila in the right alcove.  And did you see the windows high up in the alcoves?  They’re beautiful!  I’d never even noticed the lower windows either, and they’re at eye level with the pews.”


Looking and seeing

Over the years the cathedral’s warm embrace has drawn me into its heart of hearts, heightening my awareness and my emotions beyond the senses.  Whether attending Mass or just dropping by for an afternoon visit I’ve been so totally captivated by the scent of times long past that I can’t begin to understand, much less explain this powerful connection.

In this sacred space I’ve occupied three different pews— on the right, in the center, on the left— and have been privileged to see everything for a lifetime, yet I’ve overlooked the obvious.  It’s like intuiting the system and being so wholly engrossed and immersed that maybe I’m there more to feel than to see?

So, how can I possibly describe my thoughts and feelings—soulful expressions that have tugged at my heartstrings— when these abstractions are uniquely mine based on knowledge, experience, and perspective?  And can my photographs even remotely convey sentiments captured by my third eye?

Heart of hearts

Still, thanks to my Coolpix I now have a fresh, concrete perspective of the cathedral on a grander scale.  My scope is no longer limited to just my recollections and the left alcove.  Because I’m able to pour over photos on the computer monitor for hours on end, my senses revel in all that had been in plain view had I known to look instead of merely being swept up by the moment.

And, I’ve made a discovery!  I have just one more photo to take— if I can resist, which I know I can’t and won’t— and then I’ll have captured everything there to my heart’s content so I can revisit at will.

Revisiting the cathedral with depth and complexity as I sorted through and selected from two hundred photos, I suddenly remembered a chance meeting almost ten years ago when I happened on the unexpected— the small statue of the Holy Infant of Prague— as I looked for Fr. Sheehan after Mass.

But how could I have missed him this time around?!! I kept asking myself.  Then again the sacristy was locked.  So, with an overwhelming desire to see the Infant once again, I’m counting the days until our next visit to my heart of hearts.
























Mary, Queen of All Hearts…  Father, you have given us the mother of your son to be our queen and mother.  With the support of her prayers may we come to share the glory of your children in the kingdom of heaven.  We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.  Amen.

Mary, mother of mankind…  Mother, I commend and entrust to you all that goes to make up earthly progress, asking that it should not be one-sided but that it should create conditions for the full spiritual advancement of individuals, families, communities and nations.  I commend to you the poor, the suffering, the sick and the handicapped, the aging and the dying.  I ask you to reconcile those in sin, to heal those in pain, and to uplift those who have lost their hope and joy.  Show to those who struggle in doubt the light of Christ, your son.  Amen.

Mother of God…  As you are above all creatures in heaven and on earth, more glorious than the Cherubim, more noble than any here below, Christ has given you to his people, firm bulwark and protectress, to shield and save sinners who fly to you.  Therefore, O Lady, all-embracing refuge, we solemnly recall your sweet protection and beg the Christ forever for his mercy.  Amen.

Our Lady of Bistrica…  Immaculate mother of Jesus, we honor you as God’s chosen one, beautiful, beloved, and free from all sin.  Keep watch over us.  Pray that we rise above our sins and failings and come to share the fullness of grace.  Be a mother to us in the order of grace by assisting us to live your obedience, your faith, your hope, and your love.  Amen.

Our Lady of Siluva…  Most holy virgin, Mary, you appeared to the shepherds in the fields at Siluva.  Your tears bathed the rock where once an altar stood.  You, with plaintive voice, said, “You plow and seed here where formerly my son was honored.”  Grant that we, moved by your tears, may once, as our forefathers did, revive the spirit of adoration of your son in our fallow hearts; strengthen the tottering structure of the shrine that is the family; and seek forgiveness for the negligences and sins of our nation.

Mother of God, we desire to raise up the glory of your revelation from forgotten ruins so that we may honor you even more, patroness of our country.  With your help, obtain for our nation the spirit of a living faith.  Through Christ, our lord.  Amen.

July 28, 2013

Finally!  The Holy Infant in three photo ops: July, February, and March, respectively!

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August 22, 2014

Jesus is king throughout all eternity by nature and by right of conquest.  Through him, with him, and subordinate to him, Mary is queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest, and by singular election.  And her kingdom is as vast as that of her Son and God, since nothing is excluded from her dominion (Pope Pius XII).

August 23, 2014

Mary, give me your heart so beautiful, so pure, so immaculate; your heart so full of love and humility, that I may be able to receive Jesus in the Bread of Life and love him as you love him and serve him in the distressing guise of the poor (St. Teresa of Calcutta).

Pdf file: Immaculate Conception Cathedral (guide, six pages)

Links of interest…  Border time…  Catholic diocese of Brownsville, TX…  Enchanted faith…  Immaculate Conception Cathedral (ICC): abouthistorical landmarks (#38/39) / national registry / TTTRwebsite…  Our Lady of Siluva…  Promise of the Immaculate Conception…  Sacred Heart Church (ICC mission – video)…  Sacristy

WP posts…  Angels keeping watch…  Building community…  Christ’s sacred heart…  Connected tangents…  Father now retired…  Father’s guided tour…  Gifts…  Heart’s desire…  Marian devotions…  Memory lane…  Noon visit…  Our Lady’s church…  Promise of hope…  A real church…  Right at home…  San Juan Diego…  Seven dwelling places…  Soulful…  Sweet Jesus…  Two angels…  Venerable Margaret  

2 Responses

  1. Very beautiful.

    I especially enjoyed the inside photos and the glass paintings. In addition to those, I love the “small” saint statues. The two angel statues also warmed my heart.

    This was a very warm, lovely post.

    • As always, you are sooo sweet!

      I absolutely love the cathedral in my hometown, as you can tell, eh? There’s no place like it in the world to me ’cause it’s so warm and embracing. And the scent? OMG. Only a place with real candles has that special ambiance.

      Thanks sooo much for your lovely comments! Thanks, too, for your recent post on the handicrafts museum! It’s amazing how, even in way different places, some things are the same.

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