Photo: Loni Ingraham, Towson Times
As I was making my usual rounds of the online news sources this afternoon, I stumbled across this story and picture that, at first, disturbed me. This statue of the Virgin Mary has stood just about a mile from my house since I can remember. I have passed it nearly every day in the last 18 years, and it has become a personal reminder of my own spirituality, helping me keep my focus on what’s really most important in my life.
Friday afternoon was no different. When I drove by the statue to take my daughter to her gymnastics competition, I passed the statue and reflected on how the area around her once looked before the church cut back all the brush surrounding her. Although I liked it better with the statue protected by the natural canopy, I have to admit that its bold and unobstructed appearance makes it more prominent, albeit a little intimidating.
All that changed when I saw this picture.
Between 24 and 40 hours after I drove by the Virgin Mary on Friday night, somebody pushed over the statue and, presumably, stole her left hand.
I’m not Catholic, but that doesn’t matter. It’s the desecration of a religious icon that, at first, bothered me.
Sometimes, when people do malicious acts like this with intent, they fear something or are lashing out against something. Either way, it’s the sign, I believe, of a strong inner battle that is raging within. We are often conflicted with varying messages we get about religion, spirituality, faith, and even prayer.
Perhaps this was a plea for help, a distress call, if you will. I can only hope and pray that this manifestation will bring some much-needed help and relief for the individual or individuals responsible. It’s easy to be angry when something like this happens, but it’s not personal. Persecution brought on by fear and confusion has been happening for a long, long time. We can only pray that their cries for help are answered, and soon.