THE HUNCHBACK HAS HIS DAY

Yes.  Well.     Back to the real world.   But let’s go into the real real world, where sometimes bad things happen and bad people exist.    What then?

hunchback

Sometimes babies aren’t born perfect,  and in an imperfect (Fallen)  world,  the imperfect baby is not loved.   In fact, the birth of this hideously deformed baby boy horrified his parents.    Hunchbacked and mostly blind.

The hopeful young parents had waited so long for this baby to grow in the womb and be born — and then . . .  this –  this unspeakable thing was born!   Its presence would be a curse on the poor parents and on everyone around them.   What to do with it?

You can’t just kill it because it’s “human.”   And so, since it’s human,  just throw it on the Mercy of God –  throw it back where it came from, so to speak:

notre dame

And so on Low Sunday the ugly baby was found on the doorsteps of Notre Dame Cathedral.

We often name our Sundays after the first two or three words of that day’s Introit,  the opening prayer as the Mass begins.   Here is the Introit for Low Sunday,  the Sunday after Easter:

Quasi modo géniti infántes allelúia: rationábiles, sine dolo lac concupíscite, allelúia, allelúia, allelúia.

Or  (English):  As newborn babes, alleluia, desire the rational milk without guile, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

“Newborn babies” ?  What to call that abandoned newborn baby?   Call it by the name of the Sunday on which he appeared:  Quasimodo.

Little Quasimodo found mercy and love among the Christian hearts within Notre Dame’s walls.   He was fed and cared for and as he grew he  joyfully fulfilled the task of ringing the bells in those great towers.

Victor Hugo wrote the fictional story of Quasimodo and made it a deep study of love and hate,  of rejection, betrayal,  rescue,  hypocrisy,   innocent love and cold-hearted lust — and of the noblest act of self-sacrifice.   Even though we may know “what happens” in the story,  it’s well worth reading, especially as we grow older.

A few days ago it was Quasimodo Sunday.  We didn’t hear about The Hunchback of Notre Dame in the sermon,   but we  did learn  to become like the little children that Jesus held up before us as our models;  and we did learn to become eager for the new, nourishing milk of the whole story of the Gospel.  Every bit of it!

Yes,  we should want Him that much;   in the same way as (quasi modo) that a newborn baby wants his mother’s milk,   because it’s there that we find  mercy and peace and life that doesn’t end.

A fictional story that demonstrates the love of God?     How about a factual story of the same kind that also demonstrates the power of the love of God?

Once there was born an ugly little girl baby –  deformed,  hunch-backed,  and blind.    True story.

castello

Her parents were wealthy nobles and her birth would bring shame to them –  if anyone ever saw her.    The little baby was named Margaret and she was kept locked in a back room of her parents’ castle – out of sight! – with only a maidservant to care for her needs.      And because she was human and because this was a  Christian  country,   they sent a priest in to see her at times.

Like the good people in Notre Dame Cathedral,  this priest took care of her spiritual needs,  taught her the truths about God’s love and mercy –  and Margaret grew up to be kind and loving – and forgiving,   trusting in God.

margaret

Not so her parents.    When they thought she was old enough,  they took her to the nearby town  for a “shopping trip.”       And they abandoned her there.   Cold,  hungry,  weary of waiting for her parents all day,  she was taken in by various families, until months later finally she was brought to a convent –  which was a bad one!     Being blind and crippled,  she brought them no money so they soon  kicked her out,  back onto the streets.

But remember,  she had been taught right from wrong by that loving priest in her early life.  She knew how God wants us to live – with kindness and forgiveness given freely to all.     She chose the love and mercy of her Heavenly Father and never wavered.  Her life was an instruction to everyone,  to everyone who would see.    Good people loved her.

(You can read her story in the “Read the rest. . .”  part below.)

These are two examples for us who are “blind” in some areas;  who are unformed in good works and deformed in our actions;  crippled morally in some small way;  who secretly feel we could be rejected if people knew the truth about us . .  .  .

Blind and deformed and crippled.   Quasimodo knew and Margaret of Castello knew —  that it’s  for these kind of people that Jesus died  (Good Friday)  and rose again  (Easter) that they may become His followers, like dear children (quasi modo . . .)

The real world that we live in can be ugly and unfriendly and dangerous.     But the Real real world can also be a place to dwell in God’s unchanging love.

 

______________________________________________

 

Blessed Margaret of Citta-di-Castello, Virgin

It must have been about the year 1293 when some women of Citta-di-Castello in Umbria, who had gone one day to pray in their parish church, found within, a destitute blind child of about six or seven, who had been abandoned there by her parents. The kind souls were filled with pity for the little waif, and, poor though they were, they took charge of her – first one family and then another, sheltering and feeding her until she became practically the adopted child of the village. One and all declared that, far from being a burden, little Margaret brought a blessing upon those who befriended her. Some years later, the nuns of a local convent offered her a home. The girl rejoiced at the prospect of living with religious, but her joy was short-lived. The community was lax and worldly; Margaret’s fervor was a tacit reproach to them, nor did she bring them the profit they had anticipated. Neglect was succeeded by petty persecution, and then by active calumny. Finally she was driven forth ignominiously to face the world once more.

However, her old friends rallied around her. One couple offered her a settled home, which became her permanent residence. At the age of fifteen, Margaret received the habit of a tertiary from the Dominican fathers, who had lately established themselves in Citta-di-Castello, and thence forth, she lived a life entirely devoted to God. More than ever did God’s benediction rest upon her. She cured another tertiary of an affliction of the eyes which had baffled medical skill, and her mantle extinguished a fire which had broken out in her foster parents’ house. In her desire to show her gratitude to the people of Citta-di-Castello, she undertook to look after the children while their parents were at work. Her little school prospered wonderfully, for she understood children, being very simple herself. She set them little tasks which she helped them to perform; she instructed them in their duty to God and to man, instilling into them her own great devotion to the sacred Childhood, and she taught them the psalms which, inspite of her blindness, she had learned by heart at the convent. We are told that when at prayer she was frequently raised a foot or more from the ground, remaining thus for a long time. Thus she lived, practically unknown outside her own neighborhood, until the age of thirty-three, when she died amidst the friends who loved her, and was buried by their wish in the parish church, where many remarkable miracles took place. The cult of Blessed Margaret was confirmed in 1609.

(from:   http:/ /www .catholic.org/ saints/saint.php?saint_id=233)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Comment on “THE HUNCHBACK HAS HIS DAY”

  1. larryzb Says:

    We need to protect the vulnerable from the current Culture of Death.


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