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She spent a lifetime in search of the passion. It was found easily in bed, with those boys in college, in the back seat of the cars, the front door of her house, as her father sat in is favorite chair, waiting. But that was the easy kind of passion. The passion she sought was hard won. She sought the mercy of God, the forgiviness of sin, the passion of the Christ, the love of the Virgin Mary. The nuns had been filled with it, "I am married to Christ" And, "Pray, child pray, it will come. It will come." And she did, fervently, counting the rosary beads, begging from her savior her Hail Marys. But it did not come. Indeed, it never came.
She spent a lifetime in the quest for the knowledge, in the act of contrition, at the stations of the cross. But that fair, Irish Catholic girl never found her way through the Church.
Still, even now, she harkens to it, praying the rosary in times of stress, begging for Mary's guidance. Here, she prays, naked, alone, desperate, as though the portrait were a cliff from which she hangs, the rosary beads, her rope.
Faith eventually relieved her when it came to her, but the passion did not. Faith was the knowledge, that the passion was there, somewhere, however elusive. The passion, though never found by her in church, is known to her to exist throughout the world, waiting, waiting to be found during those dark nights of pain, or those moments of profound and purest joy. That is what faith is. The knowledge that however unseen, the passion exists, yet to be found.
"Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen."
Also by L Hartley
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