At Mass Wednesday morning during the homily (that's a sermon for the Protestant readers), our priest talked of his childhood. He came from a family of nine children. This family gathered weekly around a small statue of Mary to pray. (They weren't praying to Mary, they were asking Mary to pray with them and for them. Just in case your red flag went up.)
One of his earliest memories was of his mother praying for his two oldest brothers who were fighting in World War II. Of course communications were not what they are today, so for the most part you just had no idea where someone was or what was happening. She prayed: "Please bring my sons home."
Years later, three of her sons were fighting in horrible conditions in the conflict in Korea. And she prayed again: "Please bring my sons home."
My almost six-year old son processed into the sanctuary with a pink flower to present to Mary for the May Crowning. He sat with his class near me. I watched his face as I listened to the priest speak about his mother and the prayers she found herself making for her sons, not once, but in a simply cruel machination of the universe, twice.
I cannot even go to the place where I imagine myself in that position. Tears welled up and my heart broke for her, for both of my grandmothers, and for all mothers everywhere who have prayed: "Please bring my sons home."
Yesterday, I prayed for peace. It seems sometimes to be such a naive prayer, but yesterday I prayed it fervently.
For my sons and for your sons, I prayed for peace.