As of this posting, the State of the Union address has yet to be delivered; however, there is much to be addressed concerning the union’s state. Political speech has been reduced to soundbites and tweets and the rhetorical distinctions between news reports and commentaries are vanishing. Even before last Thursday ‘s vote on the two bills drafted to temporarily finance the government, newscasters announced the anticipated failure of both. When on Friday an agreement was reached to end the partial government shutdown for three weeks and to open negotiations on defense spending, news media focused on who caved or who defeated whom, which party gained the upper hand and how many voted against their party’s bill. In a land of binaries, union and common ground are jeopardized; in a world of numbers, individuals fade; caught in our own political fray, we lose sight of a suffering world. Pierced because of her son’s sufferings, Mary’s heart remains open, a source of mercy and strength for all to receive and share. Let us accept that grace and challenge.