Our Lady of Sorrows

A mother is only as happy as her saddest child

Every life climbs its Calvary. Every life has its quiet sorrow, which cannot be shared in full with anyone else.  This concealed pain is the very real drama that plays out behind the curtain of the duties and distractions of everyday life.

Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, shared in all things human, save sin, including pain and sorrow. So, He wept at the death of Lazarus, and He balanced the heavy cross on his sore bones and trudged up a hill to his own execution. Thoughts and ideas can be shared in their totality. Emotions and experiences only partially so. Suffering is intensely private in that it is a personal, lived experience. The intense sufferings of Jesus Christ were intensified by His perfection. Only a perfect being similar to Jesus could enter into His sorrow, could experience it somewhat as He did. That person was Mary. She was the perfect person.  Because she was perfect, she most understood, and felt, the pain of her perfect Son. Shared perfection led to shared sorrow.

The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15) commemorates the sorrows of Mary, most especially those lived during Jesus’ passion and death.

Mary was perfect, but her life wasn’t perfect. She was squeezed by the same wine press of pain, humiliation, and sorrow that squeezes every life. She was unmarried and pregnant and must have heard the neighbours’ whispers as she walked the dusty streets of her town. She and her family had to flee to a far-off land to escape the murderous King Herod the Great. She lived a real life filled with real human drama. But her most intense sorrows were felt when she was in her late forties, when her one and only child died a public death, leaving her, already a widow, totally alone, her middle-aged face stretched with sorrow.

Through this feast, we recall Mary’s sorrow and share in it. Christian grief is not godless grief. Our grief, like Mary’s grief, is comforted by the sure and certain hope that the last word in our book is not death and despair but hope and life. Mary’s sorrow is temporary, as all of our sorrows one day will be. There is nothing that does not have a context, except for God. And the context for Christian sorrow is the Resurrection.

Mary of Sorrows, you shared the pain and sorrow of your perfect Son but were never forlorn. Help all who turn to you to unite our sorrows to yours and His so that we may co-suffer in His death and co-share in His Resurrection.         

(Adapted from mycatholic.life.)