Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Our Lady of Sorrows

Every year on my birthday I look at the parish calender and see it there. The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. How apropos, I used to think, with an ungrateful heart. Let's have a pity party. I felt sorry for myself and what I percieved as my sorrowful life.

In recent years, I have come to feel blessed and honored instead. To share my special day with Our Lady in all her Blessed Motherhood. I received a little pamphlet in the mail once, that explained the seven sorrows.

Simeon's Prophecy - imagine bringing your baby to be baptized and some old coot comes up and says "oh, what a cute baby - a sword of sorrow will pierce your heart". And Mary pondered this.

The Flight into Egypt - just at the most vulnerable time in both thier lives, Jesus and Mary, with Joseph, have to flee the country to save Jesus' life. To have to leave all their friends, family, home and jobs and live in a foreign country, with a different language, for an indeterminate period of time.

The Loss in the Temple - what parent would not panic and be consumed with anxiety over the loss of their child for even a few hours, much less several days?

The Carrying of the Cross - to watch her son, of whom she must have been so proud, undergo such shame and humiliation; the precious life she had protected for so long, bleeding out of him. And she was powerless to do anything but stay near him and watch.

The Crucifixion - as far as we know, Mary was not privy to God's plan. What faith, what trust, to watch her son die a criminal's death, yet to stay near him, trusting that there WAS a plan, and that it would be eventually revealed.

The Taking Down from the Cross - what paralyzing grief she must have felt as she held her son for what she may have thought was the last time. What questions plagued her? What struggle did she overcome to stay strong and faithful?

The Burial of Jesus - in what must have been a moment of great despair for her, Mary had only her trust in God and her Son to cling to. Mercifully, we have Mary, Jesus, the Father, the Holy Spirit, and all the angels and saints to comfort and strengthen us to go on.

Her trust, her faith, her strength in all her uncertainty, trials, sufferings, and misunderstandings. And her joy! The glory of her risen Son, and her special mission to lead us closer to Him. What a woman to look up to and emulate! What an honor to share my birthday with her feast!

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