Saturday, September 15, 2012

Our Lady of Sorrows

The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows holds a deep connection with me; it is the paternal feast day for my alma mater, Notre Dame. And, it was while I was studying there that I began pondering the idea of priesthood. Simeon said to Mary, "He has been established as a sign which will be contradicted . . . and your own heart will be pierced by the sword." She witnessed the greatest martyrdom, the crucifixion of her Divine Son and most of us can hardly fathom what that must have been like.
A mothers love is unlike any other love - and it can be difficult to explain - when she saw a spear pierce her sons lifeless side, how could her heart not be pierced too. The intensity of her love, like many mothers, is beyond measure.

Today, I think of my own grandmother, Jane, for today is her 87th birthday. My grandmother has lived, as she says, "a hard but rewarding life." Her motherhood is something that I cannot explain for she just is a loving example that even in our darkest hours, we all must turn to the Lord for his help and protection. About fifteen years ago her son, my uncle died of cancer.  The whole extended family watched as a woman saw her son die before her very eyes and there was nothing she could do to help him. I know she pardon with God asking to spare his and take hers, because what mother wants to watch her own child be buried before her-own. A few years later, again, the family mourned for the sudden loss of my cousin, and I remember my grandmother going up to the casket with tears streaming down her face, grabbing his lifeless hand and saying, "I will always love you." All of this is counter to what we expect in our own life, the parent is suppose to pass-away before the child. I asked my Grandmother one time, "what has gotten you through your struggles" and she recited the quote that we, as seminarians love reading, from the Gospel of John, "Woman, behold, your Son!" and to the disciple whom he loved, "Behold, your Mother!" And she reflected on what Mary went through at the foot of the cross and that her sorrow must be greater than her-own.

Many times, I feel as though I fail the Blessed Mother, each time I sin its as though I am taking that spear and twisting her heart and then I weep; for what son, what child wants to disappoint their mother. Above all she is our greatest advocate and our greatest intercessor in heaven, thus we should always flee to her aid and beg her to pray for all of her children here on earth. And How amazing that Gospel passage from John . . . at that very moment of the Blessed Mother's extreme sorrow, we have been given great joy by the gift from Christ, the gift of his own mother, who is our mother. As the antiphon for the canticle at evening prayer states, "Rejoice, O sorrowful Mother; after your great sufferings, you shine forth as Queen, enthroned beside your Son."
Our Lady of Sorrows, Pray for us!

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