Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Our Lady of Sorrows

“…and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.’" Luke 2: 34-35

Today we recognize the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. It is fitting that this feast is the day after the Exultation of the Holy Cross. I think at first glance we can all understand why Mary was sorrowful. She had just witnessed the arrest, torture, unfair condemnation and horrible execution of her only Son on the cross. What mother wouldn’t be sad after enduring all of this pain? Right from the beginning, Simeon the prophet had even warned her that she would have to undergo suffering when he told her that she would be pierced by a sword. He of course meant her heart and the sorrow of watching her Son die.

But now that all of that is over and Jesus has risen and ascended into heaven waiting to return in glory, why would Mary still be sorrowful? Shouldn’t she be happy now? Of course she is filled with the joy of heaven and the Beatific Vision of everlasting life with the Trinity. However, Mary’s role in salvation history has ALWAYS been to bring us to Jesus. The very reason she said “yes” to the angel Gabriel was so that she could bring the Savior to us and us to the Savior. No one knows the joy of relationship with Jesus more than Mary. She has the most intimate of intimate relationships with Him. And she desires us to have this relationship with Him as well. She knows what our hearts desire. She knows better than anyone that Jesus is the answer to all of our needs, our hopes, our dreams and our longings. And she watched us kill Him 2,000 years ago. And she watches us ignore Him, disobey Him and mock Him even today through our busy and sinful lives.

Her heart is still sorrowful for us. She sees so many people turning away from Christ her Son and instead settling for the things of this world—choosing things that are passing over the eternal. In Mary’s apparition at Fatima, Portugal in 1917, one of the things she said to the shepherd children was, “If men only knew how long eternity was, they would do everything in their power to change their ways.” She cries for us, she prays for us, she pleads with us to turn to her Son and to do whatever He tells us (John 2: 5). Like any good mother, she wants what is best for us. She wants us in heaven, to live in eternal bliss with the Blessed Trinity. May we strive each day to lessen her sorrow by following Jesus more authentically and passionately.

Dear Jesus, thank you for giving Your mother Mary to me as my mother as well. Please give me the grace to follow You each day and to lessen her sorrow by loving You and bringing others to You as she does. Amen.

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