15 September – Our Lady of Sorrows


The sorrowful events and experiences attributed to Mary’s life often relate directly to our own. For example, parents whose children are lost into crime, murdered or suffering from serious illness know how much their sorrow is in kinship with Mary’s. At other times her sorrows are indirectly or symbolically connected to ours. We do not have to be a parent to walk in the footsteps of the sorrowful mother. The sufferings of every individual, man or woman, are reflected in some aspect of Mary’s sorrows.

Anyone who has ever received news that brought with it a prediction of future turmoil and pain has been there with Mary when Simeon foretold the heartache she would have. Anyone who has ever made a decision to leave a situation that was harmful and destructive has been there with Mary when she fled into Egypt to save her son’s life. Anyone who has ever searched with panic and dismay over the loss of a valued part of their life has been there with Mary when she hunted for her missing child. Anyone who has ever met suffering on a deeper level has been there with Mary when she met her suffering son on his path to Calvary. Anyone who has ever vigiled at the bedside of a dying one has been there with Mary as she stood beneath the cross. Anyone who has ever embraced a part of their life that died has been there with Mary when she received the dead body of her child in her arms. Anyone who has ever stood in a cemetery with tears clutching at the heart has been there with Mary when she watched her son being laid to rest in the tomb.

As we enter into these sorrows we see how Mary questioned and grappled with what was confusing and unclear, how she needed others to be there with her in her pain, how she reflected on her life experiences in order to find meaning in them. We also see her inner resiliency, how her faith sustained her, and how her deep love for her son gave her strength to enter into and endure her suffering. We see how she never gave up even in her most desolate of times. As we walk with Mary in her sorrows we discover that we are not alone in what is most difficult for us. In Mary, Mother of Sorrows, we have a mother, a sister, a mentor and a friend.

(Joyce Rupp)

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