Thursday, September 16, 2010
Our Lady of Sorrows
Yesterday was the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. This is one that is near and dear to my heart, especially since becoming a mother.
I've always had a devotion to our Blessed Mother. I feel that her intercession was pivotal in my adult re-version to the faith. Since I became a mother 5 years ago, my attachment to her has only grown. I relate to her in an even more profound way.
One of the interesting things about Our Lady is that we don't know all that much about her. We know the basics, and of course, she appears in the Scriptures at crucial moments. But we don't know a lot about what she *felt* or *thought* about the things that happened to her in her difficult life.
I enjoy very much meditating on the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary a lot more these days, because each one evokes strong emotion in me. The Annunciation. This is one of my favorites. I like when the angel Gabriel breaks the news to her, and my impression is that she arched a brow at him and gave him a quizzical look. "Say what?" His follow-up explanation didn't exactly make things crystal clear, yet she accepted God's plan for her anyway. "I may not understand it, but if it's God's will, then I'll do it."
I also love the Visitation. Having gone through a pregnancy, and knowing how vulnerable a woman is during that time, I always take solace in Mary's visit to her cousin during this period in her life. It's like the modern equivalent of a girlfriend coffee gab fest. And of course, the Nativity. We don't really know if Mary suffered during childbirth in the traditional way, but I always think of the Book of Revelation, and the woman crying out in birthing her son. No cozy birthing center for her. A stable is where she had to make do.
At the Presentation in the Temple, I always think of Hank's baptism. A proud moment for any new mother :) And the Finding in the Temple. I hope this isn't blasphemous, but I can't help but feel that Jesus wasn't really grasping the gravity of his mother's fear in this one :) As a mother, my own stomach drops every time I read about the moment Mary and Joseph realize that Jesus isn't with them.
I often think of the Seven Sorrows of Mary, a worthwhile meditation, particularly during Lent.
(1) The Prophecy of Simeon that Jesus would be instrumental in the resurrection of Isreal, and that Mary's heart would be pierced by a sword. Just reading those words can make me tear up these days. All of us parents expose ourselves to a lifetime of fear and anxiety when we have a child.
(2) The Flight into Egypt when Herod ordered the slaughter of all baby boys. As the mother of a little boy, this one gives me chills every December when the feast of the Holy Innocents rolls around.
(3) The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple - See, I told you. TRAUMA.
(4) Meeting Jesus as He Carries His Cross. I broke down and cried right in the movie theater during this scene in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.
(5) The Crucifixion.
(6) Taking Jesus' Body Down From the Cross.
(7) Jesus' Burial.
I imagine that she felt extremely bereft, that her heart would never heal. I often think about these things when I see parents who lose a child. How do you ever recover from something that that? The answer is simple: You don't.
My Living Faith meditation for yesterday puts it well:
"'Woman, behold, your son.' John 19:26
At the foot of the cross stood the sorrowful Virgin Mary, her heart pierced by the sword of grief. St. Simeon's dark prophecy at the Presentation was thus fulfilled. The seed of spiritual agony planted long before in the mind of the young mother has come to full flower. Mary stands bereaved, aghast at what has been done to her son...
As Mary presented Jesus to his Father, she presents us to God to her motherly intercession. As she received Jesus in her arms when he was taken down from the cross - God as it were returning the sacrificial Lamb to the woman who gave him up - so may we repose in the arms of the Blessed Virgin - 'now and at the hour of our death.'"
Thank God that we have our mothers - our earthly mother, and our mother in heaven, given to us by Jesus. She will always intercede for us.