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Reflections on the Blessed Mother

 

Passion of Mary 

Sorrow is sacred. It was made sacred when Our Lord and Our Lady wept. 

Mary shed no blood, received no blows, and did not know the gradual loss of health through old age. Yet, Mary's sorrow was real sorrow, a death to self, a loss of all held dear, a slow letting go and a persevering adherence to God's holy will. Mary's heart was pierced by a sword of spiritual, psychological, and emotional steel. As sparsely as Mary is present in the Gospels, they reveal this sorrow undergone by our Mother and how she can teach us and accompany us through our own.

 

She accompanies us.

Mary and Joseph presented their healthy and holy baby boy in the temple. They were told that he would be a sign of contradiction and that Mary would suffer greatly for the sake of the "many."  She accompanies all those who have received bad news, frightening diagnosis, or uncertain news about the future. 

Not too long after she and her little family had to flee to a foreign country to avoid the killing of her Son. She accompanies all refugees, and all those who have had to leave behind or let go of something they "loved" in order to stay close to God. 
They lost sight of God, literally, for three days. Upon finding him, Mary was challenged to rethink her relationship with her Son and husband, Joseph. She accompanies all those who have lost sight of God, and all those who have been bewildered by the things that God asks of them. 
At some point in her young life, death separated her from her guardian, the foster-father of her Son, and husband Joseph. She accompanies those who have lost a loved one, especially a spouse and father. She accompanies the single mother and the widow. 
She saw Jesus go forth and manifest himself before the world, with miracles, prayers, teaching, and admonition. She knew the sign of contradiction was beginning to be seen by all. She accompanies all those who have watched malicious envy toward their loved ones, especially their children. She accompanies those who have seen their child made fun of, treated badly, even bullied without any reason at all but the anger and insecurity in the offenders. 

She witnessed his arrest, imprisonment, torture, and death. She accompanies those whose loved one is imprisoned and those whose loved ones have been made a public display. She accompanies those who have seen - with eyes of the flesh or eyes of the heart - their loved one, their child, abused and tortured. She accompanies those whose child has died, whose loved one has laid lifeless in their arms. 

Mary's heart was pierced; Christ was already dead when the lance went through his flesh. His Mother stood watching and felt that cold steel as only a mother could.  She accompanies still those who are not brought consolation even in death, those who face unclosed cases, autopsies, and various human indignities. She accompanies those who know that their loved ones precious corpse has been desecrated. She accompanies that Mother whose heart still blazes with pain after their child suffers no more. 

She prayed with those who had betrayed his friendship. She accompanies those who have forgiven their enemies and those who never came around when there was sickness and death "in the air." 

She rejoiced at the resurrection, but then only watched as he ascended once again to his Father, perhaps recalling that time in the Temple many years ago.

She was left behind to do his will.

She teaches us.

Mary's sorrow teaches us that it can be holy to grieve, not only loss through death, but the many, many losses of human existence. When something changes, there is always a loss involved, because one thing cannot change without giving up something else. Scripture even refers to this as a death; unless a grain of wheat dies, it will not give life. Mary could not watch her Son go out into the world without losing the little boy, she could not be redeemed without experiencing his death, she could not discover the Father's will without losing him in the temple.

Mary's sorrow teaches us to recognize and respect, honor and accept the quiet passion that purifies and transforms the simplest parts of life when we suffer that poignant empathy that we call compassion.

Mary's sorrow teaches us that we will not always understand, but we can always trust.

Mary's sorrow teaches us to stop and ponder these things of uncertainty in the peace of our own hearts.

Mary's sorrow teaches us that there is a star in the dark night, a compass in our agony, a sure and steady hope in our pursuit of heaven.

Mary's sorrow teaches us that peace is possible in the stormy souls of the afflicted. 

Mary's sorrow teaches us that the most important thing in life is God, and we can never lose him, as long as we follow him through every joy and every sorrow.