September 15, 2012 - Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows

Hebrews 5:7-9
Psalm 31:2-6, 15-16, 20
John 19:25-27 or Luke 2:33-35

Today we remember the sorrows of our Blessed Mother, Mary, above all the sorrow of seeing her son die on the Cross. Perhaps you are wondering, “Didn’t she always know that he was going to die?” Without a doubt she did. “And didn’t she hope that he would rise?” She held to this hope with great fidelity. “And still she mourned the crucifixion?” She mourned more profoundly than we have ever mourned. Who is more compassionate than Mary, except her own son?

The sorrow of Mary was a deep sorrow. Mary was a perfect human person because she never sinned, but this does not mean that we should imagine her as an unfeeling person, occupying ethereal realms. Because of her perfection, she loved more deeply than we can. Because of this love, she felt the pain of loss more acutely than we do.

The sorrow of Mary, unlike our own, was pure. Our own sorrows are always mixed up with selfishness. Either we do not feel what we should because we have trouble seeing beyond ourselves, or we feel bad because of what we have lost. Mary did not mourn because her son would not be around to support her. She mourned because she saw the suffering of the one she loved, and she felt his pain and sorrow as acutely as he felt it himself.

The sorrow of Mary was not a useless sorrow. We can only imagine how Jesus felt seeing his mother in sorrow. Surely it caused him some pain, but it also was a great support. The rest of the world might be cruel and selfish, but the face of his mother was the one place he could rest his eyes, seeing in her the image and likeness that he had put in us when he created us.

The sorrow of Mary was not a sorrow without hope. She knew with certain hope that Jesus would rise from the dead. Her hope did not keep her from feeling keen pain, nor did the pain keep her from expecting his Resurrection.

Mary is our mother. Like every good mother, she teaches us; she is an example for us in how to live. When we see her mourning, we ought to be admire such perfect emotions. We should spend time with her at the foot of the Cross, begging her to teach us to have sorrow like her sorrow.