Today we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title, Our Lady of Sorrows. I am particularly drawn to her under this title which is essentially the same as calling her Our Lady of Suffering. What Jesus suffered in his body, Mary suffered in her heart and soul. She suffered so intensely because she loved so intensely, and her love intensified as she suffered. This is the case because suffering gives rise to the opportunity to love and grow in love. What mother doesn’t suffer when her child suffers? And in the suffering, don’t mothers experience a greater love for the child? How much more for Mary! Because she was Immaculate, that is, perfect, her suffering was to a perfect degree. And because she was Immaculate, she loved perfectly. Imagine the love in her heart – – she watched her son die, her son whom she loved as both her child and her God. It should go without saying that no one ever loved Jesus Christ as much as his mother Mary (St. Joseph coming in at second). And therefore, she felt his pain in her own self. Her heart was pierced through when the soldier pierced his heart through, as the Simeon prophesied, because their hearts were that closely united, practically beating as one.
Our Lady of Sorrows most perfectly united her sufferings to the sufferings of Christ on the Cross. And she was the first one to do it. In doing so, she was united in his redemptive act and in the saving of souls. Although hers was a unique and preeminent participation, she shows us how to unite our sufferings to those of the crucified Jesus, for the good of others. When we do this, we suffer out of love for others. At the Cross, she suffered with her Son for the sake of those who crucified him, sinners like you and me. She forgave and loved his enemies, which were her enemies as well. Imagine – – we are her children, and she loves us so tenderly – – we who crucified her beloved Son! She loved us and suffered for us.
Our Lady of Sorrows united her obedience to the obedience of her son before the heavenly Father (as a new Eve corresponding with new Adam). At the moment when Jesus prayed, “Father, if it be possible let this cup pass, but nevertheless your will not mine be done!” Mary prayed the same words. She is a powerful witness of obedience and surrender to God’s will. God often allows suffering, willing its occurrence permissibly. At those moments, Mary shows us what to do.
it was on the Cross that Jesus gave his mother to us to be our mother. At the cross we were reconciled to God, adopted as his children as sons and daughters in the SON – – it was there that God became our Father, Jesus became our brother, and Mary became our mother – – through the grace of the Holy Spirit symbolized by the blood and water flowing from the side of Jesus. Mary is the mother of the Head of the Body and she is the mother of the members united to him. We are one in Christ and Christ is one – – Mary is the mother of all those who are in Christ, joined to him. We are Jesus to Mary. Just as she stood at the foot of the cross of Jesus, she stands at the foot of our cross. She empathizes with our suffering and holds our hand through it. I experience the consoling presence of mother Mary when I suffer. Our Lady of Sorrows is Our Mother of Suffering. Call out to her and she will come running.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!