Our Lady of Sorrows

I will admit that I do not know much about the marian feasts on our liturgical calendar, although it seems there are many. It's not that I don't have a connection to Mary and our marian tradition, it's just that it's not the main focus of my spirituality. My mother, on the other hand, had a deep relationship with Mary. Perhaps it was the bond of motherhood. Perhaps it was coming of age in the era she did ... I think she was even May Queen. And Mary of course was her confirmation name, which was also functionally her middle name as her parent's hadn't given her a middle name.

In any case, today is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. I am reminded of this day 3 years ago, which was also the first day that I was responsible for morning prayer in the Novitiate House. We'd just arrived a few days earlier, and my first day on the schedule was Our Lady of Sorrows. I found this icon of Mary somewhere on the internet, which spoke volumes to me then. It still does.

The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows originated in 1413. Her sorrows of course originated much earlier. Traditionally of course they refer to her "Seven Sorrows:" the prohpecy of Simeon, the flight into Egypt, losing Jesus for 3 days, the Way of the Cross, the Cruxifiction, the Descent from the Cross and the Burial. Perhaps that accounts for my mother's devotion and the general universality of Mary for people. She was a mother who wondered about her son's future, found herself homeless, lost track of her son, saw him walk down a trecherous path, watched him suffer die and be buried. That's realy humanity.

Our sorrows continue, of course. I can't help but imagine Mary in the icon sorrowful for our troubled world which has also lost its way. The many who are homeless. Those who walk down trecherous paths, suffer, die and are buried. War, violence, poverty abound. The mother of Jesus, mother of God, carries that sorrow with us. Somehow, that makes it different. We join her in her sorrow, she joins us in ours. Together, it's easier to manage and see our way to the hope and promise that is always there, but often hard to see.

Those are my thoughts this night.


Mary Ellen Hubbard said...

how come you never mention abortion in your litanies of the world's tragedies?

Susan Rose Francois, CSJP said...

Mary Ellen - thanks for you comment. For me, violence includes all violence against human life ... abortion, death penalty, other forms of murder, etc...

Also, it is a real poverty of spirit that allows people to even imagine killing another human being I think.

Mary certainly is sorrowful about all affronts against the dignity of human life.

As am I.