Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Suffering and Motherhood
Today is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, a feast day I never really paid much attention to in the past. It was brought to my attention about a month ago and I've had it in my head ever since. A fellow blogger recommended doing a novena to Our Lady of Sorrows. I was completely taken with that novena. It helped me focus my prayer life in a way I didn't think I would be able to again. Since doing that novena I have also felt a deeper connection to Mary.
So today. I wish I could say that I spent some time today reflecting on the sorrows of Mary. Or that I even went to Mass. Even a little bit of quiet prayer time? No, it didn't happen. Too much going on at work today, sad to say.
But that's why I'm writing this. I figured a post in her honor was needed. So here we are.
I love this picture I found! Notice there are seven arrows piercing her. You can't help but think of Luke 2:35. And of course the seven arrows represent the seven sorrows: the prophesy of Simeon; flight into Egypt; loss of Jesus in the Temple; meeting Jesus carrying the Cross; the Crucifixion; receiving the body of Jesus (the Pieta); and Jesus' burial and closing of the tomb.
It's often easy to forget about the suffering Mary as we read about the life and passion of her Son, Jesus Christ. Today is a day to think about her, to realize that her sufferings are also our sufferings. She was a mother who suffered greatly along with her divine Son. If anyone can understand the sufferings mothers go through it is Mary, our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Sorrows.
On my way home from work today, a show on my local Catholic radio station was talking about suffering and motherhood. Specifically, what is the greatest challenge of motherhood? I was tempted to email in, but opted not to. I wasn't sure I could say something succinctly enough, or coherently enough. Really my comments would not have been regarding the challenges of motherhood so much as the suffering of motherhood.
I'm sure there are others out there who can list the many, many sufferings mothers go through each day. I'm not one of them. My sufferings are very different, but they are still the sufferings of a mother. And Mary understands. There is comfort in that.
Today is a day to recall the cross and then to look to Mary and see her standing by the cross. Did you notice that yesterday's feast was the Exaltation of the Cross? Interesting that these two feast days are right next to each other. We all have crosses in our life, mine is pregnancy loss. We carry those crosses to follow Christ, we unit our sufferings with the crucified Christ, and then we look at Mary. Standing at the foot of the cross, not cowering.
Losing a child is not easy. I have wanted to cower away in the corner, to cry until there are no tears left, to isolate myself away from the world because of my sorrow and suffering. But then I look to Mary and I see her suffering, her sorrow, and, of course, her strength.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.