Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Mary, Our Mother of Sorrows

An image of Our Lady of Sorrows

Dear Parishioners,

This past week we celebrated the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14th) followed immediately by Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15th).  Are you familiar with the Seven Sorrows of Our Blessed Mother?  Mary experienced pain and sorrow during her life, in union with her Son and His Passion.  

When Jesus was Presented in the Temple (1), Simeon foretold that Mary’s heart would know pain: 

"Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."  (Lk. 2: 34-35)

Subsequently, Mary knew additional grief and anxiety when she and Joseph, her spouse, necessarily fled to Egypt (2) to escape from King Herod and his command to kill all Hebrew boys two years old and younger.

. . . The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”  Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.  He stayed there until the death of Herod . . . .  (Mt. 2:  13-15a)

Later, Jesus was eventually Found in the Temple (3) at age twelve after having been missing for three days.  “Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety." (Lk. 2: 48)

Although she raised and cared for Jesus, her Divine Son, she was at the same time His faithful follower until the bitter end.  She met Him on the way to his crucifixion on the road to Calvary (4) as we reflect on the 4th Station of the Cross.   She was present during His death, standing at the foot of the cross (5).  The image of the Pieta reminds us of her holding His lifeless body in her arms (6) after His death.  She also watched as He was subsequently placed in the tomb (7) as we again reflect on the 14th Station of the Cross.

Mary, from the moment of her Immaculate Conception, had God’s special graces and protection from sin.  She was chosen to be the mother of Our Lord and her “yes” to God at the Annunciation showed her obedience and willingness to cooperate with God’s plan for our salvation.  Although she had some uncertainty concerning how God’s plan would unfold in her life, she trusted in God completely.  How could a virgin have a child?  The power of the Holy Spirit could transcend what is humanly impossible.   Nothing is impossible for God!

After showing us an example of her unselfish love by helping her relative Elizabeth who was also with child (Visitation), she gave birth miraculously to Our Lord in the humble surroundings of Bethlehem (the Nativity).

Mary was present at the Wedding Feast of Cana (Jn. 2: 1-11) where she requested her Son's assistance, leading to His first public miracle: changing water into wine.  Her fidelity, love and continued intercessory role are evident as she was given to us as our Spiritual Mother at the cross (Jn. 19: 25-27).  When her earthly life was complete, she was taken body and soul into heaven (the Assumption) and she reigns as Queen of Heaven and Earth (the Coronation).

The Blessed Virgin Mary should have a special place in the life of every Catholic (Christian).  Traditionally, the month of May has been dedicated to her, and the month of October dedicated to her Holy Rosary.

These mysteries of our faith (as well as many others) are found in the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary--meditations which are meant to have us reflect on some of most important aspects of our faith.  Together with wearing the Brown Scapular (of Mt. Carmel) as an outward sign, we can show our love for and devotion to Our Lady.  True, healthy devotion to her will only lead us to her Son Jesus and never detract from Him.

May we learn to imitate the faith and trust in God, the obedience to God’s will and the love for Jesus that Our Lady gave witness to in her life.  Her example of purity and sin-less-ness is much needed in today’s world.  May she continue to intercede for us as our patroness.

Fr. Ed Namiotka

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