Today, September 15, is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. It is a time to remember and reflect on the Seven Sorrows of Mary, and the great role that our Blessed Mother played in the life of Jesus.
According to CatholicCulture.org, this feast "is dedicated to the spiritual martyrdom of Mary, Mother of God, and her compassion with the sufferings of her Divine Son, Jesus. In her suffering as co-redeemer, she reminds us of the tremendous evil of sin and shows us the way of true repentance."
Indeed, Mary truly is our example of how to say "yes" to the Lord, and how to suffer with Jesus.
If you're a mom like me, you'll probably know that seeing your child suffer is one of the most painful things ever.
As I type this post, 2 out of my 3 kids are down with fever, and the third one just recovered from it.
It hasn't been a great week so far, that's for sure.
Because I work from home, it's been doubly challenging for me. It seems like I have hardly been able to get any work-related tasks done, and I have been so tempted to complain and whine about our situation. (Let's not even talk about the chores that still need to get done!)
But then I look at our Blessed Mother and remember all that she went through — all that she endured — and I find myself a little bit calmer, a little bit more at peace.
My sufferings and "sorrows" are nothing compared to what she must have been feeling when she was raising her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, we have so much to learn from Mama Mary. Here are just 3 things:
1. Say "Yes" to God.
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” — Luke 1:38
Can you imagine what would have happened if Mary had said "No" to God?
What if she had refused to be the mother of Jesus?
What if, instead of speaking to the angel Gabriel and asking him questions about what his "announcement" meant, she had screamed in fright and run away?
It's a good thing she didn't, right?
Because of Mary's "Yes" to God, and her submission to His will, Jesus was born... born to die and save the world from the power of sin and death.
As Catholics — and especially as parents — we are asked to say "Yes" to God every day... "Yes" to His will, and "Yes" to His plans for us and for our children.
We may not understand everything that God allows to happen in our lives, but we need to trust Him and still say "Yes." Just like Mary did.
2. Keep "all these things" in your heart.
And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. — Luke 2:19
After Jesus was born, the shepherds came to visit Jesus and to share what the angels had told them about Him. Mary was probably surprised to see them — I can't imagine how I would have reacted if I was in her shoes!
Just think — you had just given birth, in a not-so-comfortable place, your newborn is lying in a manger, and then all of a sudden, a group of shepherds arrives, saying angels have declared that your baby is "Messiah and Lord" (Luke 2:11)! If I were Mama Mary, I probably would have fainted or something!
But she didn't. Our Mother simply "kept all these things" and reflected on them.
When life throws us unexpected surprises, when we are overwhelmed, when we receive news that is surprising — shocking even — let's try to keep "all these things" in our hearts, like Mary did. Let's "reflect on them" and try to see God's hand in all things, and trust that He knows what's best for us.
3. Keep the end in mind.
When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety." And he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?" They did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced [in] wisdom and age and favor before God and man. — Luke 2: 48-52
Mary (and Joseph) must have been flabbergasted by what Jesus said, after they found him in the temple. I can imagine how worried they must have been when they realized that he was "lost" — when our son was only 4 years old, he got lost for a few minutes while we were at a mall.
It's a long story but to this day, I thank God for the kindness of strangers, and my son's guardian angel! Just like Mama Mary and Saint Joseph, my husband and I had "great anxiety" when our son got lost.
Mary and Joseph didn't understand Jesus's response, that he was in his Father's house. Still, Mary "kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man."
At times, we may not understand our children's actions and words. We may even be "astonished" by them. But our Mother encourages us to press on; to keep on teaching our children about the Lord; to keep the end in mind.
And what is that "end"?
It is to see our children advance "in wisdom and age and favor before God and man."
Our Blessed Mother — Our Lady of Sorrows — gives us a great example of what it means to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus. May we learn from her example today and always.
Copyright 2014 Tina Santiago Rodriguez
About the Author
Tina Santiago-Rodriguez is a Catholic wife and home educating mom by vocation, and a writer and editor by profession. Among her different roles, she believes that her most important "work" is to be a helpmate to her husband, and to raise her kids to be "Kingdom-Seekers." Find out more about Tina through her website: Truly Rich and Blessed.