Mother of Sorrows

by Victor Hoagland, C.P.
As Eve was a conspirator with Adam at the fall, so God wished Mary to be the companion of Jesus at the restoration. God inspired this great woman to set out for Calvary not to be a spectator, but a partner in the sacrifice of her Son. --Blessed Dominic Barberi, C.P.

Mother of SorrowsWe know Jesus because we are brought to him by others. Could we know his Passion, for example, without the great stories of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Without Paul the Apostle, or Moses and the prophets? Without the liturgy of the church, the wisdom and reflection of generations of saints, mystics, preachers, theologians, writers, scholars, artists and poets, as well as multitudes of ordinary Christians?

Yet among all of these one is unique — Mary, his mother. She knew Jesus from birth to death and resurrection and she knew him in a special way, as mother. She wrote nothing down — no words, no recollections are directly attributable to her — but the church does not think of her as a writer of recollections. Rather Mary is a living presence among us, who communicates a holy wisdom. She is a guide to those who walk by faith; an agent of the Holy Spirit, who helps us to know the mysteries of Christ.

She was there when they crucified him. A few simple sentences of the gospel describe her role: “There was standing by the Cross of Jesus, Mary, his mother.” Long before that moment she had learned to walk by faith, to wait, to trust , to believe. Then, as she stood stood there watching her Son die, Mary was tested as never before. And she did not falter.

The mysterious words of Jesus — “Behold your mother” — are meant for us, as well as for the disciple who stood watching with her. When the mystery of the Cross falls on us, Mary has been promised to us. She will be at our side, a brave companion who knows how to stand in the dark time of Calvary and wait for the light.

Come, let us adore the Savior of the world,
who chose his mother as a companion in his sufferings.
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother,
sustained by the vigor of her faith, hope and flaming love.
Psalm 116, 10-19
I trusted, even when I said:
“I am sorely afflicted,”
and when I said in my alarm:
“No one can be trusted.”

How can I repay the Lord
for his goodness to me?
The cup of salvation I will raise;
I will call on the Lord's name.

My vows to the Lord I will fulfill
before all his people.
O precious in the eyes of the Lord
is the death of his faithful.

Your servant, Lord, your servant am I;
you have loosened my bonds.
A thanksgiving sacrifice I make:
I will call on the Lord's name.

My vows to the Lord I will fulfill
before all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst , O Jerusalem.
Reading: 2 Timothy 2, 10-12a
I bear it all for the sake of those who are chosen, so that in the end they may have the salvation that is in Christ Jesus and the eternal glory that comes with it. Here is a saying that you can rely on: If we have died with him, then we shall live with him. If we hold firm, then we shall reign with him.

God of mercies, the Holy Virgin placed her hope in you and kept your word in complete faith,
— may we receive your word with ready faith and enduring hope.

Most loving Father, when Jesus who is life itself died on the cross, the faith and hope of the Virgin Mary lived on,
— let us find in the hardships of this life sources of grace.

God, author and lover of life, whose Son even now is crucified and is dying in his brothers and sisters,
— may we stand with Mary at the countless crosses of the unfortunate, and bring them love and hope of resurrection.
Our Father...

Lord our God,
when your Son was lifted high upon the cross,
you gave his mother strength
to stand beside him
and share his sufferings.
May your Church share with her
in the passion of Christ
and be one with him
in the glory of his risen life.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Illustration: Duk Soon