Today is the day that we commemorate Our Lady of Sorrows. Fr. Longenecker reflects on the seven sorrows of Mary in order to help grieving mothers:
So often in counseling or the confessional I come across grieving mothers. Mothers who are so terrible concerned for their children who are straying–mothers upset about their childrens’ loss of faith. Mothers worried about their children’s choice of spouse, their grandchildren’s religious education, their children’s career choice. You name it.
The typical male response is, “Get over it.” But I realize that the mother has a bond with the child that the father doesn’t really understand. Mama finds it difficult–very difficult to let go.
There’s a little line at the heart of Arthur Miller’s play, The Death of a Salesman where Willy Loman’s wife, Linda sits on the stage alone. Her sons have both turned out to be losers. One she hasn’t heard of for years. The other one is a layabout and a phony. Then her husband commits suicide. In her grief she says, “Life is a casting off.”
So it is. Life is about letting go, not grabbing. We must, in the end, let go of all things and go out of this world naked and alone–just as we came into it. Life is a preparation for this final letting go, and therefore we should start practicing how. Throw the lumber overboard! Life is a casting off.
This is where the devotion of the Seven Sorrows of Mary can help women. In the seven sorrows the Blessed Mother struggles to cast off. Of all women she has an even closer bond to her child than others. Because she has the perfect bond with her son, the tearing away of motherhood is even more poignant and painful. Identifying with her sorrows through this devotion can help women make sense of their own suffering with their families.
How does this work? Like this: First sorrow–the prophecy of Simeon that a sword would pierce her own heart also. Women who are suffering begin to realize that this special mother’s suffering is a way to draw closer to Christ and through their suffering a sword will pierce their own heart, and that this is part of the mystery of being one with Christ. Continue Reading…
The Word on Fire Blog also has a lovely reflection by Fr. Steve:
The poet Wendell Berry reflects that for parents, the only way is hard. We who give life give pain. There is no help. Yet we who give pain give love; by pain we learn the extremity of love… In other words, it may be different in another world, but in this world, all love requires a sacrifice, and with that sacrifice there is inevitable pain. To reject sacrifice as the condition for the possibility of love is to live an essentially loveless existence.Berry continues his reflection with this insight: I read of Christ crucified, the only begotten Son sacrificed to flesh and time and all our woe. He died and rose, but who does not tremble for his pain and loneliness, and the darkness of the sixth hour? Unless we grieve like Mary at his grave, giving him up as lost, no Easter morning comes… Continue reading…