This is the Month of Our Lady of Sorrows and can be an important time to reflect on the sufferings of Mary. As she experienced many joys, we can also see her example of love and trust through her sorrows. The difficulties seen in our own families can be reflected upon through the 7 Sorrows of Mary.
“...And thy own soul a sword shall pierce…” (Luke 2:35).
Through the Prophecy of Simeon, Mary is given a glimpse of the suffering she will endure. We may also be faced with the potential of suffering through the results of actions made by those we love. Understanding that we are not in control may help us to place our faith in God just as Our Lady did.
“...Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt…” (Matt. 2:13)
The Flight into Egypt shows the Holy Family’s need to seek refuge from the immediate danger of Herod. These days, the family also faces dangers from outside forces that are determined to uproot and distort the true value and need of strong parents and well-formed children. Like the Holy Family, parents may need to choose to remove themselves from circumstances that could harm their family.
“...the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not.” (Luke 2:43)
Mary felt the sorrow of losing Jesus when he remained behind on their journey home. When a child wanders from the faith or struggles to live by the virtues taught when they were little, parents can relate to the sorrow Our Lady experienced.
“And bearing his own cross, he went forth to that place which is called Calvary…” (John 19:17)
Jesus carrying the Cross and his Crucifixion were two very intimate and powerful experiences of sorrow that Our Lady faced… she had immediate contact with the suffering of her child and his death. Families may struggle with sudden illness and death that may shake their foundations. But we can turn to Our Lady for strength… just as she stood tall beneath the Cross, accepting the sorrow and knowing its purpose.
Mary’s grief was renewed when her son was taken down from the Cross and then laid in the tomb. Fears and insecurities of family life may cloud our vision of the end goal, of bringing each other closer to Christ. But like Our Lady, let us embrace the sorrow as she embraced her Son.
Our Lady saw great suffering in her life, just as we may see in our own, but she never lost hope in the promises that God would purify those sufferings. By reflecting on the 7 Sorrows of Our Lady, we can see her unfailing fiat as an example model after when we experience pain, loneliness, and loss.