Sunday September 15, 2013
The Rev. James Flanigan, CSC drawing of Our Lady of Sorrows, depicts a mother standing at the side of her son dying of AIDS. This drawing, from 1991 brings the Sorrowful Mother to the reality of illness and death from a disease that was frightening and horrific especially during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Fr. Jim is a retired professor of art at the University of Notre Dame.
Today, September 15, the Church celebrates Mary as Our Lady of Sorrows. Our Lady of Sorrows is also the Patroness of the Congregation of Holy Cross. The Masses today in our Tri-community will celebrate this Solemnity because we are an apostolate of the Congregation of Holy Cross. In our Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross, we read a paragraph about Mary who stood at the cross of her son:
“There stood at the cross of Jesus his mother Mary, who knew grief and was a Lady of Sorrows. She is our special patroness, a woman who bore much she could not understand and who stood fast. To her many sons and daughters, whose devotions ought to bring often to her side, she tells much of this daily cross and its daily hope.”
The Seven Sorrows (or Dolors) attributed to the life of Mary come from the Gospels. Mary stood next to suffering in great hope. The Church today is also called to be messengers of hope, to stand with and among people in pain, weariness and fear. We bring hope to people because we believe in the Paschal Mystery, the passion, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus.
The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2: 34-35): Simeon told Mary that her son would be the rise and fall of many people and that a sword would pierce her heart so that many would know her thoughts. Today, we ask Mary to carry in her heart the secrets that harm so many in our community, the secrets of family emotional abuse, the hidden secrets of despair and our hidden sins. We ask Mary to carry any future disappointments or failures. Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13): Joseph responds to a dream to take Mary and Jesus into Egypt to keep them safe. Today, we pray for the safety and security of all refugees. We pray for all people that feel trapped by overpowering governments, hunger and joblessness. We pray for safe escape of our young men and women caught in human trafficking in Colorado and beyond. Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
The loss of the child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:43-45): Mary and Joseph thought Jesus was in the caravan after leaving Jerusalem. After three days, they found Jesus listening and teaching in the Temple of Jerusalem. Mary said to Jesus, “Why have you done this to us?” Today, we pray for all parents who have lost their children to addictions, arguments and misunderstandings. We pray for parents who lose their children to jail, prison, crimes and wrongdoing. We pray for people who are lost or separated from family members for reasons known or unknown. Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary (Luke 23: 26-32): Jesus, carrying his cross told the women of Jerusalem not to weep for him, but for themselves and their children. Today, we carry the tears for our children who are ill or close to death. We weep for ourselves who cannot change our children’s circumstances or cure their illness or heal their disease. We pray for those without healthcare or caregivers. We pray for all who cannot bear their burdens in our community and in our world. We pray for families who break apart amid such tension and loss. Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
Jesus dies on the cross (John 19:25): Mary and John are bonded by the words of Jesus. The Church is born in this moment from suffering and relationship. Today, we pray for our parish community and for the Universal Church, that we may make a home for all who cannot bear their burdens. Together, we enter into the depths of suffering, we admit our powerlessness and seek help. The cross becomes our only hope. We are called to live our faith in support of all people. Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
Mary receives the body of Jesus in her arms (Matthew 27:57-59): Mary receives her inconsolable suffering, the body of her son. Today, we pray for all parents who have lost a child in death or suicide. We pray for new hope from the compassion of our community as we witness and stand next to such suffering. We pray that our arms may by the weight of pain and loss in our community. Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
The body of Jesus is placed in the tomb (John 19:40-42): Mary and Jesus’ disciples stand together in their loss. Today, we pray for all who have died in our parish community. We pray for nurses, doctors, chaplains and caregivers who have cared for our loved ones. We pray for people who have died alone in apartments or outside on the streets. We pray for homeless teens that have died leaving behind their families. We pray for hope in our belief that we do not carry such loss alone or in isolation. Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
We pray this weekend for the Congregation of Holy Cross and our mission of healing, compassion and hope throughout our world.
Blessings and peace,