Monday September 15, 2014
Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, Patroness of the Congregation of Holy Cross: John 19:25-27
Today is the feast day of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Mary, mother of grief and sorrow stood next to the suffering of her son. We are called to stand next to the Body of Christ that still suffers, all people in need.
I sketched this woman on Saturday afternoon to prepare for our feast day. This woman is the mother of all who suffer. Her mouth and tears reveal to us this profound message that she cannot contain her pain and that of her children. She is the mother of a murdered child in a neighborhood in Chicago. She is the mother of a twelve-year old caught in human trafficking on the Interstate 5 corridor on the west coast. She is the mother of a meth addict in Atlanta or the grieving mother who just lost her child by a drunk driver in mid-America. This mother bends down to hold the forehead of her child as he vomits over the toilet in the nighttime. She holds her newborn grand-baby suffering from colic. This mother weeps for people in all generations, for all people, no matter our ethnic background or the color of our skin. Mothers know grief and loss and we all look to God to take our pain away.
This sketch could also be interpreted in another way. Her mouth is forming an “Amen” in the summary of a sung spiritual, the last note of her wailing in faith. Her tears become a combined expression of fear and grief as well as fulfillment and hope. This mother gives her complete life to her children and her complete emotions to Christ Jesus. She is at the same time exhausted and yet profoundly full of joy.
Mary, Mother of Sorrows, received the promises of her Son, Jesus. Her suffering is redeemed in the face of God. Mary holds our depression, loneliness and isolation, our wars and violence, our addictions and mental illness, our hopelessness and even our despair. All people will be redeemed in the Cross of the Crucified, in the promise of Jesus Christ who rose from the dead.
Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.