Today is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Mary has many different titles, such as Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima, just as we have our given name and we pick up nick names along the way. Today’s feast focuses particularly on Mary at the foot of the Cross.
The gospel is the brief passage from John 19:25-27, when Jesus gives us his own mother to be our mother. We read:
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and
his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there
whom he loved he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
We can only try to imagine Mary’s sorrow. Her only Son is dying on the Cross and that very Son is asking her…commanding her to open her heart to another and to accept him as her son.
We’d say: “Lord, you’re asking too much of me! I’m so upset–I’m heart-broken! You, my Son, my beloved Son, are dying. How can you ask me to even think about accepting another in your place?”
That’s not what Mary said; that’s not what Mary did. Jesus asked this of Mary, because He knew where her heart was; He knew Mary had one home and that was in His Heart. The question we need to ask ourselves is: Where is our heart? What/Who is at the center? Ourselves? Another?
The challenge is that amid all of the confusion, the noise and the running around to find the time to create a space for peace and quiet. All too often like St. Augustine we search outside of ourselves looking, searching for what we already possess. The challenge is to take the time to sit in the sun and eat our pizza lunch, absorb the quiet, enjoy the sunlight as it enlivens the leaves, and become aware of the presence of Him who loves us. The challenge is to allow God to enlarge our heart, to follow Mary’s lead and to witness John’s example.
Here is a little poem, I wrote a few years ago, pondering John’s experience of hearing Jesus say: Behold, your mother.
May these words draw you closer to the Heart of Him who loves you.
Where Do You Live?
John lay his head
To rest on the chest
Of him who had no where
To lay his head.
Your mother! John
Took her into his home.
What home had he?
Save the side
Of him who died?