“If you love, you are going to suffer.” — Fr. Michael Woods
Today, September 15, is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.
The Gospel for today is John 19:25-27
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.
Imagine the horror and pain in the heart of Mary in seeing her Son raised on the Cross. If you love, you are going to suffer. You will suffer the sufferings of those you love. What greater suffering is there for a mother than to see her child suffer? What mother would not take on that suffering herself, if she could?
St. Paul, in his Letter to the Colossians, says, “Even now I find my joy in the suffering I endure for you. In my own flesh I fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of his body, the church. I became a minister of this church through the commission God gave me to preach among you his word in its fullness” (Col. 1:24-25).
What does St. Paul mean when he says, “I fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ”? St. Alphonsus Ligouri writes, “Can it be that Christ’s passion alone was insufficient to save us? It left nothing more to be done, it was entirely sufficient to save all men. However, for the merits of the Passion to be applied to us, according to St. Thomas [Aquinas], we need to cooperate by patiently bearing the trials God sends us, so as to become like our head, Christ.” (Reflections on the Passion).
Surely Mary, of all others, bore well the trials she suffered. Surely, she is our mother, as well, for Christ Himself gave her to the care of the Beloved Disciple, who is our brother in Christ and who, at that moment, represents our receiving Mary as our mother. Surely Mary suffers for us even now, when we struggle against temptation, when we are in need of grace for endurance against a world that would beat the faith out of us, when we are discouraged by the example even of those in the Church who leads so many astray by their false teaching.
Today is a good day to pray a rosary. Pray for Pope Francis, as he leads the faithful to reach out in mercy to others who are wounded and have forgotten God. Pray for your bishop, that he may be strengthened by God’s grace to govern, teach, and sanctify in fidelity, even as he may be called to suffer for it. Pray for your pastor, who may be weighed down by the grief and sufferings of his parishioners, sharing in their suffering like a good father, only inspired to carry such with the joy St. Paul experienced in doing so. Pray for parents who share in the suffering of their children and who desire nothing more for their children than the joy of God’s kingdom. Pray especially for mothers, who so often share in the sufferings of their children even in their own bodies.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.