Thoughts from Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God
Chapter 4: Our Lady of Sorrows: Grieving Losses
And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his other Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many may be revealed-and a sword will pierce your own soul, too. (Luke 2:33-35)
During Lent, we often meditate upon the suffering of Jesus; what He did for you and me. It’s also a time to connect more deeply with Mary. As a mother now, I can relate to the profound suffering and pain she experienced through Jesus’ passion. Often it is too hard for me to think about it. But Mary is there for me, holding my hand and letting me lean on her as the women watching Jesus carry his cross and die also did.
Ginny Kubitz Moyer, author of Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God shares that it was not always easy to identify or even focus at all on Jesus’ suffering. She was “critical of what [she] saw as the negativity of traditional Catholicism, and such images seemed downright unhealthy. Why keep emphasizing the suffering…There’s enough loss in the world; why can’t church be a refuge, a place to escape from thoughts of pain?”
Later she began to understand the true meaning of suffering and why it is important to not only focus on it but even embrace it.
The best way to heal from pain is not to run from it, but rather to acknowledge its existence.
Ginny also realized that in order to really understand Jesus’ suffering and get through our own, we need someone who has been there before. We need Mary; Our Lady of Sorrows.
Thanks to Christ’s Resurrection, we know that earthly suffering is not the end of the story; nonetheless, for those who live in the midst of any kind of anguish, the long view can be very hard to embrace. It’s during these trying times that we wonder whether there really is any other sorrow like our sorrow.
For some of the women I interviewed, the fact that Mary has experienced intense grief makes her a very accessible figure. She’s not the superficial friend you call only when everything is going well, but the woman who understands your pain, and who lends support at your most vulnerable moments.