Today we mark the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. While the memorial has a complicated history and has been all over the calendar, the fundamental concept celebrated is one that every mother can well understand, how deeply a mother feels the suffering of her child.
Yesterday we celebrated the Exaltation of the Cross, and so there is a certain logic that today we stop to reflected on how Mary felt the crucifixion of her son, and the events leading to it.
The traditional list of seven sorrows are rooted in scripture. They are
The Prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:34-35)
The Flight into Egypt. (Matthew 2:13)
The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2:43-45)
Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary. (Luke 23:26)
Jesus Dies on the Cross. (John 19:25)
Mary Receives the Body of Jesus in Her Arms. (Matthew 27:57-59)
The Body of Jesus Is Placed in the Tomb. (John 19:40-42)
Any parent who has lost a child will tell you that it is a wound that never heals, not in this life. But today's memorial reminds all those who are suffering that they are not alone.
In our culture so often we feel the need to deny the pain, put on the brave face, and "get over it" as quickly as possible. Today's memorial reminds us that it only in our willingness to acknowledge our suffering and unite it with the suffering of Christ that it and we can find resurrection and new life.