Monday, September 17, 2012

Sorrowful Mother

     We have two parishes in our diocese that are in close proximity to this parish that bear the name of Mary, the sorrowful mother - Seven Dolors in the village of Yukon and Mother of Sorrows in Murrysville.  They are very different parishes in size and make up as well as type of community, but they share a common identity with the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Seven Dolors refers to the seven sorrows that touched the heart of Mary and caused her to be known as the Mother of Sorrows.  [ There is an interesting story that may or may not be true that when the then bishop of Pittsburgh, John Wright, was forming a new parish in the Monroeville area bordering Murrysville, he named the parish Our Lady of Joy in contrast to the neighboring Mother of Sorrows ].

     Mary's sorrows centered upon her son's crucifixion and death, watching helpless as he was rejected, brought to trial, condemned, tortured and crucified.  Tradition lists those sorrows as follows:  the Prophecy of Simeon (a sword of sorrow will pierce Mary's heart) ... the flight into Egypt to avoid Herod after Jesus' birth ... his being lost in the temple at the age of twelve ... her encounter with her son on his way to Calvary ... the crucifixion of Jesus ... her receiving the body of her son as he was taken from the Cross ... and his being placed and sealed in the tomb.  We tend to think of Mary as being very stoic and peaceful throughout these moments, which she may have been.  Her faith was deep and her trust in the Lord's love sustaining.  But she was a mother, a mother who grieved and struggled, a mother who lamented the injustice done to her son.  I remember being moved by the anguish of the actress portraying Mary in "Jesus of Nazareth" as she received the body of her son - real weeping and wailing as a mother would.  The same holds true with the movie "The Passion of the Christ" and that actress's expression of pain.  The Collect prayer for this feast speaks of Mary standing close by and sharing in the suffering of her son.  That love, that pain, that faith and trust needs to be recognized and imitated.

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