A mother’s love
For some, it can be difficult to understand or believe how much God loves each of us personally. Yet He lowered Himself to be among us, taking on our human ‘habit’, for just that reason. And to know that He would have suffered and died for any one of us, even if we were the only person begotten of Adam and Eve throughout time, is a profound thing.
Also profound is to realize that He loves each of us as much as He loves His mother. As each relationship is unique, He holds a special affection that is unique to each of us. But no love is held back from one person and given to the other; each of us is offered the fullness of His infinite love just as He has for His mother.
Mary, the fullness of the Father’s Grace, in her perfect integrity, embodies this infinite love for us as well. As with any relationship, every moment is an opportunity to begin or renew coming to know Mary’s heart.
The Seven Sorrows, or Seven Dolors, of Mary is traditionally prayed between the Nativity of Mary on September 8 and Our Lady of Sorrows September 15. It is also known as the Via Matris, or The Way of the Sorrowful Mother. Each reflection upon one of her sorrows is referred to as a station, similar to the Station of the Cross prayed for Jesus’ passion. The first sorrowful ‘station’ of Mary’s Way is the prophecy of Simeon from Luke 2:22-35. Our meditation:
“How great was the shock to Mary’s heart at hearing the sorrowful words, in which holy Simeon told the bitter Passion and death of her sweet Jesus, since in that same moment she realized in her mind all the insults, blows and torments which the impious men were to ‘offer’ to the Redeemer of the world. But a still sharper sword pierced her soul. It was the thought of men’s ingratitude to her beloved Son.” (Traditional 7 Sorrows service)
We see and are taken aback by the severity of her heartbreak at watching her son’s torture and death. We see her anguish as she holds His lifeless body, literally a bag of broken bones. And we sorrow that we are the cause of her sorrow, His having endured all of this for our sins. As the temple veil ripped (MT 23:45), surely Mary’s heart did as well.
In spite of our sins being the sword that eventually pierces her heart, she has the Father’s unconditional love for us, limited only to the extent of which any human can carry. Living with perfect integrity from the moment of her immaculate conception to her assumption into Heaven, she carries and gives the greatest amount of perfect love of which a human is capable. Mary loves us fully, desiring to have that special, unique relationship with each of us personally.
How do I respond to that?
Virgin beloved, who didst feel so bitter pangs of soul at seeing the abuse which I, wretch that I am, would make of the Blood of thy dear Son, obtain for me that in time to come I may better correspond to God’s mercies, profit by His heavenly grace, receive not in vain His lights and inspirations, and so be among the blessed number of those who are saved by the bitter passion of Jesus. Amen.
It is not an exaggeration to say that there have been few times in history where our own holiness is so desperately needed. The way to Jesus is through Mary, and the moment to begin to know her is now. St. Ignatius would recommend mass and confession to aid the situation. Examen daily to find God’s presence in both small and large aspects of your life and consider your response to that. Have honest conversations with Him in mental prayer, asking for grace and guidance to overcome sinfulness once and for all.
Then ask your Mother Mary for help too. Don’t be afraid to have those same, quiet conversations with her throughout the day. “Several years ago, I realized I desired to also experience this joy in Mary’s presence. I finally sat down in prayer one day and asked her how to be her daughter.” . Let go of any preconceived ideas you may hold about mother figures and let Mary mother you. She is already waiting for you. 😊
Virgin most afflicted, obtain for me that the same sword which pierced thy soul may pierce mine also, that I may live and die in the love of my Lord, and share eternally in that glory, which He has purchased for me with His most precious blood. Amen.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.
(Image: Stations of the Cross, Light of the World Church, Denver, CO)
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