Saturday, February 18, 2017

Learning About Our Lady of Sorrows

Yesterday was the feast of the Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order. Since I love writing about all things liturgical or saintly, I had planned to create an article for this feast about why these men from the 13th century matter to us living in the 21st century. I had planned to talk about their devotion to Our Lady and her sorrows, those occasions in the Gospels where a sword pierced her heart (Lk 2:34-35). I had planned to discuss simple ways that we can draw closer to Mary under the title of Our Lady of Sorrows. 

Thankfully, I never had the time to write this article. I say "thankfully," because God had another lesson to teach me. See, learning about Our Lady of Sorrows isn't neat and tidy, like a 500-word blog post that has a list of facts and prayers. Learning about Our Lady of Sorrows-really learning about her-is agonizing, challenging, and full of tears. 

Today, I learned about Our Lady of Sorrows, and I witnessed the beautiful cord of suffering, mercy, and grace intertwined. 

In the corner of a small cemetery in rural Oklahoma, I saw a young married couple stand at the small grave where the tiny body of their infant lay hidden inside of a white casket. I noticed the grieving husband holding his wife tightly with love as she stood there, bouquet of roses in hand, tears streaming down her face. I heard as she led us in song, her voice wavering with tears as she called out to the Most High. 
Holy God, we praise Thy name! Lord of all, we bow before Thee!
I watched as the woman pulled a rose out of her bouquet and laid it on the casket, and as her relatives brought individual yellow roses forth to do the same. I stood in awe as this young wife and mother proceeded to walk among the crowd of mourners, pulling rose after rose out of her bouquet and handing them to us so that we, too, may lay a rose on the body of her son. And I prayed in silence as she stood to the side while her husband picked up a shovel and began filling in the grave with dirt, burying his baby boy. 

Today, I didn't just learn about Our Lady of Sorrows. Instead, I saw Mary's sorrowful love as she endured trials. I saw a young married couple hold onto each other at the foot of the Cross. I witnessed the loving support of a husband-similar, I would imagine, to that which St. Joseph offered to Mary during their times of sorrow. I observed the steadfast prayer and devotion of our grieving, sorrowful Mother in the prayers, perseverance, and love of the young wife and mother. 

I also rejoiced in the hope and peace that pervaded the atmosphere. Just as Mary held onto hope as Jesus lay in the tomb, so too, this young couple held onto hope of the Resurrection of the Body, and of eternal life with Christ. Even with the tears and hardships that have come in this trial, the grieving mother was still able to look me in the eye and speak about how grace-filled this experience has been, and how God is truly merciful. 

I am so humbled by all I have seen and heard today. To witness a beautiful couple embracing their cross together has moved me deeply. Indeed, in this one day, I have begun to learn about Our Lady of Sorrows-and about the Sacrament of Marriage. 


  1. Prayers for this grieving couple as well as their friends and family. May God give them strength to endure this together and remain close through all the pain and sorrow.

  2. I'll be praying for this family.
    God has an interesting way of using suffering to deepen our relationships with Him. Your account of this family communicates this mystery of how suffering (or sorrow) and hope can coexist. It's definitely more powerful than any neat and tidy blog post!

    1. Thank you so much, Shannon. It really is amazing how God uses suffering-very much like the story of Job, in the Bible.