May the sorrow of God be echoed in my own.
This is a short Marian reflection.
Mary seems to me, very, very important, no matter what stripe of Christian you are. But moving right along, Let’s look at a few verses from the infancy narrative in Luke Chapter 2, so we can make a move towards what I am trying to say.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.’
And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother 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 will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’
Mary was full of sorrow at the death of her Son, as any mother should rightfully be, but as the picture of discipleship in the book of Luke we find that she not only embodies perfect devotion, but perfect co-laboring in and with the space that God has made for her to mother His Son. She does not sorrow to attain her motherhood, it’s de facto, and so too we do not labor to attain salvation, but we do labor because God in his mercy has made room for our weakness and our sorrow to be places where he may act as well.
The sorrow of the Father is expressed in and through Mary, who weeps and pleads and is struck with a sword in her own soul, as Simeon the Holy puts it to her. She is the place that supremely echoes the sorrow and travail of God among humans’ and to understand God’s call on our lives we should look to Mary as an example.
We’re called to work with God, to labor with Him, to sorrow with Him and we find no clearer picture than the joys, the sorrows and the mysteries of the life of Mary. She is the place where the sorrows of God are echoed in our own. We would do well to recognize this.