Our Lady of Sorrows: A Journey of Hope

Author: Fr. Luc-Franck Jean-Pierre, C.S.C.

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While visiting the shrine dedicated to our blessed founder, Fr. Basile Antoine Marie Moreau, in Le Mans, France, I was amazed by the stained-glass windows illustrating the seven sorrows of the Virgin. As I encountered this weeping face, the first words of a Haitian song came to mind: "Mary, you look like a Haitian woman, a mother who knows what pain is, what misery is....” The journey of our Blessed Mother, from the Annunciation to the Cross, is a path of suffering strewn with hope.

The Church, by celebrating the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, in the aftermath of the "Glorious Cross,” associates Mary with the sufferings of her Son. In the Trinitarian event of the Cross, humanity discovers a love more original than sin. The Cross is thus the fruit of an oblative love without measure, burned in the crucible of suffering, judged by the spit, the whip, and the nails: instruments of torment, humiliation, and failure. Yet it is by his wounds that we are healed (1 Peter 2:24).

Mary, standing at the foot of the Cross, meditated in her heart the passion and crucifixion of her Son. A woman of hope, faithful to her primitive and definitive "yes", she will inherit from her son universal motherhood: "Woman, behold your son (...) behold your mother" (John 19:26,27). The "fiat" of the Virgin of Sorrows urges us to remember that, like her, we have said "yes" by abandoning our own wills to commune with divine Providence. It is a testimony if our response is consistent with the hope, we bring to our suffering world.

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Jesus's encounter with the evils of this world: pain, sadness, anguish, injustice, illness, and even death is a struggle for the triumph of life. Meditating on the scene of the widow of Naim (Luke 7:11-17), a mother overwhelmed by the loss of her only son, we contemplate Mary, accompanying the only Son of God and also her own only son, on the way to Calvary. Her face reflects the pain and worries of mothers all over the world, helpless in the face of their children's suffering, sometimes at the risk of their lives.

We are thus divided between two processions: that of life with Jesus, and that of death with the widow of Naim. However, in our encounter with Christ, life has already triumphed over suffering and becomes victorious over death itself. Indeed, Christ crucified, and glorified by the Father is the place of our new birth from which springs our only hope, and the source of all hope. The life of Mary, our patroness, anchored in Him, is an itinerary of faith and hope, driven by charity.

This reflection written for the patronal feast of the Congregation of Holy Cross was written by Fr. Luc-Franck Jean-Pierre, C.S.C., of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Province in Haiti. Fr. Luc-Franck currently serves as the Secretary of the Provincial Superior.