"Only those who do not love God can say that suffering is cruelty.” – Father Ademar Spindeldreir
Our Lady of Sorrows, the simple woman of the Village of Nazareth, never touched by sin, was plunged into the ocean of pain to the point of being identified as Mother of Sorrows. A woman of fullness, of sincerity, a model of obedience, she became a servant of divine redemption. Her definitive “yes” to God impels us to continue forward in the face of the difficulties, the challenges, and the pains that we are encountering in the circumstances of life.
Like Mary Most Holy, the Mother of Sorrows, many Mary’s and many of us pass through the ocean of pains and agonies as we see our children in the various crosses and Calvaries—victims of the world's seduction, in a society confused and divided by human gain.
Mary, the Mother of God and our mother, is a reference of tenderness, hope, and overcoming as she continues to follow her son to Calvary. When he held him slain in her arms and saw him laid in the grave, she remained steadfast in the pain.
Popular devotion developed the title of "Our Lady of Sorrows.” Mary shows herself as a strong woman, who faces difficulties, injustices, and the sight of her son whom she loves to be crucified. But she stands at the foot of the cross and receives the body of her son from the wood of the cross. Only she who loves so much is able to perceive the action of God in her lives, even when witnessing the death of her son; in the midst of her mourning, her soul glorifies God.
We, like the whole Church, remember not only the sorrows of Mary for the suffering itself, but also for the pains offered, because Mary participated in the redemptive activity of her son, Jesus Christ our Lord. In this way, Mary is a model for the Church, which points us to a new life in Christ, to build a civilization in love, justice and peace.
In our 8th Constitution, paragraph 120 says: “There stood by the cross of Jesus his mother Mary, who knew grief and was a Lady of Sorrows. She is our special patroness, a woman who bore much She could not understand and who stood fast. To Her many sons and daughters, whose devotions ought to bring them often to Her side, She tells much of this daily cross and its daily hope.”
This paragraph expresses the essence of the Marian spirituality of Santa Cruz. The image of Mary at the foot of the cross, faithful to the end, bearing her cross with Jesus and witnessing to hope, is the center of our meditation. In his reflections on Mary, Father Moreau speaks of her suffering and the love she witnesses.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!
This reflection for the Vigil of the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, the Patroness of the Congregation of Holy Cross, was written by Br. Ginaldo Rodrigues, C.S.C., of the District of Brasil. He lives in Paudalho, Pernambuco, where he is Director of the Brother Norberto Vocational House, which leads the Congregation's vocational efforts in the region.
The image of Our Lady of Sorrows was painted by Fr. Ronald Patrick Raab, C.S.C. A member of the United States Province, Fr. Raab serves as Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Colorado Springs, Colorado.