As we approach the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15, Bishop Earl Boyea invites you to join him in daily meditating upon the seven sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary who shared in the suffering of her beloved son, Jesus Christ.
“Some of these episodes are found in the New Testament and others are conjectures,” explains Bishop Boyea, September 7, “We will examine then both direct and indirect references on Mary’s sorrow over her son’s life, passion and death.” The seven sorrows are:
• The prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35)
• The flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15)
• Loss of the Child Jesus for three days (Luke 2:41-50)
• Mary meets Jesus on his way to Calvary (Luke 23:27-31; John 19:17)
• Crucifixion and Death of Jesus (John 19:25-30)
• The body of Jesus being taken from the Cross (Psalm 130; Luke 23:50-54; John 19:31-37)
• The burial of Jesus (Isaiah 53:8; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42; Mark 15:40-47)
Today, Bishop Boyea meditates upon the scene of Simeon’s prophecy to Mary as she and Joseph bring the infant Christ to the temple in Jerusalem. He says:
Typical of Jewish parents, Mary and Joseph have taken Jesus into the temple to offer him to the Lord as the first-born son. There they meet an elderly man, Simeon, whom we are told is righteous and pious. Like any grandfather-figure he asks to hold this baby. Three times our text talks about the Holy Spirit guiding him (Luke 2:21-35). It is in that Spirit that Simeon praises God for sending this salvation of Israel.
At the end of these very positive words, Simeon turns to Mary: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35). This is not something any of us would want to hear about our kid or about ourselves.
Yet, if we reflect upon this child, who is the new Adam, given us by the Father to restore all things back to the Father, it is clear that Mary has been invited to partner with her son in his great mission. It is as though God’s initial plan in Genesis is being reworked. There God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him” (Genesis 2: 18). Mary is indeed that suitable helper.
Thus, it is appropriate that her heart will also be pierced. As we will see in the Gospel of John, “one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out” (John 19:34).
Sisters and brothers, many of you have experienced or watched your wives experience what Jesus described at the Last Supper: “When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world” (John 16:21). Mary’s incredible joy at being part of God’s plan will always be tempered by her participation in Jesus’ following the Father’s will. God’s will for us should also bring us great joy, even when we are called to endure the trials of this life for the sake of that good which God wishes to achieve.