September 15, 2020 – Tuesday; Feast of the Our Lady of Sorrow
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/091520.cfm)
To experience pain in life can become devastating and even maddening. Having a toothache can completely destroy your day. Having a headache can affect your daily activities. Indeed, when pain becomes unbearable and frustrating, it affects our daily routine and activities, our work, even our sleep and relationship with friends and family.
Who would really want to be in pain? As much as possible, we avoid pain. Consequently, the medical science developed pain relievers that would take away slowly or instantly the aches and pains we feel in our body. In fact, a particular field among doctors has been developed to assist patients who will undergo surgeries through the use of anesthesia. Through its use, the patient will have a painless surgery so that he or she will be able to have a quality life.
However, no remedy can be given to a heart that is bruised, abused, betrayed and/or humiliated. No doctor can apply anesthesia to a deep emotional pain. It can even linger and deepen with time. For such reason, some would succumb to it without any help from others and end their life. They see it as the only remedy to end that deep emotional pain they have been enduring in their life.
This is the sad part because pain will really be unbearable and life-threatening when it is faced alone. Today, as we celebrate the Feast of Mary, the Our Lady of Sorrows, we are reminded that pain in itself is all part of our life. No one can escape pain. Everybody will surely meet pain in different degrees and aspects of life. And what this feast is reminding us now is the wonder and the beauty in confronting and carrying pain with others.
Let us remind ourselves at the prophecy of the old Simeon. This old man had been waiting for the appearance of the Christ. When the baby Jesus was brought by the couple, Joseph and Mary to the Temple, behold, Simeon had caught sight of Light, the salvation of the world. However, this child will be responsible for the rise and fall of many in Israel. What he meant, was the rising of the humble, the poor and those marginalized by the society into the heart of God and the fall of the powerful, the self-righteous and the corrupt. For this reason, the infant will be a contradiction. The child will bring change and transformation to all that can be painful to those who seek comfort and power, titles and riches.
Being a contradiction to the world, the child himself will undergo a terrible pain of betrayal, of dying and of death in which no amount of pain relief medicine or anesthesia can aid. Moreover, the same amount of pain was also given to the mother of the child, to Mary. As Simeon prophesied, “you yourself a sword will pierce.” Mary’s heart will be pierced with so much sorrow and pain as she suffered with her son.
Every blow to Jesus, Mary also endured. Every insult to her Son, Mary also suffered. And every agony of Jesus, Mary also agonized. However, despite all these gruesome and painful events in the life of Mary, she did not hide. Mary did not escape into dreams. She did not ran away into loneliness and depression. Mary bravely confronted pain by being with her Son, by journeying with him until his last breath.
Why is that? When people would hide and ran away from pain as what the men disciples did, but, Mary bravely faced that sword piercing in her heart and suffered in silence along with her Son. What gave her the courage? What made her to stand beside her Son and her Lord?
It was love that sustained Mary. It was her deep concern and affection to the person whom she loved that moved her to be with Jesus and to also suffer with him. And to the suffering Son on the cross, the presence of her mother was the best comfort he had. The presence of Mary was more powerful than any pain reliever or any amount of anesthesia applied to the dying Son. Though, Mary’s presence did not take away the pain, but her presence made Jesus to be more resolved that there is hope in humanity.
Mary’s presence on the cross is a testament to God that humanity can show so much concern and love to a suffering person. That’s why pain is never the end, suffering is never the last thing in life. The glory of the resurrection of Jesus tells us of that freedom from pain and promise of joy. We can attain that, by being together, by not suffering alone, but by allowing others to suffer with us or by allowing ourselves to suffer with others. Certainly, to live life will bring pain in us, but it will also bears fruit joy because of being with our friends and loved ones.
Thus, on this feast of Mary, we are also called to be an instrument like Mary, to give comfort to those who are suffering and in pain in many ways, physically, spiritually or emotionally. Let our presence be an assurance of friendship, of love and concern to those who are in terrible pain this moment. For those who are in pain also, never retreat, deny or hide the pain or escape from pain, but allow others to journey with you. Allow those who love you to hold you and to embrace you. They may not take away the pain you are feeling, but let their presence, friendship and love be your source of comfort and confidence in your trying moments.
May Mary, the Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR