In some areas of the world, the Catholic Faithful pay homage to Our Lady of Sorrows of Castelpetroso every year on March 22nd. It is the story about two women who were tending their sheep when they saw a vision of the Blessed Mother. In this first vision, the Blessed Mother was holding the dead body of her Beloved Son, Jesus in her arms. It was very similar to the statue which we all know as the Pieta. In the vision, the Blessed Mother’s face was full of sorrow and I believe she was even crying tears of blood.
In the second vision, She appeared to them with the seven swords piercing her Sorrowful Heart… As I researched the story, (which I hope to write a complete post about) I found myself gazing upon the most sorrowful face of our Dear Mother….and looking at the images, I was overcome with the fact that Our Blessed Mother…the Most Beloved Mother of Jesus…a sinless creature, chosen by God from the beginning of time.… suffered a most immeasurable pain. A pain that would bring many of us to our knees… a pain so intense that it would cause many of us to question our very Faith in God.
All of the artistic renderings I viewed had one thing in common, they were all trying to convey just how much the Blessed Mother’s whole being was consumed with pain and compassion for the torments that Her Son would endure for us… It struck me, that today so many Christians today are preaching just the opposite… they preach a message of happiness and prosperity… According to them, if we love God, He will comfort us and keep us snug and happy….giving us physical blessings that show us just how much He loves us. An error filled message that says, that if we are good and do what God wants, that He will show us, as well as the rest of the world, just how pleasing we are to Him, by rewarding us with ease and plenty… by taking away our hurts and blessing us with happiness on earth. Somehow, as Christians, we have strayed from the teachings of Christ…from the Truth that we all will have to endure our crosses...our sufferings.…and Like the Blessed Mother we may even have moments when our hearts will feel as if they have just been pierced with a pain so deep that it causes us to shudder just to imagine it…
We have begun to accept the twisted notions of the world. Messages orchestrated by the very devil himself. These are messages that strive to separate us from the truth that Christ preached… from the Truth that Christ shared with His disciples and His Own Blessed Mother. There is a painful reality to it all. At times, your knees may buckle…you may fall flat on your face and feel that there is no hope left for you… But this is where the world has gotten it all wrong. This is where Christ will find you and lift you up towards His chest….His Heart …beating only with the love He has for us…each of us…you and me…
It is precisely in the moments of suffering that we are closest to Him. Closest to His own Mother. We must know this. Accept this as the Truth. We are called to suffer…some more so than others…and some will suffer in different ways and at different levels. But we must know that even of we pray for God to heal us or for God to heal a loved one who is very dear to us… Sometimes the pain continues…and the suffering goes on.
We must understand that even if He doesn’t answer the prayers with the answers that we want, that doesn’t mean we have been abandoned. That doesn’t mean that He doesn’t love us. In fact, if we look at the face of His Mother…look at the immeasurable pain that she endured…was allowed to endure….even though she was the Mother of God…. even though she was pure and holy…even though she was spotless from the stain of sin…He could have stopped it, after all He is God. But He did not. He allowed her to suffer. He allowed for His most precious Mother to endure such unimaginable pain as an example for us…as a model for our own suffering…our own redemptive actions… In order to become more like God…so that one day we may find our way to be with Him in Heaven…we must imitate Him in everything…His love…His Charity, His Mercy and His pain.
Prayer to Our Lady of Sorrows
By St. Bridget
O Blessed Virgin Mary, Immaculate Mother of God, who didst endure a martyrdom of love and grief, beholding the sufferings and sorrows of Jesus! Thou didst co-operate in the benefit of my redemption by thy innumerable afflictions and by offering to the Eternal Father His only-begotten Son as a holocaust and victim of propitiation for my sins. I thank thee for the unspeakable love which led thee to deprive thyself of the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus, true God and true Man, to save me, a sinner. Oh! make use of the unfailing intercession of thy sorrows with the Father and the Son. that I may steadfastly amend my life and never again crucify my loving Redeemer by new sins; arid that, persevering till death in His grace, I may obtain eternal life through the merits of His Cross and Passion. Amen.
Mother of love, of sorrow, and of mercy, pray for us.