‘We share in the sufferings and death of those we love.’
S. Francis de Sales
Tomorrow is Mothering Sunday; and a dear friend of mine is looking forward to tomorrow a bit more now than she was yesterday morning : but still not as much as she’d like to be.
A bit more than she was, because her Mother is now – to use that wonderful hospital phrase – ‘comfortable’ : although quite what that means for someone who’s had a stroke, I don’t know.
Not as much as she’d like to be . . . well, I think you can work that out for yourself, really, can’t you ? After all : who enjoys the idea of spending Mothering Sunday visiting Mum in the Stroke Ward of the local hospital ?
I was thinking and praying about this when I came across the quotation from S. Francis de Sales which heads this post; and it occurred to me that it was particularly appropriate to the situation : because obviously my friend, with the rest of her family, are going to share, in a particular way, in her mother’s suffering – mental, physical, and emotional – over the next few days and weeks.
Equally, as we approach Passiontide and the Sacred Triduum, we may find those words of S. Francis remind us of another important dimension to our spiritual journey through that holy season – one which I suspect many of us only normally think of on Good Friday, or when we do the Stations of the Cross : Our Blessed Lady’s share in Our Lord’s Passion.
I’m sure that many of us know the Devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady; and hopefully use it frequently : but I think we ought to try and remember that it wasn’t just those ‘seven swords’ which pierced Mary’s heart – she shared in every part of Jesus’ life, and death; because she was his mother.
So, if we try and think of the events of Passiontide and the Triduum as they felt to Our Lady, we shall get a new perspective on them; and a new perspective is always valuable in preventing us getting ‘stale’ about things which we repeat regularly, not to mention exciting us to greater devotion to Our Lady.
At the same time - and I think more importantly - we should dare to remember that Our Lady is not only Jesus’ mother : she is our Mother as well, so that we can take heart from S. Francis’ comment by realizing that she shares in our sufferings, and sorrows, and deaths, too . . . that, as she was with Our Blessed Lord, she will be with us - every step of the way until, please God, she is there, with Our Lord, to welcome us into our eternal home : an end which I sincerely pray for us all.
. . . and talking of praying, whilst my friend would be horrified were I to put her mother’s name on the web (as would her mother, I’m sure), God knows who she is, and I would ask you to pray that His will be done in her, and that she and her family have all the grace they need to accept His will gladly, and trust in His love : and may He richly bless you for your care and concern.