The First Reading speaks of Jesus learning obedience through what he suffered. This shows us that suffering teaching us obedience to God and obedience makes us perfect. Obedience is not easy as the First Reading tells us: Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears. In our suffering, we also struggle and try to make sense of it. Mary the Mother of Jesus is no exception to suffering. When sufferings come, many often ask why me, I have done nothing wrong. This is not the right question to ask because when we look at Jesus and Mary, they have never sinned yet they suffered the most.
Mary suffered because Jesus suffered.
Ask any parent, especially mothers, how they feel when they see their children suffering. This is why we honor her as our Lady of Sorrows because she is united with Jesus in his suffering.
The Gospel shows us this suffering has been prophesied to her as Jesus was presented in the Temple. Simeon tells her a sword will pierce your own soul too. As Jesus causes the falling and the rising of man in Israel, he will be opposed so the inner thoughts of many will be revealed.
The opposition to Christ is an expected response because Christ shows what is in our thoughts. It is precisely this opposition to Christ and what it leads to, his Crucifixion and death, that will pierce the soul of Mary.
So what can we learn from Mary in terms of suffering?
- Suffering is a part of life. We will not suffer less because we obey God or are faithful to him.
- Suffering reveals our thoughts. The way we react shows us who we are.
- Suffering teaches obedience to God. This does not mean we need to go out of our way to look for suffering. This also does not mean God wants us to suffer. Suffering is never God’s will. But suffering purifies us and makes us turn to God. In our lives here on earth, we may never know why we suffer. But we know God uses it for our good: to make us perfect just as he is perfect.
Lord, I come to you in my suffering. Hear me Lord. Deliver me, incline your ear to me. Rescue me quickly. I know you hear me even if I do not see you. Come Lord, show yourself to me. I trust you Jesus because my life is in your hands. Our Lady of Sorrows, help me in my suffering. Lead me to your Son so I may know him and trust him.