A Mary Moment Monday post

Nine days ago, it was Christmas. Nine days ago, it was a whole different year than now, 2010. Nine days ago, I began a special novena to Our Lady of Sorrows.

Today is an anniversary our family will hold dear and commemorate for many years to come. It is one that marked a ripping apart, a journey into pain, a year of worst fears coming true.

We have spent the year in prayer. We have spent the year with many tears.

We’re not done praying. We’re not done crying either.

All year, I’ve found myself examining Mary in light of sorrow and grief and especially in her title as Our Lady of Sorrows. I’ve gripped her hand and tried to let her do the worrying. I’ve placed worries and tears in her lap, trusting that her Son would nestle there and have special consideration for that heavy pile.

I want to write a lovely tribute about my deceased brother-in-law who, I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve come to admire and respect so much more in the closeness that’s come since his passing. I want to share deep thoughts and life-changing insights, but the fact is…I find that I can’t.

For one thing, it doesn’t feel like it’s my place. For another, I am at a loss for words. Though they usually string together for me, this time, they aren’t. They won’t. And I’m not forcing it.

When we watch our loved ones suffer, we suffer too. When we find ourselves unable to relieve them of their burden, we are changed, however slightly. This year, I have felt helpless, and I know I’m not the only one. I have done what I could, but it has felt piddling and inconsequential in the face of the huge pain and impossibility of so many aspects of this situation.

I have, above all, prayed.

So often, I hate being reduced to “just” praying. I hate not being able to show up and do-do-DO. And yet, looking back over the year and considering my own journey through grief with the people I love, I can’t help but see a glowing lesson, one that points me to prayer.

Today, I will begin another series of prayers. I will embrace Mary’s hand and marvel at the familiarity I find there. I’ll look to her face and find it as tear-streaked as my own, and I’ll remember that she knows this well. Not only did she carry her own grief through the Passion, but she looks on each of us, her children, and feels, so keenly, our burdens of heartache.

Perhaps more than anyone else, Mary understands.

Mary, Mother of Sorrows, be a mother to us.

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