Daily Reflection – Sep 15, 2016
Thursday 15 September 2016
First Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good
Psalm 117(118):1-2, 15-17, 28
Gospel Reading: Luke 7:36-50
Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
and you yourself a sword will pierce
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Standing by the cross of Jesus . . . (John 19:25)
Did you know that today’s feast wasn’t always called “Our Lady of Sorrows”? When it was first observed in the twelfth century, it was called “Our Lady of Compassion.” Doesn’t this perfectly describe an essential part of Mary’s relationship with her Son—and her relationship with us?
What is compassion? Think about how helpless you can feel when you see someone you love suffer. That person is hurting. You try to comfort them, but you can’t take away the pain. All you can do is share it.
Or think about a child falling and scraping his knee. A mother’s first impulse is to run toward him and gather him in her arms. The knee still hurts, but his mother’s embrace tells him that it’s going to be all right.
This helps us understand Mary. She went through scary, painful, and vulnerable situations with Jesus. Like any mother, she surely wanted to run and scoop him up in her arms when she saw his anguish. She couldn’t take away the pain. She didn’t always have the answer, but she could embrace him. And when she couldn’t do it physically, she remained close to him in prayer.
One traditional way to honor today’s feast is by praying through the Seven Sorrows of Mary: Simeon’s prophecy of a sword, the flight into Egypt, losing Jesus at the Temple, watching him carry his cross, the crucifixion, taking him down from the cross, and his burial. Rather than contemplating how sorrowful Mary was in each instance, try focusing on how she reached out to comfort Jesus. Imagine her rushing to lift him up, enfolding him in her arms. Picture her offering him a look of compassion and support when she couldn’t reach him.
Don’t stop there. Imagine Mary comforting you. She knows what it’s like to suffer. She embraces you; she prays with you; she reminds you that you are still in God’s hands. Let her hold you close. Let her warmth envelop you like a child in the arms of his mother. Then let her carry you to Jesus, who has every grace and blessing waiting for you.
“Mary, I am so grateful that you are my mother! Thank you for your heart of compassion.”