Mary’s Mission: Beloved Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows
By: Mary Arcement Alexander
God did not bless me with children, but He did bless me with 14 amazing nieces and nephews whom I adore. The thought of watching any one of them suffer is unbearable and yet that is exactly what Mary endured. She watched her beloved Son not only die on the Cross, but also suffer unspeakable acts of torture and violence. I truly cannot imagine the pain she felt. In the movie, The Passion of Christ, there is a scene where Mary is reminiscing about Jesus as a child. The film shows Jesus, roughly age three or four, playing while Mary watched on. The entire movie made me sob, but that one scene did me in, for it showed the humanness of both Mary and Jesus. It showed how He was not only our Savior dying for our sins but also her baby boy whom she loved beyond imagine.
Our Blessed Mother suffered seven sorrows throughout Jesus’ life. Among them are: the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt, the loss and finding of Jesus in the Temple, holding Jesus after He was taken down from the cross, and His burial.
The Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt
“The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Matt. 2:13
Can you even imagine giving birth to your first child, falling in love with him, only to later find out he is in grave danger? Your sweet, innocent infant child in danger of being killed? That alone would be enough for me. However, Mary took it all in stride for she knew when she said yes to the Angel Gabriel she was also saying yes to more than she could fathom.
The loss and finding of Jesus in the temple
“Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Lk. 2:48-49
In my 20’s I worked as a nanny for two small girls. When Mary Taylor was about three years old, I took her to the mall and for one brief moment, which felt like an eternity, I “lost” her. Thankfully, she had not gone far but all I felt in those brief moments was fear and panic. Jesus was gone for three days, three days! I am sure if I could ask Mary she would say those were three of the longest, most terrifying days of her life. I imagine she did a lot of pacing, crying, biting of her nails and slept very little. The sheer joy she must have felt when she was finally able to hug her little boy on that fateful day in the Temple.
Mary holding Jesus after He was taken down from the Cross
His lifeless body lay in her arms. The same arms that first held him as an infant. The same arms that hugged him and held him when he fell down as a boy. The same arms he ran to as a small child. The same arms that bathed, fed, cared for him throughout his childhood. He came into the world in her arms and He left it in a similar way. As I close my eyes, I can see Mary gently caressing Jesus’ blood-stained face. I can see her push back His long hair. I can see the tears of grief stream from her weary eyes. I can see our Mother hold her Son, our Lord and Savior.
“They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, according to the Jewish burial custom.” Jn. 19:40
I remember my paternal grandfather’s burial vividly. The moment they began to lower his casket into the ground was heart wrenching. It still brings tears to my eyes. Placing her son in the tomb and then watching as they closed it up had to be even more heart wrenching for Mary. I like to think as Mary held Jesus after his crucifixion she savored every moment of having him in her arms one last time before they took him away. I like to think she memorized every line of his face, the shape of his eyes, the softness of his skin, and the feel of his hair as it fell on her arms. I like to think that although her heart was broken, she was also able to find peace in knowing she would spend eternity with him. I like to think that she would do it all again.