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Our Lady of Sorrows

 

Often in Catholic circles we hold up the courageous faces of Saints, facing persecution with brave resolve. I need those faces as reminders to push forward, just as much as the next person. However, I also need their
H U M A N I T Y.
 
I've often shared with my kids that bravery is NOT being without fear; it is having the courage to go forward despite fear. Just as true, being a saint does not mean a lack of devastation and grief; it is feeling that and moving forward with God's plan anyway.
 
This Our Lady of Sorrows image captures the moment before Mary's step forward.
 
Mary poured her love into Jesus daily. She held Him to her bosom, rocked Him to sleep, and giggled at all of His toddler antics. Like all mothers, she kissed His scraped knees, listened intently as He wove stories and cherished those less frequent hugs as He grew into a teenager.
 
Historians estimate Jesus to be around 19 years old when Joseph passed. It follows then that in her early 30's, the responsibility for Jesus landed squarely on Mary's shoulders.
 
Mother's of older children can likely better speak to this stage; however, I imagine Mary's motherly vocation to be in a state of flux. Her need to protect and nurture reigned in by the reality that Jesus was a young man, in need of responsibility and independence. No doubt that Jesus felt the need to protect and care for His mother, as well.
 
The joy she must have felt as she watched Jesus give life to the lost hearts of so many. her heart bursting with love over His gifts used with such purpose.
 
And then the outrage, the attacks, the full body labor of standing aside, observing and not interfering with His crucifixion. Her child's very real cries of pain must have echoed through her entire being, as any mother can testify. The visions of heart wrenching gore permanently tattooed upon her heart.
 
Its THAT moment, her very human moment, when she's left alone with the burden of horrifying memories threatening to consume the good. It's the moment when the adrenaline is gone and the grief takes hold.
 
It's that moment of darkness when the only light comes from God. And she chooses to step forward and continue to follow Him.
 
He sees us in our grief. He warms us in the coldness of our despair.
 
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!
Your Sister in Christ,
Jill
 
Original piece created with white chalk and white charcoal pencil on archival black paper.
 

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