Behold Your Sorrowful Mother

Behold Your Sorrowful Mother

Fr. Mark's homily for the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows: "A week ago, on Septermber 8, we celebrated the birth of the Blessed Virgin. Today we honor her as Our Lady of Sorrows. It is as if we were saying, “For this you were born.” In the reading from the book of Esther at Vigils this morning, Mordecai says to Esther, “perhaps it is for this that you have been brought into the king’s palace as queen, so that you can intercede with the king for your people in distress.”

Yesterday, on the Feast of the Holy Cross, we heard that “God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son.” Can we say the same about the Mother of Jesus? Let’s try. “Mary loved so much that she gave her only son.”

Mary love what so much? The world? But not in the way God did, who created it. It was and is his to love uniquely.

Mary loved what so much?

God? The gift of her only son out of her love of God was a gift in the service of what God loved, the world. So, for the sake of God, Mary loves the world and, just as she gave herself to receive her son, so she gives him back and loses herself, for God’s love and for what God loves: the world.

Or maybe, Mary loved Jesus so much that she gave him, her only son. For certainly, she knew about him before anyone else did, “for this reason I have come into the world, that the world might be saved.” Mary loves Jesus so much that she gives him, her only son, for the destiny that calls him and, more, for the thirst that drives him.

Or, finally, and which is not different from any of the above, Mary loved you so much that she gave her only son, as Paul said about Jesus, “he loved me and gave himself for me,” that you might live for God. Mary loved you so much that she gave what was most precious to attract you to your true self and away from illusion.

Jesus himself said, “I lay down my life freely and of my own accord.” But what he lays down freely, his human nature and his body, he had received from her, his mother. In giving her only son, then, Mary gave herself. It makes all the sense in the world that access to Christ is through Mary, or, through the Church, his Body and his Bride, of which Mary is the symbol.

A friend wrote that in the same week he had been deeply hurt by a sibling and violated by a trusted companion. The tension built up so strongly in him that, he says, he collapsed in sobs into the embrace of his fiancée. I thought how good it was she was there for him. Monks can be deeply hurt; we can have our hearts constricted by loneliness, hurt by disappointments; we can be reduced to tears and sobs for the afflictions of the poor, for injustice, for lies; but there is no one into whose arms we can collapse, whose hair to wet with tears.

But then, to whom was Jesus talking when we said, “Behold your Mother” sharing with you the endless Good Friday of loss? The beloved disciple: he, or she, took her, the Sorrowful Mother who gave all out of love, into her home."

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Prayer

Cistercian monastic life gives primary place of chanting the Opus Dei or Divine Office in community as well as personal time spent in sacred reading which fulfill the monk's sacred duty of seeking God.

Hospitality

Cistercian monastic life allows rooms for guests because all guests are to be received as Christ.  We never know if we have entertained angels.

Life in Common

Cistercian monastic life is communal:  We share all things in common as did the early Christian community so as to live in greater charity and union with Christ.