We remember the sorrows of Mary on September 15th, the day after the church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. In John’s Gospel Mary stands bravely close to Jesus while others flee the dark happenings on Calvary. Standing beneath the cross of her dying Son was certainly her greatest sorrow.
Her sorrows were not confined to Calvary, however. They began earlier. Early in Luke’s gospel, the priest Simeon in the temple, taking the Child Jesus in his arms tells Mary this child will cause a sword to pierce her heart. His words were etched in her mind as she left the temple holding her endangered Child. Fleeing to Egypt, she protected him in her arms. Later, she sought him anxiously when he was lost on a Jerusalem pilgrimage.
These were hardly all the sorrows she faced, though. What of her long waiting in Nazareth, not knowing all to expect? What of the years her Son ministered in Galilee, when he faced rejection even from his own family? What of the ominous journey to Jerusalem? Those years brought, not physical sufferings, but sufferings of another kind.
Mary’s sorrows were the sorrows of her Son. Mary’s cross was a daily one she bore day by day. “O Lady Mary, thy bright crown is no mere crown of majesty. With the reflect of his own resplendent thorns, Christ circled thee.” (Francis Thompson)
Mary teaches us that our sorrows, whatever they may be, reflect the Cross of Jesus. They will not crush us or beat us down; they lift us up to glory.