The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

Saint Agnes School | Contact Us

Our Lady of Sorrows

Fri, 09/15/2017
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

The sword of sorrow pierces the heart.
The idea of a sword of sorrow comes from the Scriptures.
In the Gospel of Luke, Simeon indicates to Mary,
as she and Joseph bring their newborn son and present him in the temple,
Simeon indicates that a sword shall pierce her heart.
Pain is foreseen in her future.  And not just any pain.
The pain of a parent who can only stand by and watch as his or her child suffers.
And worse, the pain of a parent who can only stand by and watch as son or daughter
senselessly and unjustly dies.
From the earliest times in Church history, Christians have seen fit to venerate Mary, the mother of Jesus,
as she stands at the foot of the cross, and sees her son, with his body torn and bruised and bloodied,
his hands and feet impaled by spikes, so as to secure him to a cross.
The Romans used this form of execution
to discourage, to demoralize, to tame the rebellions spirits of the people they conquered.
Personally I cannot feel the intensity of Mary’s anguish.  I can only imagine it.
Not having sired any children, I do not have that parent/child bond with another human being.
I have never experienced a parent’s love for his/her child or children.
Something that bringing life into this world makes possible.
Part of our veneration of Mary is to stand with her at the cross.
To meditate upon the scene before us.
To contemplate the experience of a heart pierced by the sword of sorrow.
To direct and focus our attention on this most difficult encounter between mother and son.
What passes between them as their eyes meet,
the desire of a mother to protect and save the life of her son;
the desire of a son to be comforted, to find security and protection, to find acceptance and love,
in the embrace of his mother.
What pain and distress, what grief and sadness, what feelings of helplessness
passes through that heart that can only watch
as her son’s eyes close for the last time,  as he breathes his last and his body goes limp?
Why think of such sorrowful things at all?
Shouldn’t we as Christians live in joy knowing the Jesus rose from the dead?
Shouldn’t we celebrate as we embrace the promise of sharing in new and eternal life?
It is a human tendency to take things for granted.
When we take things for granted we do not feel the need for gratitude and appreciation.
The best things in life, those of great value, those of untold importance, come to us at a great price.
Salvation from evil and sin, Redemption from the consequences of our own sin,
comes to us at the price of intense human suffering.
A number of someones experienced excruciating pain, physically, psychologically, spiritually
so that we might know communion with God and be assured of life hereafter in His Kingdom.
Few of us get through life without having some sword of sorrow pierce our heart.
The world would have us live lives free of sorrow.
The world would quickly have us relieved of sorrow by way of entertainment, diversion, and even denial.
Our faith does not alleviate the pain or the anguish.
Our relationship with Jesus does not protect us from feeling grief and mourning.
But it does sustain us. It holds us and supports us.  It carries us through, brings us to places of new joy.
I am of the belief that we can experience joy only to the degree of intensity
that we have experienced sorrow. 
If there is no joy in our life maybe it’s because there is no authentic sorrow in our life.
Today’s prayer:  “O Lord, through the intercession of Mary our Sorrowful Mother, and by the cross of Your Son Jesus Christ, give us the grace we need to trust that any and all human sorrow is temporary.  It will pass away with all worldly things and be replaced with a new life of eternal joy.  Help us to find comfort in You when any sword of sorrow pierces our heart.  Amen!”

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