Sunday, May 13, 2012

Why Mary doesn't look Happy

Growing up Catholic and then becoming a Catholic missionary, I saw lots of pictures and statues of Mary, the Mother of God. I always wondered silently to myself, "why doesn't she look happier?" I mean here is a woman who was chosen by God to be the mother of our Lord. What a privilege. She had the perfect son, the perfect child. And yet, in most of the images of our Lady she appears to be, well, just not happy. She usually has a peaceful look on her face. Her eyes, however, tell a different story. Her eyes always appear to be sad.

When Christ died for us on the cross He gave us His mother to watch over and guide us- to mother us. Now Mary's role included Queen of Heaven and Earth and Mother to all of God's children. I am convinced that this is the very reason Mary looks the way she does. She cannot turn away from the suffering, even in her happiness and joy.

I have been praying a lot on this in the days leading up to Mother's Day.  I want to be happy. I should be happy. And I guess there is a part of me that is happy. Abigail is alive and well and in my arms. And as one sweet lady put it at church today (I am sure she didn't mean it this way) "Oh, honey, this year you can stand up when they bless all the mothers." And all of these things should bring me joy and do bring me joy.

But underneath I still have so much sorrow. More so for others this Mother's Day. I know the depth of pain I feel at losing Caleb. But my heart aches today not only for his absence, but for all the mothers out there who are suffering. Knowing how much pain people are in really makes it hard to celebrate. And I think that is why Mary is portrayed the way she is. She has joy, she has peace, but the majority of her heart is filled with sadness. Sadness for those who choose to turn away from her Son. Sadness for those who have never heard of her Son. Sadness for those who are suffering. Sadness for all the mothers who have had to hold their dead child just like she held her dead son.

So this Mother's Day we will celebrate (still not sure what that looks like or how to do that). But I will struggle with happiness because my heart is like our sorrowful Mother's- its sad. And like Our Blessed Mother I will continue to trust the Lord with all the suffering I encounter. I will continue to ask Him for peace and the grace to follow His will, just like Mary did, no matter how much suffering it brought her.

Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows- Pray for us

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