Saturday, September 7, 2013

Our Lady

Our Lady, Mary, the mother of God, has been close lately. Today is the start of a nine day novena I'm beginning to Our Lady of Sorrows. I used to wonder why Mary had so many titles she went by. Now that I've gotten to know her better, it makes sense. So many titles for such an incredible woman. And we all have different titles-mother, daughter,sister, cousin, friend, boss, neighbor,etc. We have a title for whatever relationship we are in, and so does Mary.

Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady of sorrows is the name given to Mary to honor her sorrowful heart, the one that was pierced (Luke 2:34-35 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”) The novena I'm saying is a nine day prayer I say every day leading up to and ending on the feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows. I'm praying for all the moms who have lost a baby, for our ministry and for my own heart. I think its going to be good and I can feel Mary pulling me deeper into the mystery of herself as I begin this prayer time.

Another one of Mary's titles that's been sticking out to me lately is Our Lady of Ephesus. Of what? Exactly. I had never heard of this title until last summer when I picked up a book about Our Lady of Ephesus. Catholic tradition has it that after Jesus died, St. John took Mary and moved her to Ephesus, a town in Turkey. There she made a home in Nightingale Mountain and lived quietly until her death and assumption. I say quietly because even though Mary lived in the town of Ephesus, St. Paul had to come spend 2 years there evangelizing and converting the people! This shocked me when I put all the pieces together. How is it possible that Mary lived somewhere and the whole town was not conformed to Christ? I mean, who knows Jesus better than Mary? But for some reason, she was silent in Ephesus and lived her remaining years there.

I started feeling the tug to pray to Our Lady of Ephesus about a month ago-and I had no idea why. It just kept coming to me and during times when I would feel sad or miss Caleb, I would simply say-Our Lady of Ephesus, help me. Then on August 15 the Church celebrated the assumption of Mary-the day when her body was taken up, or assumed into Heaven. Another common name for Mary on this feast day is Our Lady of Ephesus!It's believed that her body was assumed into Heaven from her home in Ephesus. While I was praying that day, I was asking Mary specifically to help me with my vocation. It had been a rough week and I was feeling pulled in different directions and not sure if I was doing my best as a wife and mother. Then I heard her say,

"Just make a home without your son."

I realized why I was so drawn to Our Lady of Ephesus. It was because it was the only place Mary had lived as a mother without her son. For whatever reason, Jesus asked Mary to stay here on Earth after He ascended into Heaven. We don't know how long or why. So Mary stayed and she made a home in Ephesus, a home without her son. That must have been painfully hard. So many memories. I can almost  picture her sitting at her kitchen table, perhaps the one Jesus made as a carpenter, and crying because the house was so silent, so still. And that was her path to holiness during those years. She wasn't asked by God to be out in the streets telling people about her son. "Its too painful to talk about him," she told me, "people wouldnt understand my relationship with him, I didnt have the words for it, so I stayed quiet in my home." 

It was a prayer filled with grace for me. Since then I've really tried to re-dedicate my time to making a home without my son. Because I know that's my path to holiness right now. So many times I don't have the words for what happened in my heart when my son died. Its too deep and sensitive to try to explain to people, especially now over 2 years out. So quietly I'm going to build a home without my son. And there will be tears and continued heartache over his absence. There will also be Our Lady of Ephesus to guide me and cry with me because she knows how hard making a home without your child is.

As I reflect on the last month in my prayer I can see Mary with me constantly. As I continue to try to live again and breathe again and function again, she's there cheering me on. My prayer is that Mary can comfort you in your time of loss. I know some non-Catholics may be scared to go to her, but truly she always leads us closer to Christ. She's his mother and longs for us to be united not with her, but with her son. So please, if you feel called, pray this novena with me. Our Lady of Sorrows is there-she gets its, she's cried too many tears to count.

Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows-Starts on Page 7

Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Ephesus, Pray for us!

Mary's house in Ephesus!!


  1. Perfect, I'm praying that novena, too! Prayers for you!

  2. I have never heard of Our Lady of Ephesus before. What a beautiful connection you have found with her. I will be praying for all grieving mothers on the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.

    I have been missing Caleb a lot lately. I know that might sound funny since I never knew him out of your womb, but I find myself thinking of him almost daily. I can't help but think what good friends he and Tyler would be. I hope you know that in our family he will never be forgotten.