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  • Writer's picturePhil

SORROWFUL MOTHER hOLY Saturday 11.4.20


Once she’d made her choice,

she didn’t have much choice.

Mary had the courage to trust in the God of the impossible, and to leave the solution in His hands.

Hail, Mary, full of grace the Lord is with you;” “Do not be afraid”!

With God, nothing will be impossible.

What would Joseph say?

“Do not be afraid”!

What about my Mother? My family?

“Do not be afraid”!

That seemed to be the stock answer – “do not be afraid”!

"Let it be to me

according to your Word…."

She is astonished.

She gives the right answer.

Mary’s “yes”

unlocks the door of heaven,

The dear Christ, ready to enter in.

Mary weaves a tapestry of praise

with her cousin Elizabeth;

her true radical and revolutionary nature is unravelled

as she declares the inheritance

into which her Son is to be born.

Mary’s family values are

Magnificat Values;

where the humble are exalted,

and those who think themselves

to be powerful are displaced.

Mary’s ”upside down” world

was the inheritance into which

He was to come…..

“Do not be afraid, Jesus”

The womb of thought

into which You were placed

was a place where God’s

“Yes” resonated…..

Hail, Mary, full of grace,

the Lord us with thee,

Blessed art thou among women,

and blessed is the fruit

of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us sinners, now

and at the hour of our death.

“Do not be afraid, Jesus”


With pride and dignity I sing my song of joy when I feel the Lord's presence.

I am poor and very ordinary, but one day the Lord looked upon me, and the history of the oppressed will give witness to my joy. God is unfettered and unpredictable, our great Friend.

And throughout our history we have been favoured, those of us who are weak; this triumphant force shows itself each day when He exposes the foolishness of the powerful. God uncovers the feet of clay of those in power,and nourishes the yearning of the poor.

To those who come hungry

God gives bread and wine,

And to the wealthy

God exposes their selfishness and the emptiness of their ways.

This is God’s desire.

God is faithful.

“And a sword shall pierce

your own heart too!”

In the midst of the joy

of the Infant Jesus’s

Presentation in the Temple,

old Simeon comes crashing in

with a bit of tragic reality

for the young Mother:

This Child will be “a sign of contradiction” destined to cause both the rise and the fall of many; further,

“a sword” will pierce your own heart too.

(Luke 2:35).

It is through the eyes of the suffering Mother of God

that we can most truly meditate on the profound suffering of Christ.

The weeping Mother, standing at the foot of the cross,

speaks to us because who feels a child’s wound more deeply

than the mother who bore him?

Others fled the cross.

Mary clung to it,

and if she could have traded places with her Son

she would have willingly done so.

The point of bringing children into the world is to lose them!

They begin as totally dependent,

but our role as parents is to enable them to leave us;

to allow them to become independent;

As soon as they are born

they are destined to let go of us….

and to grow further and further away from us; but still there is a special bond which, we hope and pray, remains intact, and binds us to one another without strangulation…..

Although strangulation becomes tempting

on both sides of the relationship

in those hormonally-tortuous teenage years!

Jesus was no exception. "The sword"

pierced Mary right through

on THAT Passover trip to Jerusalem!

She felt herself to be

the worst parent ever....

“...But I though he was with……!!!”

And that frantic and useless search

amongst the Nazareth Pilgrimage Group which proved so utterly fruitless that they retraced their steps and his….but there he was, still in the Temple, sitting with the teachers, teaching the teachers....

"Surely you KNEW I’d be

in my Father’s house?” – the audacity!

This account of Jesus in the Temple at Twelve Years of age

is something about that turning-point of life when our perceptions change.

It doesn’t have to be at twelve years of age.

It could be at 20, 40, 60 or 80……

Paul reminds us: “When I was a child, I spoke like a child,

I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child;

when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.”

Being a parent is a delicate balance of letting go, letting be,

allowing decisions, decisions to allow…..

being there, standing by,

even when in your own estimate head-on crashes with life are about to be made;

knowing when intervention is good or that the correcting of mistakes

should not be made……

God is the perfect parent – always there,

but allowing his children discover for themselves

the joys and sorrows of life,

and being there if the children call on him for help, for advice.

It’s the painfulness of loving-them-to-bits, wanting to lift their heartaches and problems on to your own shoulders for them, but knowing when not to, which is often.

It’s learning what love is –

whilst never losing that bond of love and affection and pride

in their doing and being….

They were worried about him, Mary, and the Family ….

had Joseph died by now? We only hear of Mother and Brothers.

How hurtful that must have been to Mary!

It’s a hard passage this. "When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him,

for people were saying, ‘He has gone out of his mind.’"

“Restrain him”! The family wanted to stop him in his tracks, because, apparently,

the movement was becoming so popular that Jesus didn’t have time to eat.

Isn’t that just so like a Mother!

No wonder Jesus was fed up with the family, if all they could do was put the dampner on his efforts for His heavenly Father. But that’s love for you!

Or at least that’s motherly instinct.

Kinship, says Jesus, is not dependent upon blood relationship

but upon the kinship we have with Jesus in doing the will of His Father.

We are his brothers and sisters if we say “yes” to God.

But hang on, Jesus, if there’s ANYONE who fits that bill, it’s Mary!

“Be it unto me according to your word” were not lightly said by her;

and she narrowly missed being stoned to death to bring you, Christ, into the world.

If Joseph hadn’t put her “privily away”, where would Christ be now?

You know, Mary could have rejected this piercing of her own heart, all this upset; she could have avoided the emotional sword-stabbing pain of her Son’s rejection when, after all, she was only thinking of him. Mary could have rejected this, and lived happily ever after in Nazareth, without “Be it unto me according to your word."

But she didn't. She said "Yes".


When does an ordinary life become extraordinary? A mundane day become revolutionary? A moment in time change history? When God enters in Forgives sin… Allows us to begin again… When we repeat, as did Mary; ‘May it be to me As you say’

With joyful hearts we proclaim your greatness, you who are God our Saviour. From age to age your mercy has transformed our world:

The mighty are toppled from their thrones and you raise up the lowly.

The rich are sent away while the hungry feast at your table;

The haughty lose themselves,

yet those who are faithful share in your blessing.

You have done great things for us,

raising us upon the wings of eagles,

opening our eyes to the wonder of life, the power of love.

Mary, the humble,

trusting maiden of Nazareth;

Mary, the joyful visitor of Elizabeth

at Ein Karem;

Mary, the travel-worn mother

of Bethlehem;

Mary, the mother searching

for her Son in Jerusalem;

Mary the sorrowful mother

of the Via Dolorosa;

Mary, the first to enter

where Christ had gone before….

When first the angel came and said

I was to have a child - a boy,and he was to be called "Son of the most high",he also said you would be great

and sit on David's throne,

and your kingdom would never end.

What sort of throne is this?

Your hands, so torn and bleeding!

I remember you would lie upon my lap,and I would take those hands in each of mine and gently clap them both together. You would laugh and, gurgling with delight,stretch out and touch my face...

Such kind and gentle hands you have, my son, and strong;but now, stretched out again, they cannot touch.

Those nails... Was it for this, my son, my son? Was it all for this?

All down the years, since that first day

when I was told I would become the mother of a son, I've hidden many things within my heart which no one else could know or understand.

I knew you would be different, and I've seen the signs of your authority as countless people came to you.

I've watched and heard you teach deep things you did not learn from Joseph or from me.

And, all along, I've heard,

deep hidden in my mind,

the voice of ancient Simeon -

that day we took you to the temple

to present you to the Lord.

He took you from me, in his arms,

and prophesied of you.

Then looked at me and said, "A sword will pierce your own soul too."

So this is it.

This is the sword he meant.

Yes, you were born for this.

This is how it was meant to be.

This is how it was meant for me…….”

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