Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119)
Luke 2: 33-35
Interestingly, the name Mary in Hebrew means not ‘joy’ or ‘peace’ or ‘favored one’ as you might expect; it means ‘bitterness’. Yes! Mary’s life was full of sorrow! Simeon laid this prophesy on her when Jesus was just 8 days old, “… and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Traditionally seven sorrows are assigned to Mary, not least of which was witnessing her Son’s brutal crucifixion. But there was other grief in Mary’s life as well – Joseph died before Jesus assumed his ministry; Jesus lived with his friends in Capernaum rather than in Nazareth caring for his mother; and her son publicly rebuffing her attempt to speak to him by saying, ‘Who is my mother and who are my brothers?’ and then pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers!’ This must have been a deeply grievous event for Mary! But it was this same Son, Jesus, who gave her counsel on how to accommodate the sorrows and grief of life: “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Left to our own devices, life’s sorrows can lead us into precarious places of darkness, despondency depression, and yes, bitterness. But when grief and sorrows are interpreted and healed by the Holy Spirit of God, any ‘gore-y story’ or mourning can be transformed into a ‘glory story’ of God’s living and loving Grace. Clearly as Mary lived through her times of mourning, she embraced not the curse, but the blessings that accompanied all the hurts and separations she experienced. And so the sorrows of her life did not break Mary, but ultimately strengthened her – to live beyond the loneliness of being a widow to share the mystery and ministry of Jesus with the crowds he was sent to save; to stand alone, defenceless amongst Roman soldiers at the foot of her son’s cross; and to journey beyond the death of Jesus to witness the resurrection and then become a respected Apostle of the Gospel ministering to the early Church. Will I, like Mary, see the blessing of God within life’s sorrows? Holy Spirit of God, comfort my sorrows by your blessedness. Holy Spirit of God, comfort my mourning by your blessing.
But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.” My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors. How abundant is your goodness you have laid up for those who take refuge in you! (Psalm 31:14-15 & 19)
Restore to me the joy of your salvation. With a spirit of fervor sustain me, that I might teach transgressors your ways, and sinners might return to you.
David, Psalm 51:12-13
Listen to Trading my Sorrows (Yes, Lord!) , by Darrell Evans https://www.google.com/search?q=i%27m+trading+my+sorrows&rlz=1C1SQJL_enCA890CA891&oq=I%27m+trading+my+&aqs=chrome.0.0i355i512j46i512j0i512l2j69i57j0i512l5.5671j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#fpstate=ive&vld=cid:dc2db448,vid:X5I86UXcrpQ,st:0
Soli ad gloriam Dei
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Beverly Illauq lives in Kemptville, Ontario, where she greets each morning by seeking the Gospel Mystery of the Day - the Word of the Lord for direct and practical application to the specific challenges & joys of the day.