Uncle Eddy's E-mails -- September 15
Our Lady of Sorrows
Today I received a sad email from a dear and old friend. His wife was just killed in a car accident – a drunk driver (a college student, by the way) ran into her head-on; he emerged unscathed, but she was killed instantly. The news in itself was sad, but it gets worse.
My friend (the widower) has been completely unhinged by the tragedy. He has fallen into a deep depression, is blaming God for all his pain, and has renounced his Catholic faith. Here's how he puts it: "All my life I have been a faithful Catholic, going to Mass every Sunday, going regularly to confession, following all the Church teachings about how I should run my business and live my vocation as a father and a husband, and then this happens. I'm sorry Ed, but it's just too much…"
I share this with you because it illustrates something you need to know, something the Church tries to teach us by giving us commemorations like the one we are celebrating today, in which we recall all the sorrows of Mary, who suffered so deeply throughout her earthly pilgrimage, from the moment when Simeon prophesied that a "sword will pierce your heart too", to the fearful Flight into Egypt with Joseph and the Baby Jesus, to the mysterious loss of the Child Jesus for three days in the Temple, to his arrest, flagellation, march to Calvary, crucifixion, deposition and entombment.
Think about that for a second. Mary was the greatest human being who has ever walked the earth: free from sin, free from selfishness, close to God, Mother of Jesus… And how does God treat her? He gives her a plate full of suffering and sorrow, just as he did with Jesus himself. Why? Because in times of difficulty we can show and grow our love for God, we can exercise our trust in him, saying, like Christ: "Father, let this cup pass from me, yet not my will, but yours be done…" And that prayer reverses the rebellion of Original Sin, filling our hearts with grace that spills over into the lives of those around us. If life were just a bowl of cherries, we would never grow up, spiritually speaking, because we would stay so enraptured by the gifts of God that we wouldn't get to know and love God himself, who is the source of true happiness.
That's the lesson that the Church is constantly teaching us! The liturgical year, with feasts like today's, the crucifixes, the prayers, the Scriptures… We are surrounded with reminders that in this valley of tears we will have difficulty, but that in its midst God will walk with us, teach us, and lead us, that he is Lord of all, and that suffering doesn't escape his rule.
May God grant you the grace to understand this lesson, and to be ready for the suffering that life will bring (and you can be sure that it will indeed bring suffering), so that when it comes the Devil won't be able to use it to separate you from your Savior, as he is trying to do with my friend.
Your loving uncle, Eddy
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