Our Lady of Sorrows and sorrowing mothers

“Life is a casting off”

Fr. Dwight Longenecker has a very moving reflection for today’s feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, focusing on how a devotion to the Blessed Mother under this particular title can comfort and aid sorrowing mothers:

There’s a little line at the heart of Arthur Miller’s play The Death of a Salesman where Willy Loman’s wife, Linda sits on the stage alone. Her sons have both turned out to be losers. One she hasn’t heard of for years. The other one is a layabout and a phony. Then her husband commits suicide. In her grief she says, “Life is a casting off.” …

This is where the devotion of the Seven Sorrows of Mary can help women. In the seven sorrows the Blessed Mother struggles to cast off. Of all women she has an even closer bond to her child than others. Because she has the perfect bond with her son, the tearing away of motherhood is even more poignant and painful. Identifying with her sorrows through this devotion can help women make sense of their own suffering with their families.

…We realize that life is a pilgrimage. It is a casting off. It means not putting our tent pegs in too deep. There’s a part of the Christian life which is nomadic. In other words, build a wonderful home and family, but don’t invest too much in it emotionally because even this good thing is not permanent. If you make your home and children and family your god, then you will be disappointed. Even our loved ones must be cast off to follow Christ. Our home and family and earthly loves are temporary. They are provisional. The flight into Egypt reminds us that we are all spiritually speaking–refugees.

All of Fr. Longenecker’s excellent meditation on the Seven Sorrows of Mary can be read here.

Charpentier’s gorgeous setting of the traditional hymn “Stabat Mater” can be heard here.

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About Catherine Harmon 577 Articles
Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.