Sometimes our lives burn down around us so spectacularly it’s hard to see God’s plan through the smoke and ash. We loose our ability to speak with God. But what is so breathtaking about faith is that I can pick up the prayer where my loved one’s left off.
Prayer is the only thing I have right now to help those who are suffering in my life. Luckily God put catholicicing.com in my path because I stumbled upon one of their latest posts about the seven sorrows of Mary (it even has a craft for those of you with kids). I had heard of this meditation, but hadn’t ever really done it.
It’s said that if people say a Hail Mary for each of the seven sorrows, that a prayer would be answered. I NEEDED God to hear my prayer request and answer it; so I prayed each Hail Mary and reflected. A few particularly resonated with me and led me to a conclusion I didn’t expect.
The Flight to Egypt. I tried to imagine what it would have been like to be told in a vision to flee to another country so my child would not be harmed. Now imagine that child was God and you had to keep Him safe. I imagined the pain of having to leave behind family with no means of communicating with them and no idea when you’d see them next. I also imagined how if Mary had been so accepting of God’s will that she bear His child, how accepting of this must she have been? What kind of courage did she draw from knowing His will was to keep His Son safe? As long as she obeyed, she must have known His plan would come to be.
Jesus dies on the cross. I imagined Mary looking up at her Son on the cross. I wondered if her strongest desire was to just kiss his forehead one last time. I wondered how badly she wanted to trade places with Him. I imagined if I were to trade places with her how strong the urge would be to scream at God and beg Him to end it. I’d want Him to change His plan because I didn’t understand it. But I know she didn’t do those things. Like her first yes and her obedience in each phase of Christ’s life, she watched and accepted God’s will for her Son.
Jesus is placed in the Tomb. If I had been in Mary’s position, I would have been waiting for the miracle. First I would have held my breath to see if they would really take Him into custody, then prayed that they didn’t crucify Him, and then begged that God would appear from Heaven and cradle His Son in His arms before He breathed His last. But closing the door on the tomb would have made it seem hopeless. It would have been the final straw if I had been Mary. I wouldn’t have known how to deal with the pain, the anguish, and the sense of betrayal. How could God let His Son, my Son, suffer and die? I have no doubt of Mary’s deep anguish at truly knowing that humanity murdered their God, but I also have no doubt that as the tomb closed, she held fast to the obedience of His will. She held fast because she loved her Son.
When the time came to voice my prayer request I realized what the intention was behind this meditation and all the others like it. It wasn’t that you pray seven Hail Mary’s and here’s your prize; it’s a spiritual journey. I came to the realization that the only request I had was that God’s will be done and that I, and those suffering around me, would have the obedience, the acceptance, and the love to understand that.