By Meghan Baron
Today the Catholic Church celebrates the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. I started to think about sorrow – what a heavy word.
Sorrow carries weight. It carries pain. It carries intensity.
It’s something we don’t normally want to discuss over dinner with friends or delve into when someone asks “How’s it goin’?” Why is that? Why do we take sorrow and hide it under the blanket, along with our tears, and keep it locked away in dark bedrooms and worn out journal pages.
Why does happiness get shouted from the rooftops and sadness shrouded in secrecy?
I’ve spent a lot of time in my life running away from having to confront my own sorrow. Years of mastering the ability to conceal my most painful emotions led me to believe that experiencing sorrow was somehow something to be ashamed of. If I am a Christian – shouldn’t my life be full of joy? Isn’t this supposed to make me happy?
Why don’t I feel like praising from the first pew with my hands lifted in worship?
It took me a while to come to terms with the reality that Christ meets me most intimately in my sorrows.
He finds me in the darkest corners of my soul and holds me.
He doesn’t try to fix it or take it away, He invites me into it and draws me nearer to Him through it. Sorrow, it turns out, is not worth fighting.
Sorrow is a chance to be sanctified.
God asks me to experience it – to cry the tears, to feel the grief, to meet the pain head on – and reminds me that He sits with me through it.
When I reflect on Our Lady of Sorrows, I remember that Mary hurt. She experienced the greatest of human sorrows during the Passion of her Son. She gets it, in a very real way. Christ shared with us the gift of His Mother to be a model of how to allow ourselves to experience each emotion – just as they are. We don’t have to be anything that we aren’t – we can just sit at the foot of the cross and weep, just like she did. She will meet me at His feet, cry with me, and carry me directly to her Son.
What a gift.
St Francis de Sales said “This is all He asks of you: that you live and respond to His grace in there here and now. To do anything else is to waste your time. Be who you are, where you are”.
Perhaps God just needs me to embrace my sorrows.
After all, we know that “weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning”. Perhaps God didn’t mean tomorrow morning – maybe the morning comes when we meet Him face to face. In the meantime, I rest in the solace that His light is perpetually brighter than all of my darkest days.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Meghan is a Cleveland native, currently working as a nurse in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and completing her masters degree to become a Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She belongs to St Clement parish in Lakewood and spends the little free time she has exploring hidden gems in CLE, reading & painting, and gathering around a table for good food and good conversation with her loved ones.