Find support, solace in the heart of our Blessed Mother

The timing couldn’t be better for us to commemorate a month dedicated to our Blessed Mother. Of the many titles she has, three are most relevant during this challenging time.

The first is the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Her loving heart was not without pain. When she and Joseph presented Jesus in the temple, Simeon told her, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk 2:34-35).

That prophecy was most evident during Christ’s passion, death and burial as she met him on the way to Calvary, stood at the foot of the cross as Jesus was crucified and was there when he was removed from the cross and buried.

When we turn to Mary, she takes into her heart what we present — our pain, concerns, fears and brings them to her son for healing. Just as she knew what Jesus was experiencing, she knows what we experience.

Remember, too, that when the shepherds came to the manger to visit our newborn Savior, they proclaimed what the angel had told them. Scripture tells us, “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Lk 2:19).

Paralleling the Immaculate Heart of Mary is her title as Our Lady of Sorrows. In my chapel I have a tryptic of the Crucifixion that shows Mary and the apostle John standing at the foot of the cross.

It is an image of that moment on the cross: “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home” (Jn 19:26-27).

St. John represents our Church and our Blessed Mother, who as a loving mother, cares for our Church — for all of us.

As we stand at the foot of our own daily crosses, standing with Our Lady and John in their sorrow and in their love for Jesus, we are reminded of another title she has — Our Lady of Consolation or Mary, Consoler of the Afflicted. That moment when Jesus speaks to Mary and John from the cross was also a moment of consolation.

This title of Our Lady is drawn from her intimate union with the Holy Spirit, who overshadowed her at the Annunciation. We know the Holy Spirit as the Consoler and in that union with Mary, she is able to be a source of consolation for each of us.

With our ongoing concerns and fears about COVID-19, we find support and solace in the heart of our Blessed Mother. We will receive consolation from the mother of our Church as she embraces us and comforts us in our time of need.

During this month when we remember and honor our own mothers, we can also grow in our devotion to Mary. Go to her, talk to her. As it always has, her heart is listening and will bring us the consolation of the Holy Spirit.

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