Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
The hearts (kardia) of Jesus and Mary were so closely knit that they beat together as one. When the physical heart of the Virgin’s newborn was about the size of a walnut, the righteous and devout Simeon prophesied by the Holy Spirit that the mother’s soul would be pierced through by a long sword.
In the Magnificat following her Annunciation, Mary had soared to the very heavens in song: “My soul magnifies the Lord…” (Luke 1:46). Nine months and forty days later, her soul was plunged into a foretaste of the anguish to come as Mother of the Savior.
In the icon of the Theotokos of the Passion featured above, the Infant Emmanuel clutches his mother’s right hand in fear as he gazes out at two angels carrying the instruments of his Passion. That the messengers are angels is a sign of divine favor: Mother and Son will ultimately defeat the powers of evil, sin, and division by their union of hearts in accepting the Cross. The suffering will be excruciating (out of the cross, from crux), but “love is strong as death” and will destroy it (Song of Solomon 8:6).
The crucifying love of the Passion will uncover and reveal (apokaluptó) the thoughts (dialogismos) of many hearts twisted by millions of sound bites, images, and temptations swirling in inner space. Our Lady of Sorrows, pierced for us, will gather the hearts of her children, Jesus’ brethren, into oneness with their Sacred and Immaculate Hearts.
Jesus’ gift to us in the Eucharist, “This is my body which is given for you,” is also Mary’s gift to us as the Mother of God and our Mother.