A personal reflection from one who once feared her but came to love her dearly.
There was a point in my life when the thought of Mary, the Mother of God—especially as Our Lady of Sorrows—could send me into a tailspin. I felt so guilty that I could not even bear to look at or think of her. I was personally responsible for much of her sorrow and pain because I had an abortion.
She was everything I wasn’t. She had said yes to God as a teenager, while I had said no. I was neither mature enough in my faith nor aware of God’s love for me to move beyond self-condemnation. It was all about me, and it took time for me to turn my focus to Our Lord and His Mother.
As I grew in faith and knowledge of both Jesus and Mary, I came to understand their love and mercy for me: that it was proven not only through Christ’s death on the cross, but also through Mary’s consent to the sacrifice and suffering, in order to fulfill the will of God in obtaining our salvation.
Although our paths to suffering were much different, there is an interior presence I have always felt in this devotion because of losing my first son to abortion. I know that she knows what it is like to suffer the death of a child, at a level far deeper than I, because he was the all-loving, all-innocent Son of God and she bore no responsbiity for His death. I know she understands the pain, the grief, the agony of suffering, but above all, I know she is there teaching me, protecting me and guiding me to her Son.
Our Lady of Sorrows, the mother who stayed by her child’s side through it all and shared in His suffering to the end, willingly took up the cross given her and carried it to eternity—not only for Christ, but for us.
There is a beautiful quote in one of my favorite books, In the Arms of Mary by S.C. Beila, which reads:
As my faith and my healing from abortion progressed, I recognized I too must believe “against all hope, [and manifest] the heroism of obedience in faith" in order to heal from my abortion.
I needed to "believe against all hope"—against everything my mind and the devil were throwing at me to keep me trapped in despair. It is all too easy to despair, to allow feelings of hopelessness overwhelm one’s heart, to focus on ourselves and our pain instead of on Christ and his death on the cross for our sins. All of them! I needed to choose to believe!
In time, through His amazing grace and merciful love, I was able to think of Mary with gratitude instead of fear, and to love her deeply. She has become part of my daily life and the patroness of all the work I do in Jesus’ ministry of post-abortion healing.
No matter what our failings or sins, we need only ask Mary to help us to "believe against all hope," as she did at the foot of the cross when all looked lost. Mary, who always leads us to her Son, trusted that the Resurrection would follow the crucifixion and would mean a rising to new life in Christ for each one of us.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!