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Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.  It follows the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross of Jesus yesterday.

Sorrow or sadness is part of life.

I was recently visiting a community.  I was introduced to a young child who has a very serious illness.  I found myself getting very emotional and had to hold back tears.  I am not against crying!  I believe that it is very important to name and own our feelings.  However, in this particular situation I needed to be composed as I was about to lead a very significant service, as well as supporting that young person and their family.

My young brother John was nine years younger than me.  He died when he was 4-1/2 years old and I was 13-1/2 years old.  It happened about five months after we arrived in Australia from Malta.  I was present with mum when John died at the Children’s Hospital in North Adelaide.  I remember it as if it was yesterday.  It was the first time I saw anyone die.  I believe that John is in the Communion of Saints, together with my other brother, Tony, who died just over three year ago.  I believe that they are united with our parents, our baby sister, mum and dad’s first child who died at birth.  I speak to them all and believe that we are connected by love.

I find great comfort because of our Christian faith when I reflect on the death of loved ones.

However, it does not mean that we ever stop grieving.

Grief is a journey, and we continue to deal with it throughout life until we enter the fulness of life ourselves.

I was travelling recently and, while on a ferry coming back to Darwin, I started chatting with a lady as we watched the sea.  She started telling me about the death of her son in an accident.  I could sense her grief and her tears confirmed my feeling.  She was peaceful, but still dealing with the grief and loss.  It is a journey!

The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows echoes and touches so many of our experiences.

Mary, Mother of the Church, sharing Jesus’ journey in His pain and death reminds us of the universal experience of pain and sadness.  It also calls us to faith and hope.  As Christians our grief and sorrow are not dead ends.

God remains faithful to us in the midst of all of our experiences.

The Resurrection of Jesus reminds us of that promise of unconditional love.  It also reminds us of life eternal where every tear is wiped away and death loses its sting!

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