Today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a day which celebrates the appearance of Mary to Jan Diego in Tepeyac, Mexico. It is reported that she declared to him, “I am your most merciful Mother…I want to show my loving clemency and compassion to those who call upon me in their sorrows.”
I want to show my loving compassion. Joyce Rupp calls Mary “the feminine embodiment of the divine quality of compassion,” and, indeed, one of her titles if “Mother of Sorrows.” Having stood with her Son at the foot of the cross, Mary stands ready for all time to stand with us in our own suffering and need.
In a wonderful book titled, Your Sorrow is my Sorrow, Rupp explores how Mary can give us hope and strength in our times of suffering. Among the prayers she includes to Mary is this one, which invites us to draw inspiration from Mary’s own experiences:
Mary, you have been there before me.
Your heart opened wide to embrace Jesus
when you met your son on his way to death.
You felt the depth of his suffering.
You entered his wounded path of pain.
I, too, need courage and spiritual stamina
to be with the pain of my own journey.
Teach me how to be with my suffering.
I want to meet myself as lovingly
as you met you wounded and pain-filled son.
Woman of Compassion, Mother of Sorrows,
I draw inspiration from your journey.
I, too, can move through the pain of my present situation.
Your faith and courage lead me to my own.