|Welcome to Our Mother's Garden of Sorrow
We live and so we suffer. We live as Christians and so we suffer with Christ. What does this means, realistically, in our daily lives? What is it to suffer as a Christian? On the golden days, the happy days when life sparkles sunshine and the air smells like roses, we know that God is there. We give him a smile and a wink and we go about our merry way, conscious of our blessings.
But what about those days when it rains? Those days when it pours buckets of unrelenting hard, driving, bullets of raindrops on a cold and stony ground? Where are the sweet-smelling blossoms; from where will blow the warm breezes? We cry out to God and we wonder, where is He? Has He forsaken us? In this damp, cold, barren garden, we wonder, perhaps, if there is a God at all. We suffer and we agonize over the seeming silence of God.
But He’s there. He has allowed us to fall upon our knees in agony and to call His name again and again. He is there and He is still the good God. He tests our faith . He allows us to scream “Why?” and to question His judgment, His authority, His compassion. He wants us to beg Him for mercy. Why? Because He wants us to acknowledge that He is God and that we are entirely dependent upon Him. That is faith. God want us to have the kind of faith that looks at Him in suffering and says, “I still believe. I am nothing without you and I need you desperately.” That is teeth-gritting faith.
Peter Kreeft wrote:
Teeth-gritting faith is valuable not because suffering is
valuable in itself or because teeth-gritting is valuable in itself but because
such faith comes from the deep eternal center of the person, the I, the will,
not from feelings, not from the parts of the person that are dependent on the
environment and what happens in the world. For the world will pass away, but the
self will not. What the self decides in time is ratified in eternity. The
stronger the choice for God at this obscure and unemotional center of the self,
the surer and deeper will be the eternal salvation of the whole self. The will
is the custodian of the feelings and must learn to lead them and not follow
There is no question that we believe in an omnipotent, all-loving God. When bad things happen—when we feel bad--that powerful God has allowed them. It is here, when life is dark, that only Light can fill it. We stumble in our darkness and fumble with the light, our pain dulling our senses. Perhaps you are kneeling in darkness now. You know there is a God, but you know that he seems cold and distant. His presence is as painful as a driving rain. You have cried and begged and perhaps even screamed in anger. But now you sit, spent and silent, looking for God. And that’s where He is. He is in your silence and He will fill you with Himself.
This is the dark, fertile garden of your suffering. You are being drawn to the good God. In this dark garden, God himself is filling you, growing within you. You are emptying yourself of you, broken and bruised, to be filled by Him, whole and illuminated. This is a holy garden, this garden of suffering.
Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane with his friends. He asked them to be with him in His hours of darkness. They fell asleep and He was utterly alone as He cried out to the Lord and begged the Father to take the cup of suffering. Every one of us will have the opportunity for that moment alone. We want that moment, when it is just God and the bare simplicity of one woman’s individual soul. Silence. God speaks. Only God. That is the goal of your suffering. To be consoled by God himself.
This is not a discussion forum. There is no place to post replies, to ask questions, to share stories. It is still. Like Jesus’ friends, we have walked here with you. We hope to be supportive here in this Gethsemane, to remind you that you are not alone in your pain and to encourage you to find Him in the stillness. We suffer with you and we beg you to understand that we are praying fervently for you. We are praying that the loud, hard, driving rain will stop and that in the dampness and the silent stillness the Lord himself will speak to you.
As Catholic women, we look to our Blessed Mother as our model in all things. She shows us how to nurture, to obey, to learn, indeed, to live. And,so, she shows us how to suffer. Mary suffered with Christ in all things. As we walk through this garden with Our Lady, we revisit her Seven Sorrows. Mary's hand in ours, we take refuge in the folds of her mantle as we beg the graces that are the fruit of our pain. It is my prayer and the prayer of the women who have lovingly tended this garden for you, that your time here will be infused with the sweet scent of our Mystical Rose and that the grace of our Lord will shine bright and warm upon your face. God love you!
|The Prophecy of Simeon
And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was in him. And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when his parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, He also took him into his arms, and blessed God, and said:
Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
And his father and mother were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him. And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.
|The Flight into Egypt
...behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy him. Who arose, and took the child and his mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and he was there until the death of Herod: That it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Out of Egypt have I called my son.
The sorrows of relocation, unemployment, chaos and disorganization, and damage or displacement of possessions
|The Loss of Jesus in the Temple
And his parents went every year to Jerusalem, at the solemn day of the pasch, And when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance. And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers. And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my father's business? And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them.
The sorrows of miscarriage and infertility
|Mary Meets Jesus Carrying the Cross
And there followed him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning to them, said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me; but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For behold, the days shall come, wherein they will say: Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the paps that have not given suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us; and to the hills: Cover us. For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?
The sorrow of loss from an accident
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. 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.
After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I thirst." There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, "It is finished." And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.
The sorrows of the loss of a spouse, the loss of a parent, the death of a pet, and the death of an extended family member
|Mary Receives the Dead Body of Her Son
|The Burial of Her Son and Closing of the Tomb
After this, Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it. So he came and took his body. Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, according to the Jewish burial custom. Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried. So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by.
The sorrow of children leaving the nest
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