Fr Ian writes
Before coming here to St Chrysostom’s I led a chaplaincy team in a maximum security prison. It was challenging and intensely pastoral work. As a team we were anxious that a chaplain be available in the visits room whenever social visits were taking place. It could be heart breaking to see these visits. What was especially moving was how many mothers, often quite elderly, had not given up on their sons. Many had travelled for hours and hours for a two hour visit in remote rural Yorkshire. The visit could be painful, frustrating and sometimes hopeful.
Victims of crime are primarily those directly affected by the criminals’ actions. However, families, not least mothers, are frequently victims too.
The dedication, hard work, self sacrifice, and courage of so many mothers never fails to inspire and move me.
Today, on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, we contemplate the compassion and the suffering of Jesus’ own mother. Suffering borne not just at the foot of the cross, but in her life as a mother too. Tradition particularly identifies seven sorrows of Our Lady. At times Mary couldn’t understand her son, she was bewildered by his actions. She saw him betrayed, arrested, tried and executed. “O that blessed one, grief laden, Blessed Mother.”
Today’s feast falling exactly a week after our celebration of Mary’s birth, and the day after the Feast of the Holy Cross, invites us to recall the deep sufferings and sorrows of those women today who, like Mary, carry the pain of hearts pierced with sorrow. As we remember them we look to and pray with Mary, who knows and has compassion with such sorrow. May she be an inspiration and encouragement to us all.
Holy Mary, Mother of Compassion, pray for us…