Faithful Not Successful

The Seven Sorrows: A Model of Suffering that 2020 Needs

Uniting our suffering with Christ’s, after Mary’s model, is one of the most powerful prayer tools we have available as Christians.

Suffering refines us, as we endure it, and it refines all of humanity, as we leave it at the foot of the cross, our own small pebble added to a cairn the size of the whole world. We may never know (on this earth) why God has allowed us to endure some particular trial, but we can know that he will work it for good in the fullness of time.

Fresco of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin
(Tempesta and Circignani, Santo Stefano Rotondo, Rome)
Image: Mary wearing a red robe and blue mantle, hands folded in prayer. Seven swords point to her heart. At the hilt of each sword is a small picture of one of the Seven Sorrows meditations.

We know this not just through our post hoc experience of the crucifixion-resurrection arc, but through Mary’s own experience of the redemption of her moments of suffering — closely tied to Jesus’ moments, but lived through as only a mother could live them.

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