Mary's Sorrows a Source of Consolation, Says John Paul II

Encouragement for Those Facing Daily Struggles

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 15, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II says that the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary are a source of inspiration and consolation for believers facing the difficulties of everyday life.

The Pope made this observation today to young people, the sick and newlyweds who were among the crowd of 10,000 at the general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

Before bidding the crowd farewell, the Holy Father recalled that today the Church was honoring the memory of the sorrowful Blessed Mother “who with faith stayed next to Jesus’ cross.”

“My hope is that you will find in her consolation and support to overcome all the obstacles of your daily life,” he said.

Meanwhile, Father Stefano De Fiores, professor of Mariology at several pontifical universities, explained on Vatican Radio that the liturgical memorial of the Our Lady of Sorrows is much cherished by Catholics because “people identify with Mary and see in her the expression of their pain.”

“However, it is salvific, not desperate, pain — a pain that, despite the harshness of the suffering, is mitigated by faith in the Resurrection, as Mary precedes others in faith,” the theologian said.

Quoting St. Bernard, Father De Fiores explained that one can speak of the “martyrdom of the spirit” of the Blessed Virgin, as the elderly Simeon predicted in the Gospel.

“Mary is on the side of Jesus, she suffers with him, therefore, she participated without a doubt in the spirit — with a spiritual martyrdom — in his sufferings, especially in the crucifixion,” the priest said.

Yet, he added, “Mary’s life was not always a martyrdom, as she also had moments of joy, moments of contemplation.”

“We do not have to yield to ‘dolorousness’: Dolorousness is not Christianity. Christianity consists in what Jesus did, to whom his Mother also united herself: the transformation of the harshest pain, the most ignominious, into an experience of salvation,” Father De Fiores said.

“This is the Gospel of suffering,” he added, “the joyful news that even loneliness or the worst moments the human psyche can experience can be transformed into acts of faith, hope and love.”

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