Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which was brought upon me…Lamentations 1:12
I find an interesting phenomenon in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar not fully found in our own. Setting aside our Mariological differences, note the twinning between certain days that commemorate Jesus, suffering servant and praying priest, and his mother, Mary:
+ The Circumcision of the Lord shares a day with Mary, Mother of God (January 1);
+ The Sacred Heart of Jesus pairs with the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Friday/Saturday following the Second Sunday after Pentecost);
+ The Exaltation of the Holy Cross directly followed by Our Lady of Sorrows (September 14/15);
+ Even the Paschal Triduum (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter) finds a Marian companion in the Annunciation (March 25).
I see in these pairings something diaconal people instinctively understand about the baptismal life. Living life joined to the Paschal Mystery (Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection), we also witness the paschal suffering of others and of all creation
And, more and more, suffering seems to be beyond our control as individuals and as a diaconate. Consider:
– labyrinthine societal and governmental structures,
– police brutality and protests turned to riots,
– immigrant internment facilities and unraveling social safety nets,
– a pandemic and staggering unemployment,
– climate change magnifying wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, et al.
Yet, as we remain united to the suffering Christ present in all things, we also join Mary as an unwavering witness in saying,
These are Jesus, the suffering Christ.
Avert not your eyes.
Even these again shall rise.
Prayer: O Love divine, overcomer of eternal shame, source of glory, and all joy! Let equal fire our souls inflame, and equal zeal employ, that we the glorious spring may know, whose streams appeared so bright below. To the unending Trinity be praise, God our life is the life of all. Amen.
Deacon Andrew Stoebig, St. Paul, MN