Our Lady was a “Strong and Courageous Woman”
On September 15 the Church celebrated the feast of the sorrowful Mother. Pope Francis offered a powerful message which we will share here since it speaks volumes on the courage of Our Lady (Notre Dame) the patron of our parish:
“We need to contemplate the Mother of Jesus. We need to contemplate this sign of contradiction, because Jesus is victorious, but upon the Cross. This is a contradiction that we can’t understand. It takes faith to understand it, at least to come close (to understanding) this mystery.
Mary knew and lived her whole life with a pierced heart. She followed Jesus and heard the people’s comments, sometimes for Him, sometimes against. But she was always right behind her Son. That’s why we call her the first disciple. It was Mary’s concern that brought about this “sign of contradiction” in her heart. She was there at the end, in silence, at the foot of the Cross, watching her Son. Perhaps she heard comments like: “Look, there’s the Mother of one of the three criminals”. But, she showed her face for her Son.
In this moment, beneath the Cross, Mary gave birth to the Church and to all of us: ‘Woman’, says her Son, ‘behold your children’. He doesn’t say ‘Mother’, he says ‘Woman’. This strong and courageous woman was there to say: ‘This is my Son. I do not deny Him.’
More than a call to reflection, today’s Gospel is a call to contemplation. May the Holy Spirit be the one to tell each one of us that which we need (to hear).”
The type of courage that Pope Francis expresses here is the courage of one who is in solidarity with her son even in the midst of ridicule, persecution and injustice. In asking us to reflect on Mary’s courage we are invited by our Holy Father to pray that the same Spirit which gave courage to Our Lady may guide us as we come across those who are ridiculed, persecuted and who suffer injustice in our world today.