Leaning into the Sorrowful Heart of Our Mother //
Embracing the Paradox
Hello! And welcome to the revamped Chews Life Blog. We are on a mission to equip you with unique and practical tools to help you develop a deeper life of prayer. In that spirit, we are re-launching this blog space with the aim of providing our beloved customers with knowledge, inspiration, community, and connection to delve deeper into the treasures of the Catholic faith, and to help all of us grow the seeds of faith in our daily lives, right where the Lord has planted each of us. We hope you’ll find comfort, challenge, truth, goodness, and beauty in what we share. And now, let’s begin!
For many of us who are mothers of school-aged children, the beginning of September marks the end of summer, and the return to a new school year. The emotions that we experience at this time can run the spectrum from elation and relief, to bittersweet sadness at the passing of another season. As I waved my children off for their first day recently, their eagerness and excitement for a new year buoyed my hopes for them, while my memories of how much they’ve grown in what feels like a blink left me fighting back tears. This joy and hope, tethered by a sense of sadness or grief, is a tension that many of us feel, regardless of our state or stage in life. Some seasons it is as if we are walking closer to one edge or the other. In my own life, an unexpectedly difficult summer left me grappling with the contradictions of life and death, joy and sorrow, suffering and comfort, and prompted a turning toward the heart of our Blessed Mother, the woman whose heart was pierced by a sword through the passion and death of our Lord, her son Jesus. She who received her suffering with courage, love, and trust, shows us the way in our own sorrows—whether they are large or small.
For many of us, “sorrow” is a word that we tend to want to avoid, much like grief or sadness. But the Church, in her wisdom gives us this month of September to reflect and honor the sorrow of our Blessed Mother, and in turn, our own. Like so much of the Catholic faith, we are called to embrace a paradox. Just as Jesus’ Resurrection would not have been the glorious, saving work that it is without his suffering and death, so our Christian joy is not complete without sharing in the sorrow of our Lord and his mother. As Servant of God Fr. John Hardon, S.J., tells us, paradox is—
An apparent contradiction that is really true. Christianity is the religion of paradox: that God would be human, that life comes from death, that achievement comes through failure, that folly is wisdom, that happiness is to mourn, that to find one must lose, and that the greatest are the smallest. What is paradoxical about the mysteries of the faith is that reason cannot fully penetrate their meaning, so that what seems contradictory to reason is profoundly true in terms of faith.*
It would be hard to find a person whose life has not been touched by sorrow of some sort. How does each of us carry this; how do we live through and with the suffering that we encounter in this “valley of tears” as we pray in the Hail, Holy Queen? We turn, as we should in all things, to our Blessed Mother, who always points us toward her Son, Jesus.
O Beauty Ever Ancient, O Beauty Ever New
In this month, the Church gives us an abundance of incredible opportunities to enter into the paradox of joy and sorrow that all of us seeking heaven will encounter on earth. From the feast of St. Teresa of Calcutta (Sept. 5), the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Sept. 8), the Triumph (or Exultation) of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14) to the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Sept. 15), we are reminded that our lives and suffering, united to Christ, have meaning and bring us closer to him. While the world tells us that suffering is what keeps us from happiness, our faith assures us that it is through our sufferings that we will come to know ultimate happiness.
So let’s dive in! At Chews Life, we are dedicating ourselves this month to learning more about our Blessed Mother in her title “Our Lady of Sorrows.” And in true paradoxical fashion, we are turning back to a devotion that originated around the 12th century in order to find a way forward through the challenges and crosses we carry in our lives in the 21st century. Many of us have heard of, but are still new to praying the Chaplet of Seven Sorrows, which recalls seven events in the life of Mary where she experienced great suffering. We invite you to pray this profound and beautiful prayer with us, as we launch into a 7 Day Challenge to pray the Chaplet of Seven Sorrows together. Find out how to pray here. Then, join us Sept. 9-15, on our face book page or in our Chews Life app, as we pray the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!