By Bethany Bell
To the cross through Mary. That was my resounding answer when I asked the Lord what our Lenten topic should be this year. Of course, in my not Mary-like way, I said, "Yea, okay Lord, but isn’t the focus supposed to be on you? I mean Lent is YOUR journey into the desert, YOUR journey into the garden, and ultimately YOUR journey to the cross. And since we aren’t just people of the cross and we arrive at Easter we celebrate Your triumph over death! I understand Mary is your Mother - OUR Mother, but shouldn’t we really be focused on You?" I didn’t get a reply and I walked away from the idea all together. Then we met as a team to discuss the Lenten theme and Shannon said, "I really think we should meditate upon Our Lady of Sorrows for Lent". I thought, "Okay Lord...I hear you...again." I was still a little perplexed as to why He would ask us to focus on His Mother versus Him, but this time I channeled a better Mary-like attitude and said, "OK Lord, but I’ll need you to show up to help me put this all together."
Mary and I have always had a remote relationship. I knew who she was, knew that she was important, but I loved her from afar because I never really could relate to her. It wasn’t until I found her as Our Lady of Sorrows that I found my connection. I couldn’t relate to the perfect ‘yes’ she gave Gabriel, but I can relate to the panicked Mary who lost Jesus for three days, or the tear streaked Mary at the foot of the cross because we have all suffered in some capacity. As I was thinking about Our Lady of Sorrows, the Sorrowful Mysteries, and Lent, it came to me that He asked us to focus on this journey with Mary because she gives us the blueprint on how to suffer well and how to carry suffering with a 'bright sadness'. I think this is the reason behind His choice. As we journey with Mary through the seven sorrows that pierce her heart each of us can relate to having our own hearts pierced. As we get closer to the passion of our Lord we can see the way to suffer with joy as only Mary can show us.
I am very excited to travel this journey with each and every one of you. You will hear personal stories from our team about how we felt comforted by Our Lady of Sorrows as our own hearts were pierced. We will also talk about how we are not the things this world says we are but we find our worth in the Lord just as Mar y did. And we will walk the road to the cross with Jesus as our shining light and Our lady holding our hand so she can instill in us the bright sadness Lent is all about.