Suffering well with help from the Blessed Mother

Most of us are wired to avoid suffering at all costs, but as Christians we are also taught to embrace our crosses. Like each of us, the Mother of God also endured immense suffering, and Fr. Jim Presta joined The Inner Life® to discuss how we can turn to her in times of trial.

“We suffer—that’s just part of the human condition. But of course Jesus came to redeem us from sin and relieve us of that suffering, so we have hope because of Christ’s suffering and death on the cross and because of his Resurrection that reminds us that we always have hope. So while we don’t always understand suffering … the Christian looks at it in a very redemptive way. That suffering can help some cause in our life, it helps us in a way that we don’t always understand or have always experienced. So we look to … the cross of Jesus Christ; that’s where we find our hope,” said Fr. Presta.

Why would we look to Mary when we are going through trying times? “Imitation of Mary has been always such a hallmark of our Catholic spirituality,” said Fr. Presta. He explained that Mary is not only a figure to be admired but also imitated. “To look to Mary is really to look to a role model of what redemptive suffering is all about. We don’t look to Mary and say that she’s a depressed mother; we call her a sorrowful mother. And that’s an important distinction—we have Mary’s experience of suffering presented in the context of faith, hope, and love.”

Our Blessed Mother, though she was free from the stain of Original Sin, suffered in her earthly life as we do. Her sufferings were immense – we think especially during Lent to her suffering as she watched her son tortured and killed. She sat at the foot of the cross while he died, knowing that she could not intervene to save him. Through the devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows, we see her seven greatest sorrows, many relating to the Passion and death of her son. Through the guidance of Mary, we see how to look beyond our suffering and to find hope in the darkest of places.

Mary, Mother of God, teach us how to suffer like you and lead us closer to your son. Amen.

Listen to the full podcast here: