The Season of Lent culminates in the Passion and death of our savior, Jesus Christ. When we experience suffering, we are taught to unite our sufferings with Jesus on the cross. But have you ever witnessed the suffering of someone you love? When you are powerless to help a person you deeply love, you might understand the suffering of the Blessed Mother at the foot of the cross, watching her son suffer and die.
Jennifer, a Relevant Radio® parish ambassador in Fort Myers, Florida, began listening to Father Simon SaysTM years ago while exercising at the gym. She recently wrote to Fr. Richard Simon to share an inspiring story of carrying her own cross.
“Last year we lost our infant daughter, Azélie, named after Saint Zélie Martin. We stood around her tiny bed in the hospital. She was hooked up to six different IVs, a ventilator, and countless monitors. There was nothing my husband and I could do. I’ve often identified with Mary when I reflect on those moments at my baby’s side,” she wrote.
“Oh, this is heartbreaking,” said Fr. Simon as he read the letter. Jennifer’s words were poignant and heartfelt as she told a story that was difficult to hear. She continued:
“I’ve felt Mama Mary’s presence as I bathed my daughter’s lifeless body for the first and last time after she passed. As I wiped away little blood drops from where the IVs had been removed from her perfect body and washed goo from the monitoring leads out of her hair, I couldn’t help but imagine Mary doing the same for her son.
“I so appreciated what you said about powerlessness. Our culture looks down on such a thing. But when married to Jesus’ sufferings, our powerlessness—our cross—can be our most powerful weapon,” wrote Jennifer.
In the agonizing moments of losing her baby, she turned to her faith. She recognized that she was not alone in her pain—our Blessed Mother, too, sat helplessly as a witness to her child’s suffering and death. Perhaps when you are in a similar situation—whether big or small in nature—you will also reach out to the Mother of God. She will not only offer solidarity with your suffering, but she will stand right next to you (and hold you up, if need be) when your heart breaks as hers did.
Fr. Simon promised to offer a Mass for Azélie, though he acknowledged that she was likely in heaven already. “She can use the grace in whatever way she wants as she enjoys the heavenly kingdom. I don’t like to canonize people, but little children who have been baptized, I think we can come close,” he said.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
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