Marian Grief as a Integral Part of Christian Grief
As a Counselorregarding grief, it is not only worthwhile to have a deep knowledge of Christian
traditions of grief, but also a pious form of spirituality for oneself. The following articles will look at some of the Christian traditions on grief surrounding Christ, his mother and church traditions. They should not be seen as particular to any one tradition but should be accepted and practiced universally since they all encompass core ideals of Christian theology.
The tradition of the Seven Sorrows of Mary at first seem very Catholic from an Evangelical view, but such Marian devotions should not be seen as Catholic but Christian. The emphasis on this is twofold. First, the Seven Sorrows of Mary are scriptural. Second, Mary as the mother of Christ played a pivotal role in humanity’s salvation. She was not the instrument of salvation but her sacrifice of her son played a more central role than any person ever created. With such a sacrifice in mind, Christians should give her a special reverence and role within Christianity that transcends the mere person. She was the Mother of God and in that regard, if Christ followed her instructions in his first miracle, perhaps Christians should also seek her guidance that ultimately leads to her son. Ultimately, despite misconceptions in some Protestant circles, Catholic theology has always taught that devotions
(not worship) to Mary ultimately lead to Christ.
Below are the Seven Sorrows of Mary:
1.The flight from Egypt and Herod
2.The prophesy of Simon
3.Losing of the child for three days
4.Seeing our Lord carry his cross
5.Standing at the foot of the cross
6.Holding our Lord’s body
7.Sealing of the tomb
The pains of Mary are worthwhile to meditate upon because they not only help us become closer to God, but they also teach us how to handle grief in this world. Mary’s ultimate sacrifice of her son is equated to the most intense grief this world can ever give a parent; the death of their child. Mary courageously shows us how to deal with such traumatic grief. Her grief is a story from Jesus’ first steps to his final breath. Throughout her entire life, she was haunted with the inevitable death of her son. One only needs to marvel at the Pieta by Michelangelo to better understand the grief of a parent who loses her child. Such rich meditation should never be wasted or left to the side with grieving parents, especially within a Christian counseling session for such issues of grief. Christianity gives people these traditions as gifts for us to better emulate Christ, his mother, and the saints and to face the trials of everyday life. In the end, we are not alone in grief, Christ and his mother shared theirs with us. For that we should all be thankful and always remember that sacrifice.
By Mark Moran, MA