I met my wife, Georgette, on August 4, 1978, a few weeks before starting my senior year in college. We dated for almost two years and we got married on June 15, 1980, a couple of months before I started my second year of law school.
Within a month of our marriage, Georgette became pregnant with our first child, Harry. Early in her pregnancy, Georgette was hospitalized and was told by her doctor that there was a 90 percent chance she was going to lose our baby. By the grace of God, Harry was born on March 27, 1981, nine and a half months after we were married.
At the time of Harry’s birth, Georgette and I lived in St. Louis, where I was attending law school. One day, a couple of months after Harry was born, I came home from classes and walked up the stairs to our third-floor apartment. It was late in the afternoon and when I arrived at the door of the apartment, I heard soft music playing inside.
When I unlocked the door and walked into the apartment, Georgette was standing in the living room with her back to me. She was holding Harry and he was sleeping, with his head resting on her shoulder. Georgette was swaying back and forth to the music.
I said hello to Georgette and when she turned around, I notice that she had tears in her eyes. I asked her why she was crying and she said, “You wouldn’t understand.” I asked again and she refused to answer my question, repeating that I wouldn’t understand.
I persisted until she told me the reason she was crying. She had been listening to the music while she was carrying Harry and her mind jumped forward into the future, when Harry would be a young man. She imagined dancing with him on his wedding day. That’s when she started crying.
Georgette was right, I didn’t understand. She explained to me that she didn’t want her baby to leave her. It made her sad to think about a time in the future when her son would grow up and leave her.
I still didn’t understand. I was concerned about getting through the week, and Georgette was crying about what might happen in 20 or 30 years.
I thought about this experience recently when I was reflecting on the first of The Seven Sorrows of Mary. The Seven Sorrows of Mary is a simple but powerful devotion that is available to help us when we are experiencing sorrow. The devotion focuses on seven different events that occurred in the Mother of God’s life:
1. The prophecy of Simeon.
2. The flight into Egypt.
3. The loss of the child Jesus in the Temple.
4. Mary’s meeting with Jesus on the way to Calvary.
5. The death of Jesus on the cross.
6. The piercing of the side of Jesus, and Mary’s receiving the body of Jesus in her arms.
7. The burial of the body of Jesus in the tomb.
The first of the seven sorrows is when our Lady heard the prophecy of Simeon which is set forth in the gospel of Luke:
And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother: Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted; and a sword will pierce your heart, so that the thoughts of many will be revealed.” Luke 2:34-35
The word “sorrow” is defined as “a deep distress, sadness, or regret especially for the loss of someone or something loved.” Synonyms for the word sorrow include “affliction, anguish, grief, and heartache.”
That afternoon when Georgette was holding her first-born child, she experienced sorrow for what she was going to have to go through in the future. When our Lady heard the prophecy of Simeon, the sorrow she experienced was much more painful than what Georgette experienced. Upon hearing what Simeon had to say, Mary realized that she was going to have to face anguish, grief, and heartache in the future.
So here’s my question for you: Who do you think would be more supportive of you if you were experiencing sadness and sorrow — me or Georgette? Even though Georgette may be more supportive, who would be in a greater position to assist you in your time of sorrow — Georgette or the Mother of God?
One very effective way to obtain assistance in coping with and overcoming your sorrow is to practice the daily devotion of The Seven Sorrows of Mary. You can do this by reciting one Our Father and seven Hail Marys for each of the seven sorrows.
It is impossible for us to escape sorrow; however, the Mother of God has the ability and the power to assist us during times of affliction, anguish, grief, and heartache. All we need to do is reach out to her in prayer.