With yesterday being the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, in today’s episode, we’re taking a closer look at the Seven Sorrows of Mary along with the concept of being open to life, even if it leaves your arms empty (or emptier than you want them to be). We’re talking specifically about infertility but as Catholic Women, practicing natural family planning can leave our families looking very different than we’ve envisioned, so everyone can get something from this episode (we hope 🙂 )
The devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows is closely connected with the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross which has been celebrated since the year 326. Many of the great saints have written on her sorrows and Mary recently encouraged this devotion in the 1980s when she made several visits to school children in Kibeho, Rwanda. There is also a religious order that originally formed around a devotion to Mary at the foot of the cross called the Servites, formed in 1239.
The Seven Sorrows are:
- The prophecy of Simeon
- The flight into Egypt
- Loss of the Child Jesus for three days
- Mary meets Jesus on his way to Calvary
- Crucifixion and Death of Jesus
- The body of Jesus being taken from the Cross
- The burial of Jesus
There is even a special form of the rosary with seven ‘septets’ instead of five decades (maybe you have one in your house put to the side because you thought it was defective. haha).
We talk about the temptation to compare joys but also compare sorrows… She has it better than me. Or my struggle is more difficult than hers. But the fact is: there is no way to objectively rate someone else’s pain on a scale of 1 to 10. God doesn’t rate our suffering.
Katie speaks about the loneliness and ‘compassion fatigue’ (or maybe burnout?) that comes with infertility. It’s hard to be sympathetic with a friend who is ‘accidentally’ pregnant or suffering from morning sickness, but the fact is their suffering is real too. And pain is only magnified when we’re trapped in it. Our Mother can help us with our sorrows. She is with us in this pain. She knew loneliness (Exile in Egypt), anxiety (the Christ Child is lost for three days), and desolation (seeing her son crucified).
There is so much to learn and so much comfort to find meditating on our mother’s sorrows.
One More Thing: If your parish or diocese is offering some sort of a ministry for those facing infertility: Please share with us! We’d love to get more happening all across the US.
Your sisters in the small things,
Nancy and Katie
Things we mentioned in this episode:
Katie’s New Book: Waiting with Mary: A Seven Sorrows Devotional for Catholic Women facing Infertility… Available Here!
Naprotechnology: medical treatment of fertility issues that are in line with Church Teaching on Human Dignity and Sexuality
Organic Conceptions (Online emotional support program for couples dealing with delayed conception/infertility; Coupon Code for J1ST Listeners: JUSTONESMALLTHING)
This instagram post