Stress and the Blessed Virgin Mary – Br. Jack Crowley

Br. Jack Crowley headshot

Br. Jack Crowley

John 19:25b-27

The Blessed Virgin Mary went through many stressful situations in her life. Think about how stressful those nine months of her controversial pregnancy with the son of God must have been. Then to give birth while traveling. Then to have to flee into Egypt. Then the pressure of raising a son who is the Messiah.

So imagine how Mary felt that fateful Friday in Jerusalem watching her son slowly tortured, mocked, and executed by the authorities of her day. Her son did not die a clean, quiet death. The crucifixion would have been loud, chaotic, and messy.  After all the stress Mary had been through in her life, for it to culminate with her son dying on a cross like that feels like a cruel fate.

Mary did not give in to self-pity or despair. Our Gospel this morning demonstrates how Mary endured the stress and trauma of the crucifixion with quiet resilience. The Gospel writer tells us that as Jesus hung on the cross, Mary and the Beloved Disciple stood beside each other. I personally find great comfort in this image, Mary and the Beloved Disciple standing in solidarity focused on Jesus. They were not running away or shielding themselves from the horror unfolding before them. They took it all in. They were able to take the pain together.

The crucifixion marked a fundamental turning point in the relationship of Mary and the Beloved Disciple. The Gospel writer tells us that starting from the very hour of the crucifixion, the Beloved Disciple took Mary into his own home. Again, I find great comfort in this image. Mary and the Beloved Disciple did not let the trauma of the crucifixion split them apart. They did the opposite, they came closer together. This is a beautiful act of rebellion.

We may be tempted in times of stress to hide, to isolate ourselves and try to heal ourselves. Full of shame and self-reliance, we may even try to hide our wounds from God. Mary and the Beloved Disciple show us that we do not have to do that. We can move in with one another and navigate this pain together.

As we round the corner towards Lent, ask yourself if you feel alone in your pain right now. If the answer is yes, ask yourself why. Ask yourself what do you have to lose from exposing your wounds, stress, and trauma to others and God. We’ve all been through something, no one is spared from it. So let us look to Mary and the Beloved Disciple for the inspiration to heal, to move in, and to move on together. Amen.

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