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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  1. Patricia Donaldson on February 18, 2023 at 11:13

    What an appropriate reading for me today as I am dealing with an unsustainable housing situation myself. And, just met a lovely man who is living in his car! 😆 OMG As a creative person I have been envisioning a Pocket Neighborhood, the concept and accomplishment of Ross Chapin architect. This would be ideal for safe cozy beautiful housing with privacy and community. This small people oriented community would need be built so as to meet the challenges of sea-level rise and the extreme weather conditions here in Palm Beach County.
    Please pray for me as I first develop stability in my own home. Landlord raised rent again, May sell soon. My lease ends March 30, then rent month to month with 2 month notice to vacate. I could take in a roommate. I just met someone who is in great need. He has social security and a carpenters pension. Do not worry I will seek discernment on this issue. There are issues to be dealt with. But I do have a heart to help him as well as myself. And have a strong desire to continue in quiet expectation of the coming together of the people and things that the miracle of a pocket neighborhood may occur, in Jesus’ Name. I welcome your reply: Patricia Donaldson lightfirephotographies&

  2. Fr. Gregory Dammond on February 18, 2023 at 10:55

    As a.newly bereaved husband, this sermon really spoke the truth to me. Thank you!

  3. Kathy Spence on February 18, 2023 at 09:53

    Thank you Br. Jack for these words. You, your words, touched my heart deeply. It can be so hard to reach out to another during times of pain and suffering, yet this is exactly what is needed. This takes courage. Your heart felt words, give me courage. Thank you for sharing.
    With Gratitude and love,
    +Kathy Spence

  4. Polly on February 18, 2023 at 08:27

    A good message well delivered, Brother Jack. Thank you.

  5. Dee on February 18, 2023 at 07:37

    I don’t continue to feel alone in my pain after I talk with God. His presence brings a light that heals. Sharing it with others is more difficult. The advice seems to follow not compassion there. God does offer compassion which heals.

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