- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

September 15, 2016

Fr. Gerard D’Souza, OCSO

Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

What does it mean to be totally available for God? We may have our own ideas about it but we must look to the scriptures to see exactly what total availability looks like. What happens when you really say a Yes to God and never take that Yes back, ever?

We can never really see this in our own lives wracked as they are by the ravages of sin. We can only see this in the life of the sinless Virgin Mary.

At the annunciation, Mary says – Yes. What a yes it is. Let it be done to me according to your Word. Mary gives up any attempt at self-determination then. The very mind of God alone will determine how Mary’s life is shaped. She will have no more part in it. It will be for the other. And her ‘Yes’ thus means a gradual despoiling of her life – a giving, and a giving until there is nothing more to give.

At the annunciation – none of us, Mary included can know where this Yes will take her. Today on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, we see what it means to be totally available for God. St John’s Gospel puts it very simply ‘standing by the cross of Jesus was his mother’. The cry of her Son has taken life in her ‘My God, My God why have you forsaken me?’ May is forsaken by her Son. Forsaken by the Father, forsaken by the disciples, forsaken by the mocking crowd. Her whole being is forsakenness. She has given herself away or rather allowed herself to be taken away from herself to such an extent that there is only emptiness, vast emptiness now. The Yes has come to full term in Mary at the Cross. She is forsakenness itself. And even at this point Mary stays faithful to her Yes.

A spiritual writer says ‘Mary at the Cross meets dread but does not take flight. Flight out of dread stems from original sin. Original sin alleviates this dread for the sinner – by a life- long flight unless the mercy of God intervene and puts an end to flight from fear. Mary is exposed and unprotected. She does not flee because she is without sin. She does not set limits because limits come from sin but in her love is perfect.’