Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our Lady of Sorrows

Mother and Child
Corpus Christi Monastery, New York
After a couple weeks of working through the approval process with my insurance company, it came down to my IV line being inserted on this memorial feast of Our Blessed Mother when I was first diagnosed four years ago. A surgical nurse came to my home, sterilized the kitchen table and decked herself out in full scrubs to perform the procedure. I sat with my left arm outstretched, looking down at my lap while she prepared the area near the elbow bend with a bit of numbing stuff and antiseptic, telling me of her own experience receiving such a port, how the shock and pain made her faint.

I was not daunted, however, because it was September 15. When the moment arrived and I was told she was going ahead with the piercing, I began silently to pray, Hail Mary… and it was done. No fainting, but a quick gasp. It’s not the pain, but the violence of it that makes one gasp. And the arm itself does go into shock becoming ice cold to the touch and bloodless. But it is nothing, I imagine, compared to having a nail driven straight through a hand, wrist or foot.

“Let us adore Christ, the Savior of the world, who called his mother to share in his passion,” reads the Invitatory Antiphon for today’s feast. Adoring Christ, who in the midst of His passion gave His mother to us as our own, to me as my own, I am grateful. I am thankful that heaven would have it be that my illness was marked in such a way as to bear this particular wound of it on the day our Church recognizes Mary’s presence and her sorrow at the foot of her child’s cross. As she was present with Jesus in His being pierced, so was she present with me in mine. As she wept for Jesus’ suffering, she was also weeping for mine.

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