In honour of the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows
By Faith (not her real name), an EnCourage member
When my then husband came out to me that he was gay and that he was already in a relationship with his partner, my world shattered into pieces. I was shocked, devastated, and in disbelief over the loss of what I thought was going to be a happy and lifelong marriage. I was in pain and I was grieving. We had been together for many years, and shared many happy memories. He was a very good person with a good heart, and was the best friend I ever had. I could not have imagined that this would happen to me. It was mind-boggling. In the months that followed, I went through much mental and emotional anguish, desperately trying to process and make sense of the relationship I thought we had. With time, I recognised that I needed to eventually let go of him as a husband, and focus on my own healing journey.
A few months into grieving, I chanced upon a talk about the devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows. It was something new to me, as this title of Mary was not something that was commonly mentioned. At the talk, I learnt more about each of the Seven Sorrows of Mary and the deep suffering she endured in her life – when she listened to the prophecy of Simeon, when she fled into Egypt, when Jesus was lost in the Temple for three days, when she met Jesus on His way to Calvary, when she stood at the foot of the Cross, when Jesus was taken down from the Cross, and when He was laid in the tomb. In her life, Mary suffered so intimately with Christ, her grief was as wide and as deep as the sea. Even though she was the Mother of God, she was not spared from experiencing suffering. I could not fathom the immensity of her pain, and what it took for her to endure it.
As I sat with Mary’s sufferings, feebly attempting to imagine what she must have felt, I was comforted in the knowledge that I was not alone in my grief. Even when I felt that no one in the world could fully understand what I went through, I knew that Mary surely could. She would be able to walk with me through the grief and pain, because she had been there. Simply gazing at the image of Mary with her heart pierced by seven swords gave me the strength and courage to sit with my own pain, without trying to find all the answers.
I pondered about how confused and grief-stricken Mary must have felt with all that led to Jesus’ cruel death, yet in spite of not understanding everything, she humbly accepted living the mystery. I looked to Mary as my model of patient endurance and trust that God was still good and faithful, despite what I could only see as a tragedy. The imagery of Mary standing at the foot of the Cross was especially poignant for me. It invited me to stand with Jesus, like Mary, who also suffered for me, and in that sharing of pain, also shared in a deeper intimacy with Him.
On some days, I found strength praying the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Mary, praying not only for the healing of my own pain, but also that of other brothers and sisters throughout the world. Gradually I realised that in some way, I was also united with many others who were going through their unique circumstances and suffering, be it physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. Just as Mary played an important role in God’s plan of redemption, we too play this role when we unite our sufferings with Christ. Even though the pain and sorrow were not taken away immediately as I had hoped, knowing that there was a God who would catch me no matter how deeply I grieved, and who had the power to turn every drop of tear for good, gave me meaning and strength as I continued to walk the path towards healing.
Today, I continue to give thanks for the immense healing and joy that had come through from grieving deeply, the many who helped me including the community in EnCourage, and God’s healing power, accompanied by Mary our Mother who showed me the perfect example of carrying our sorrows with total surrender and trust in God.
Mary, our Mother, in all our difficulties, pain and losses, pray for us and help us to be like you – humble and patient in trials and sufferings, open and fully surrendered to God. We ask you to comfort, guide, protect, and be with us, and keep us faithful as we walk through this pilgrimage of life. Amen.
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Faith is a member of EnCourage, which is the Church’s support group for parents and spouses of LGBTQ loved ones. She enjoys spending time with God through silent moments of meditation and long walks in nature. She strives to be attentive and attuned to God amidst the hustle and bustle of life..
The opinions and experiences expressed in each entry in the Reflections page belong solely to the original authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Courage Singapore. Some entries have been edited for length and clarity.