Today is the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, for whom my devotion has grown as the years and the sorrows have accumulated. She’s full of grace, blessed among women, but also wounded. She holds things in her heart. She misses people. She cries sometimes.
This time of year I think of Hopkins’ poem Spring and Fall, talking with a child (named Margaret, of course) about her sadness at the change of seasons. Over the years this has become prayer for me, reminding me that God sees us exactly as we are and doesn’t flinch.
There is no shame in sorrow. It is neither weakness nor faithlessness. We need not wallow in it, but we don’t need to deny it. We are loved – I am loved – even with a broken heart, even in sorrow, the same sorrow Mary shared.
Spring and Fall: to a Young Child
–G. M. Hopkins
Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By & by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep & know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow’s springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.
Video recorded by Boston Light and Sound at the Gardens at Elm Bank. Damien Francoeur-Krzyzek, piano. Image by <a href=”//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Zarateman” title=”User:Zarateman”>Zarateman</a> – <span class=”int-own-work” lang=”en”>Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link