Women, Unite Your Hearts to Our Lady of Sorrows

Excerpt from ‘Mary, Teach Me to Be Your Daughter’

Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady of Sorrows (photo: Image reproduction / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

This excerpt from Mary, Teach Me to Be Your Daughter (Ascension, 2023) is reprinted with permission.

There are a number of difficult circumstances when prayer might be difficult. In this, we as women might unite our hearts to Our Lady of Sorrows and remember we are not alone. God in his tender love and mercy extends great compassion for these impoverished moments, and Our Lady brings light into what to do in each and all of these struggles. Suffering without Christ is just suffering, but united to him and given to him, it becomes a powerful form of prayer. It is by and through a continual — and sometimes daily — surrender that we receive the gift of joy in suffering made sweet, only possible through Jesus.


Our Lady’s heart was always united to her son’s Sacred Heart, and she demonstrates that each part of life, in all moments, can become like incense and rise up as prayer. This frees the woman, in her humanity, to understand that no part of herself must be hidden from God, but on the contrary, when she brings all parts of her life to him, she is further purified in his love. It is in that daily communication with God that she sets a foundation for service and strength to manage the day ahead.

It is only by and through an interior prayer life that the work and mission of man and woman are ignited and fueled. A woman’s prayer may begin with simple steps: a new commitment to a daily Rosary, dedication to morning and evening prayer, an examen of her actions at the end of a night, and a resolve to do or not do certain things the following day. Or perhaps they are more significant resolutions such as attendance of daily Mass, a Holy Hour in the wee hours of the morning, or a commitment to silent prayer behind a closed door for a certain amount of time each day. Holy Mass is the greatest prayer we might participate in. In addition, the promises of a daily Rosary are powerful, and then, of course, spiritual reading is valuable: the Word of God, the lives of the saints, or devotionals to ignite a greater love and understanding in our hearts. All of these are good and beautiful, and all will bring grace upon grace into each day.

Prayer is the foundation of all service, and without it, nothing can be done well. The graces received in prayer cannot be achieved without prayer, and so to serve well a woman must always pray. No service, work, or mission can be perfected outside of God and seeking to do his will in all things. All service grows upon this prayer and perfects itself when prayer is the foundation.

Our Lady shows that in every state, in every moment, in all that a woman does, she is called to pray; that a whole life united to Christ becomes a continual prayer: in joys, in laughter, in celebration, in friendships, in relationships, and in sorrows, disappointments, suffering, illness, misfortune, and loss. There is no moment lost when a woman keeps Christ in the forefront of her mind and recognizes that he is a God of love who desires for her true freedom from sin and peace founded in a life of diligent and faithful, persevering prayer.


The word “pondering” itself reveals much about Our Lady’s interior life. In all things, through all seasons, in her many works, in regular duties of a household, and the extraordinary responsibilities of suffering, “Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). Her hidden heart carried the treasures of the universe as she most perfectly united her heart to the heart of God. This quiet interior peace rose to the Lord as a fragrance rises to heaven, as a rose blossoms and reveals a sweet fragrance to those witnessing it.

Our Lady, who is essentially defined by her perpetual surrendering to the will of God, was the freest creature to have ever existed. It may be a temptation to think Our Lady was so strict and controlled that she must have been cross, serious, and rigid. On the contrary, she knew when it was a time to feast just as well as she knew when it was a time to fast. She knew intimately when it was time to weep and when it was time for laughter. She knew when it was time to mourn and when it was a time to rejoice. When it was time to meditate and when it was time to serve. She knew quite a bit about time and what she should be doing and when.

She reflected the very heart of his mercy by and through this perfect disposition and balance and she pleased the Lord in all that she did, thought, and pondered. Her pondering is none other than the heights of contemplation and unitive prayer. She meditated on the works of God, his ways above her own, and in her humility, she was taken up into the love of God most fully. This interior disposition resulted in her peaceful nature and exterior obedience to suffering and trials of life.

‘Rowing Team’

The Commonly Misunderstood Common Good

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