In the Suffering, He Is Good

Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

I am reminding you, brothers and sisters,
of the Gospel I preached to you,
which you indeed received and in which you also stand.
Through it you are also being saved,
if you hold fast to the word I preached to you,
unless you believed in vain.
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received:
that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he was buried;
that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.
After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once,
most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
After that he appeared to James,
then to all the Apostles.
Last of all, as to one born abnormally,
he appeared to me.
For I am the least of the Apostles,
not fit to be called an Apostle,
because I persecuted the Church of God.
But by the grace of God I am what I am,
and his grace to me has not been ineffective.
Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them;
not I, however, but the grace of God that is with me.
Therefore, whether it be I or they,
so we preach and so you believed.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 118:1B-2, 16AB-17, 28

R. (1) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
“The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
the right hand of the LORD has struck with power.”
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
You are my God, and I give thanks to you;
O my God, I extol you.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

Gospel: John 19:25-27

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.



She stood there at the foot of the cross as her Son choked out His last breaths. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.

She had just watched the crowd mock, torture, and jeer at the babe of her heart, the one she gave life to, the one she nursed at her breast, the one she had once protected but could no longer. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.

She shook her head and wept as, in His final hour, He made arrangements for her. He was thinking of her, even up there on that cross, her beautiful boy.  Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.

She recalled the prophesy given to her in His infancy; she felt the sword piercing her chest. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.

And in all of it she had to hope, had to believe that the Father was good. She would give Him thanks, even when she couldn’t understand. She had to trust in her Son, too, for she knew that He “must be about [His] father’s business” (Luke 2:49).

I will likely never suffer the way that Our Lady of Sorrows has, but motherhood once brought its own kind of sorrow upon me. Maybe for you it’s been brought on by bad relationships, or depression, or abuse, or severe loneliness. Maybe the cause of our sorrow doesn’t matter as much as the existence of it.  We all know the darkness of despair.

And yet in humanity’s bleakest hour, our Mother chose trust. When nothing made sense, in the height of her agony, I believe she reminded herself that God was good and worthy of thanks. And if she could do it even in her suffering, there is grace for me to do it in mine.

We can still give thanks to a good God even in the midst of our sorrow. Click To Tweet

We are never alone in our sorrows and pains. And we can still give thanks to a good God even in the midst of them. Even when we don’t understand.

photo credit

Shannon Evans is a Protestant missionary turned Catholic convert who lived to tell the tale. An adoptive and biological mom of three boys, she enjoys hosing mud off children, scrubbing sticky furniture, and rushing to the ER to have nails extracted from small intestines. You can find out more about her here.

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