Beholding the Mother of Sorrows at the foot of the Cross, cradling the dead Body of Her Son, Her suffering was all within Her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart; this was Her place of suffering. And it is ours, too, regardless of the cause of our suffering.

When we think about the Crucifixion of Christ and speak of ‘the place of suffering’, you might think we refer to Golgotha or to the Cross itself. This, however, is not the case. For the human person, there is one single place of suffering – the human heart.

Beholding the Mother of Sorrows at the foot of the Cross, cradling the dead Body of Her Son, Her suffering was all within Her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart; this was Her place of suffering. And it is ours, too, regardless of the cause of our suffering.

The devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary offer us these images of the heart – not just a pump, this particular organ is the one we identify with emotions and feelings. We speak of a ‘broken heart’, although the heart is anything but broken – and yet, it is there that we feel the stabbing pain of grief, of loss. We speak of giving someone our heart, as though that were possible – we mean, of course, the heart as the seat of love. The human heart, then, is both the place where we love – and it is the place of suffering.

All of us will encounter suffering deep within our hearts at some point in our lives – that is the common lot. Whether through illness, loss, grief or something else, none of us can escape it. But we can do something good with it. We can turn our little hearts from places of suffering to places of love. How? By doing what the Blessed Virgin did at the foot of the Cross as She held the Body of Jesus – offer it up. Give every ounce of that suffering to God, asking Him to unite it to the sufferings of the Crucified, and in this way, to make it redemptive.

In doing so, we will not find our sufferings lessened – but we will find ourselves supported by divine grace and able to bear them just a little better than before.

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