Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Empty House

I recently came into possession of a medal of Our Lady of Tears. I have a devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows, experience wonderful peace and great graces by praying the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows so yesterday I decided to pray the very similar Rosary of Our Lady of Tears.

As I was meditating on the sorrows that Mary felt as she watched her most precious, beloved, sinless, innocent God-man son suffer at the hands of those He loves so much, a thought occurred to me.

There is another facet of Jesus’ Passion, and maybe one of the most painful of them all, that I had not yet considered: Jesus had to watch His mother suffer during His Passion. He saw her tears as she took in the agony he endured. Her heart undoubtedly broke a thousand times, for she understood the horror of it all far more than we can even today.

Imagine the love between this mother and Child, who is love itself. Any parent knows what it is like to watch your child cope with pain. That we would do anything to make the pain stop, but understanding that there are some hurts that we just can’t take away.

I had always reflected on Our Lady’s sorrows through the eyes of a mother. I simply can’t imagine what she endured to as she watched her Son, whom she loved so much, be beaten and spit upon, have his flesh torn from his body, be vilified, reviled and crucified by people He loved.

But I had never considered what Jesus endured watching His mother. I always thought it was so beautiful that she was there to support Him, never leaving His side. But He watched her agony too, and that no doubt tore his most Sacred Heart.

Thinking about it took me back to the night my father died, ten years ago. Despite poor health, his passing was somewhat unexpected. I thank God, for my father received many wonderful blessings that night. He received Last Rites from our parish priest, who we literally bumped into moments after hearing the shocking diagnosis that my father had just hours to live. He died surrounded by his entire family and his best friend. There was so much love in that room.

We left the hospital in a daze and drove home to a house that suddenly seemed to be the emptiest place in the world. My father was all around us – his half-finished crossword puzzle sat on the table – yet he was gone.


Though I was an adult, long married and living in another city, I slept that night in my parents’ bed. I laid on my father’s pillow and my heart ached for one more hug from the man I had loved more than anything else. I didn’t think I could hurt any more until I heard my mother’s quiet sobs.

It was the worst moment of my life.

I knew her heart was broken. She watched him suffer so much and now she had to say goodbye to the man who had been at her side for 46 years. I would have done anything to ease her pain, yet I knew there was nothing I could do to lessen her sorrow. I just laid there and whispered, “it’s okay Mom.”

Jesus felt that pain too. The pain of watching His mother’s heart break.
It is heartbreak that I can only begin to understand because of that horrible night ten years ago.

He knew that He would die on the Cross. He knew she would be at His side. And she would receive His body.

From the Cross, He knew the mother He loved with all His heart would go home to an empty house.

And He did it for us.


  1. Wonderful and very thought-provoking post. Thank you so much.

    God bless.

  2. Beautiful, heartbreaking reflection. I am so sorry about your father. I know that the sorrow of loss lasts beyond the funeral, and I am sure that Jesus is longing to comfort you every day as he longed to comfort his mother at the foot of the cross.

  3. I was very very moved by this post. Thank you for sharing such a personal experience. My prayers for you and the souls of your family.

    God Bless.