Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mother of God, Soothe My Sorrows

POOR MARY, THE DARK CIRCLES BENEATH HER EYES suggest sleeplessness. She holds her left hand to her temple. Perhaps she has a headache - considering the separation of her Son in the sadness of his bitter rejection. But she contemplates our sorrows too, and the Holy Child seems suspended, as if hovering in love over the world's grief.

On a Saturday morning,
Sister Eunicia
phoned my mother
that I had failed arithmetic and
would need to go to summer school
to be promoted to seventh grade.

And I listened from the dining room
to the scary news and ran
from the house
hiding myself
in the locked car.

And my mother came after me,
and coaxed me out,
and took me to her room
where we sat on her bed.

And I liquefied, crying,
"I can't do anything right."
And she put her arms around me and
said, "That's not true, Stephen,
no one can grow tomatoes like you do."

What  a stretch!

But echo-like,
indeed a voice,
that tiny annunciation,
for a moment at least
putting me back together -
soothing my sorrows.

Have you seen the news about the little four year old boy who got up on the platform where Pope Francis was giving a talk? And the four-year-old stood in front of the pope and waved to the tens of thousands. And he hugged the pope's legs and sat on his chair. And the pope welcomed him and blessed him. And the boy's mother said that the little guy had been adopted from Colombia a year ago and she believed the pope's blessing was for all the abandoned children of the world. How gracious and spiritually awake is that!

Troparion Before the Icon of the Mother of God ~ Assuage My Sorrows

Sooth the pains of my much-sighing soul,
O Thou who hast wiped away every tear flowing
from the face of the earth:
for Thou dost drive away the sickness of humanity;
and quench the afflictions of the sinner.
We have obtained hope and support in Thee,
O Most Holy Virgin.


  1. I am going to take your story/poem and use it as a reminder to be more comforting this week as a little trial. The next time my son says "I am nothing! I can't do anything right! I am so stupid!", I will try to be calmer and more nurturing and not just tell him that he is being ridiculous. I need to be more mindful of his feelings and really listen to what he is saying. Life is a lesson we never fully learn. Thanks for this wake up call to be kinder and more supportive.

  2. Thank you Father, this could not have come at a better time for this "much sighing soul".

  3. I have to thank you also. After reading the comment I too realize that how we perceive our children and their self-perception may differ. I showed this post and comment to my 13 year old son who frequently puts himself down. I told thim that his would be our guide. We would look for the positives and remember to ask for the Mother of God to drive away the negativity and restore my faith in my abilities as a parent. I can listen and offer comfort as your sweet mother did. It must have made and impact as you remember this moment which occurred a lifetime ago I want my son to remember me this way.

  4. Woke up in need of some grace
    To carry me through the day
    The Mother of God appeared before my eyes
    One click later
    A comforting remembrance
    A comforting prayer
    Feeling better already
    The day can begin

  5. I can imagine when Joseph and Mary lost the 12 year old Jesus they said to each other, "What's wrong with us; how could we have lost him?" Heaven understands the struggles of parenting. Believe it!

  6. We can all relate to having to be put back together at one time or another in our lives. Thank God for the people that surround us to do so. May we remember that Mary is there for us also, as you say, to soothe our sorrows. We must remember to reach out and pray to her. She is watching out for us, but we have to open ourselves up spiritually to be willing to accept her comfort.

  7. No doubt Father that too often we think we are being ok parents. Giving them what they want sometimes instead of what they really need, constant love, reassurance, soothing of their sorrows. Another reminder that needs to be inserted daily to us struggling parents.