"Standing by the cross was his mother."
The fidelity of Mary to Jesus, especially during his suffering and death, has been a consolation to believers since the beginning of Christianity. While his closest friends abandon him at the moment of his most acute need, Mary does not, and her refusal to leave her son in his suffering challenges us to live our faith in a much more complete way.
At the same time, a less than careful understanding and appreciation of Mary's role in the story of our salvation, can be dangerous. Suffering in itself is not a good, and Mary's fidelity should not encourage any of us, but especially women, to accept abuse or unnecessary suffering. Jesus challenges the Pharisees and Sadducees at every turn when the lay heavy burdens of others and do nothing to help the confused and lost. Mary's courage is similar. Though she can do nothing to ease her son's suffering, she is not passive. She accepts her fate, but does not seek it.
Today, accept what you must, but work to change a society and church that sometimes idealizes the suffering of women.
Which women in your life most impress you with their endurance and fidelity?