"Patience smooths away lots of difficulties." — St. John Bosco
MEDITATION OF THE DAY "In this valley of tears, every man is born to weep, and all must suffer, by enduring the evils that take place every day. But how much greater would be the misery of life, if we also knew the future evils that await us! 'Unfortunate, indeed, would be the situation of someone who knows the future', says the pagan Roman philosopher Seneca; 'he would have to suffer everything by anticipation'. Our Lord shows us this mercy. He conceals the trials that await us so that, whatever they may be, we may endure them only once. But he didn't show Mary this compassion. God willed her to be the Queen of Sorrows, and in all things like his Son. So she always had to see before her eyes, and continually to suffer, all the torments that awaited her. And these were the sufferings of the passion and death of her beloved Jesus. For in the temple, St. Simeon, having received the divine Child in his arms, foretold to her that her Son would be a sign for all the persecutions and oppositions of men. ... Jesus our King and his most holy mother didn't refuse, for love of us, to suffer such cruel pains throughout their lives. So it's reasonable that we, at least, should not complain if we have to suffer something." — St. Alphonsus Liguori, p. 222 AN EXCERPT FROM A Year with Mary
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Our Lady of Sorrows
Saint of the Day for September 15
The Story of Our Lady of Sorrows
For a while there were two feasts in honor of the Sorrowful Mother: one going back to the 15th century, the other to the 17th century. For a while both were celebrated by the universal Church: one on the Friday before Palm Sunday, the other in September.
The principal biblical references to Mary's sorrows are in Luke 2:35 and John 19:26-27. The Lucan passage is Simeon's prediction about a sword piercing Mary's soul; the Johannine passage relates Jesus' words from the cross to Mary and to the beloved disciple.
Many early Church writers interpret the sword as Mary's sorrows, especially as she saw Jesus die on the cross. Thus, the two passages are brought together as prediction and fulfillment.
Saint Ambrose in particular sees Mary as a sorrowful yet powerful figure at the cross. Mary stood fearlessly at the cross while others fled. Mary looked on her Son's wounds with pity, but saw in them the salvation of the world. As Jesus hung on the cross, Mary did not fear to be killed, but offered herself to her persecutors.
John's account of Jesus' death is highly symbolic. When Jesus gives the beloved disciple to Mary, we are invited to appreciate Mary's role in the Church: She symbolizes the Church; the beloved disciple represents all believers. As Mary mothered Jesus, she is now mother to all his followers. Furthermore, as Jesus died, he handed over his Spirit. Mary and the Spirit cooperate in begetting new children of God—almost an echo of Luke's account of Jesus' conception. Christians can trust that they will continue to experience the caring presence of Mary and Jesus' Spirit throughout their lives and throughout history.
Dear Lord, help me to be open to you for this time as I put aside the cares of this world. Fill my mind with your peace, Your Love.
Lord, you granted me the great gift of freedom. In these times, O Lord, grant that I may be free From any form of racism or intolerance. Remind me, Lord, that we are all equal in your Loving eyes.
I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God. I trace out these links, giving thanks for the life that flows through them. Some links are twisted or broken: I may feel regret, anger, disappointment. I pray for the gift of acceptance and forgiveness.
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 Ps 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.
Sequence (Optional) - Stabat Mater
At the cross her station keeping, Stood the mournful Mother weeping, Close to Jesus to the last.
Through her heart, his sorrow sharing, All his bitter anguish bearing, Now at length the sword had passed.
Oh, how sad and sore distressed Was that Mother highly blessed Of the sole begotten One!
Christ above in torment hangs, She beneath beholds the pangs Of her dying, glorious Son.
Is there one who would not weep, 'Whelmed in miseries so deep, Christ's dear Mother to behold?
Can the human heart refrain From partaking in her pain, In that mother's pain untold?
Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled, She beheld her tender Child, All with bloody scourges rent.
For the sins of his own nation Saw him hang in desolation Till his spirit forth he sent.
O sweet Mother! font of love, Touch my spirit from above, Make my heart with yours accord.
Make me feel as you have felt; Make my soul to glow and melt With the love of Christ, my Lord.
Holy Mother, pierce me through, In my heart each wound renew Of my Savior crucified.
Let me share with you his pain, Who for all our sins was slain, Who for me in torments died.
Let me mingle tears with you, Mourning him who mourned for me, All the days that I may live.
By the cross with you to stay, There with you to weep and pray, Is all I ask of you to give.
Virgin of all virgins blest! Listen to my fond request: Let me share your grief divine.
Let me to my latest breath, In my body bear the death Of that dying Son of yours.
Wounded with his every wound, Steep my soul till it has swooned In his very Blood away.
Be to me, O Virgin, nigh, Lest in flames I burn and die, In his awful judgment day.
Christ, when you shall call me hence, Be your Mother my defense, Be your cross my victory.
While my body here decays, May my soul your goodness praise, Safe in heaven eternally.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary; without dying you won the martyr's crown beneath the Cross of the Lord. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 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.
Gospel Lk 2:33-35
Jesus' father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ Saint John is the only evangelist to depict Mary at the foot of the Cross. He did this to make the theological point that she has a place of special importance beside the disciple 'whom Jesus loved' at the cross and as a founder of the community of disciples that Jesus left.
▪ Mary is the first Christian who heard the word, accepted and followed it. Ask her to intercede for you in receiving that grace from her Son.
Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the Word of God? Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry? Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me, I speak out my feelings, as one trusted friend to another.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: John 19:25-27
Our Lady of Sorrows (Memorial)
Standing by the cross of Jesus . . . (John 19:25)
Did you know that today's feast wasn't always called "Our Lady of Sorrows"? When it was first observed in the twelfth century, it was called "Our Lady of Compassion." Doesn't this perfectly describe an essential part of Mary's relationship with her Son—and her relationship with us?
What is compassion? Think about how helpless you can feel when you see someone you love suffer. That person is hurting. You try to comfort them, but you can't take away the pain. All you can do is share it.
Or think about a child falling and scraping his knee. A mother's first impulse is to run toward him and gather him in her arms. The knee still hurts, but his mother's embrace tells him that it's going to be all right.
This helps us understand Mary. She went through scary, painful, and vulnerable situations with Jesus. Like any mother, she surely wanted to run and scoop him up in her arms when she saw his anguish. She couldn't take away the pain. She didn't always have the answer, but she could embrace him. And when she couldn't do it physically, she remained close to him in prayer.
One traditional way to honor today's feast is by praying through the Seven Sorrows of Mary: Simeon's prophecy of a sword, the flight into Egypt, losing Jesus at the Temple, watching him carry his cross, the crucifixion, taking him down from the cross, and his burial. Rather than contemplating how sorrowful Mary was in each instance, try focusing on how she reached out to comfort Jesus. Imagine her rushing to lift him up, enfolding him in her arms. Picture her offering him a look of compassion and support when she couldn't reach him.
Don't stop there. Imagine Mary comforting you. She knows what it's like to suffer. She embraces you; she prays with you; she reminds you that you are still in God's hands. Let her hold you close. Let her warmth envelop you like a child in the arms of his mother. Then let her carry you to Jesus, who has every grace and blessing waiting for you.
"Mary, I am so grateful that you are my mother! Thank you for your heart of compassion."
We heard in today's 1st Holy Scripture: "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective."
We prayed today in the Holy Psalm "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."
In the Holy Gospel we receive the Word of God "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." If you want a hefty book on recognizing the Mother of our Lord, then pick up the book called "Behold Your Mother" by Tim Staples where he explains the position of our Mother in Heaven, and how she does not in any way compete with Christ as many protestant believe. The rule of the world teaches that Mary is bad. One time a young man that knew I was Catholic because we met in a nursing home, and he was not Catholic, he ran into me at an AutoZone parts store, and he gave me a cartoonish-like booklet that as I flipped through really insulted the Mother of God, and at one point said she was of the devil. And this, the mother of our Lord that is in Heaven. The rule of the world and aim of many protestants is to do away with anything that is not of the made up god in their view. For this atrocity, she stood with a sword in her heart next to the crucifixion, next to the body of the Lord up on that cross so highly exalted, by our own doing...where Pontius Pilate had exclaimed before wiping his hands clean "Behold the MAN" and the people yelled "lets crucify him!!!" and the blood thirst of the Roman times, the death loving people had death put on the Man, the son of Man, the Man of God. And the Man is the son of Mary, the chosen one, the ark of the covenant, and her reward for such a humbling honor? A sword into her heart, trespassed by our trespasses.
Jesus gave his last drop of blood, and before that, gave us His beloved Mother, for He had nothing else to give but all His holy love. How many times have I heard of a loved one, like the man the directed a cursillo this year, his only grandson was dying during our cursillo, and he had always exclaimed in our meetings "let the dead bury the dead", and his grandson died on the 3rd day of our weekend. To which he had said to the Lord before his passing "take my life, not his". But the Lord desires what is good. How many mothers plead for the Lord not to take away her child? Mother Mary did as well, she already knew He would be killed and had already prayed to have her life taken...but as we read, she was a martyr before dying in the flesh, already crowned with glory to God, partaking of the chalice of her own blood that hung on that cross, her own love pouring out on that cross, the only love she ever knew....GOD!!!
I know many of us still struggle with this faith. Today is a day to grapple with our sorrows and join them with the sufferings of others. This is called "pouring out". There are two pictures that touch my heart, one, the Holy Mother carrying the baby child Jesus, and the second, our Mother carrying the dead body of the Christ Jesus. From conception to death, to resurrection, she is there, having believed before anyone else on earth in the power of God and HIS perfect Son. Yet, if you saw Jesus today, you would not see perfection. WHAT? Are you nuts Adrian? LOL. Yes, our eyes could not see Him. Our ways of thinking hinder us from seeing Him. Perfection resides for a perfect heart. Our ugly lives think what we know is pretty or nice are trained in the rule of the world. I am disgusted with the wretched food of the world. I am tired of the blasphemies against the Lord in the unbecoming manner of behaving, dressing, and seeing. We live in a world where the Son of God, JESUS, is trampled and thrown in the trash (in the unborn, and the elderly). We live in a world where an earthly man named Mohammed or Buddha or even a gay man can not be ridiculed, but Jesus, the Holy Son of God, can be trampled and thrown in the trash, and one can be burned at stake for even simply uttering His name. You see how the rule of the world rules? And what if I were to say, it's because of what is in your heart at this very moment? "Oh, no, now you've gone completely mad Mr. Adrian! I"m unsubscribing from your list!" AHH. Wait a moment. Let the sword pierce your heart of pride, let it be drained of all the impurities, so Christ fills it with His Blood and Body. I'm striking the nerve of every heart that carries the sin of mankind. If God gave Mary a sword of sorrows, it was good...a gift...for the greater good. And she accepted. She said yes. And followed through to the end. Such a gift of God is a gift of the Holy Spirit...final perseverance, charity (compassion), and is reserved for those willing to accept the chalice of Christ.