Sunday, May 13, 2007

Death of Jesus III

"My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" (Mt 27: 46)
These memorable words were spoken by Jesus from the Cross, in a moment of unfathomable darkness. Scholars have often likened these words to have been spoken at the height of Jesus' dark night of the soul. St. Bridget of Sweden tells us of the effect these words had on the Blessed Virgin: "she was never able to forget {them} for the rest of her life. She saw her Jesus suffering on every side. She longed to help him, but could not."
What would be the cause of the greatest suffering in the heart of Mary as she stood watching her Son die? According to St. Alphonsus de Ligouri it was the fact that her suffering had the effect of increasing the suffering of her Son. Just imagine a moment - a mother watching helplessly as her own child in tortured to death, unable to help in even the smallest way...then imagine knowing that your being there actually causes your child's suffering to be worse!? Could there be anything in all creation more terrible? "The grief which filled Mary's heart," say St. Bernard, "flowed like a torrent into the heart of Jesus and aggravated His martyrdom to such an extent that on the cross Jesus suffered more from compassion for His mother than from His own torments." Speaking in the name of Mary he continues: "I stood with my eyes fixed on Him, and His on me, and He was more sorry for me than for Himself. She stood there dying, without being able to die."
Blessed Battista Varani of Camerino was a visionary of Jesus - He assured her "that when He was on the cross, He was so saddened at seeing His mother at His feet in such bitter anguish that pity for her caused Him to die without any consolation whatever." So moved was this Blessed that she was powerless but to exclaim, "O Lord, tell me no more about your sorrow, for I cannot bear to hear any more!"
Imagine, if you will, the astonishment of all who looked upon this Sorrowful Mother as she watched her Son die. She uttered not a complaint, her lips silent...but her heart spoke unceasing canticles of love and devotion, offering her sufferings to the Father in union with her Son's for the salvation of the whole world. This is a Truth of our Catholic Faith! One we must be familiar with and so very grateful for!!
By the merits of her sufferings and sorrows, the Blessed Virgin Mary "cooperated in our birth to the life of grace. That is why we can truthfully say we are the children of the life of grace. Christ willed that she, the cooperator of our redemption and the one whom He had determined to give us for our mother, should be present there. It was at the foot of the cross that she was to bring forth us, her children." If Mary knew any consolation amidst her desolation - it was this. She was assisting in the redemption of the world. She was assisting in our salvation.
Jesus revealed this to St. Bridget of Sweden in a vision: "My Mother Mary, because of her compassion and love, was made the mother of all in heaven and on earth." Our Lord testifies to this also with His words of farewell to Mary, "Woman, behold your son" (Jn 19:26) Since this moment, Mary has been our devoted Mother.
I urge you, let her be your Mother - pray her rosary, pray the chaplet of least think from time to time on all she suffers on your account and cooperate with her efforts to lead you to her Son.
O my Mother, it was you who one day wept over your son who died for me. Offer your tears to God, I beseech you, and by means of these obtain for me true sorrow for my sins. Have pity on me, O Queen of Heaven, do not let my soul, nor the souls of those for whom I pray, go down into the fire. O Mary Mother of God, be our salvation! Amen+
(Source: The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Ligouri)

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