Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Burial of Jesus II

"You are changed to be cruel toward me"
(Job 30:21)
In grief and sorrow did Mary sit on Calvary, her dead Son in her arms, pressing Him to her heart. The disciples, fearing Mary may perish for sorrow, approached her reluctantly to remove from her our Lord's body to bury Him. With holy fear did they lift Him from her grasp, annoint Him with aromatic herbs and enfold Him in the shroud. This cloth of course is well known as the Shroud of Turin whereupon His sacred image can still be seen.
This mournful procession walks toward the tomb. The disciples carry Jesus on their shoulders. Imagine the multitude of angels which walked beside them, walking among them our Blessed Mother, following her Son to His final resting place. "O, how willingly would Mary have buried herself alive with her Son had this been His will!" This she revealed to St. Bridget of Sweden. But...alas this was not His holy will. She was to live on and be the mother of St. John, and the mother of us all. The body of Jesus was placed in the tomb, annointed with the tears of Mary. Alongside His body were placed the nails of the crucifixion and the crown of thorns.
According to St. Alphonsus de Ligouri: "When it was time to raise the stone to close the entrace, the grief-stricken disciples approached our Blessed Lady and said to her, "It is time now, O Lady, to close the tomb. Forgive us; look at your Son once more, and say goodbye to Him for the last time." Her reply, the author imagines was thus: "O my beloved Son, am I not going to see you any more? Receive, then, my last farewell, as I gaze upon You for the last time, the last farewell of your devoted mother. Receive my heart, which I bury with you." So we can say with confidence, buried in the tomb of Christ, was His holy body, and beside it the soul of Mary.
May I spend the remainder of my days, sweet mother, in grieving over your sufferings an dthe sufferings of my Redeemer. These sorrows, I hope, will give me the confidence and strength I will require at the hour of my death, so that I will not despair at the thought of the many sins by which I have offended my Jesus. You must obtain pardon, perserverance, and heaven for me. In heaven I hope to be happy with you; may it be so. Amen. Amen+

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Burial of Jesus

"For where your treasure is, there also shall your heart be" (Luke 12:34)
Any mother at the bedside of her dying child fully compassionates their sorrows and pains. When the time of burial arrives, the finality of separation becomes very acute. The time has come for the final goodbye. Let us now together meditate on this, our Sorrowful Mother's last sorrow, the burial of her Divine Son.
Mary has looked on as her Son was nailed to the cross. She stood before Him as He breathed His last. She gasped with pain as His side was opened by the soldier's lance. She has held His cold and lifeless body in her holy arms and cleansed Him with her own veil. She now must leave Him in a cold, dark tomb and must come to grips with the reality of never seeing Him again in this life.
St. Alphonsus de Ligouri places the following words on our Mother's lips as she speaks to her dead Son: "Yes, for all your noble qualities, your beauty, grace, virtues, your charm - all the special marks of love you have shown me, the special favors you have granted me - all are now changed into so many arrows of grief. The more those features caused me to love you, the more they now cruelly make me feel your loss. My beloved son, in losing you I have lost everything."
My sorrowful mother, I will not leave you to weep alone. No, I will weep along with you. This is the grace I ask you to obtain for me: to be able always to bear in mind and to have a tender devotion to the Passion of Jesus and your sorrows. Amen+
(Source: The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Ligouri)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Another Meme!

Ray at Stella Borealis has tagged me for another "About Me" Meme.

This one is from me Ray!

Here are the rules according to whomever likes to make up rules:

• Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
• People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
• At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
• Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Eight things about me that you really don't need to know

1. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog? That one is easy! I hope to promulgate devotion to the Sorrows of Mary as sanctioned by and enriched with indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church. I hope and pray to recieve the promises given by Heaven for practicing and speading this devotion. I also hope to assist the Holy Souls in Purgatory by encouraging devotion to them as well. Both jobs are equally important to me. I try (with the exception of memes!) to stay in the background of this blog. Mary Most Sorrowful - may thy prayers on behalf of my wicked soul obtain for my the gifts of humility and the love of being hidden!

2. Are you a spiritual person? Bleech! Being spiritual is code for "I believe in a higher power but not in any religion" Well, I am a proud Roman Catholic. I am a religious lay person and a member of Christ's body, that is the Roman Catholic Church. When I say the Creed: "We believe in one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.." I mean every word with all my heart and soul.

3. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want to have with you?

  • A cell phone with a signal

  • Enough food and water to keep me alive

  • uh...a boat would be good?
4. What’s your favorite childhood memory? My mother reading bedtime stories to me, and the way she would hug and hold me when I was sick.

5. Are these your first (tagging) memes? My third actually.

6. Eight random facts about me.
  • I often fall asleep with my Rosary in my hands. The feel of the Rosary beads in my hands is the most comforting things in my life and could be likened holding Mary's hand.

  • I LOVE eating out. I love to dine with other people in full restaurants and sip wine and talk, talk talk...

  • My favorite city is Montreal (my husband is from there)...Ah la rue de St. Denis ~ les restaurants, les magasins, les gens dans la rue...tu me manques!

  • I am absolutely, mad dog, crazy in love with my French Canadian husband. I am not exaggerating!

  • I have a thing about those pretty scented body sprays - I'm not sure I could live without them..

  • I LOVE coffee. The best coffee I've ever tasted is from Le Brulerie de St. Denis in Montreal.

  • I studied in Paris during college for a time. Hated it there, wanted to kiss the ground when I got off the plane back in the U.S. If you want to immerse yourself in french, go to Quebec, the people are actually nice there and don't treat you like trash.

  • One of my greatest joys in life is brushing my daughter's hair. They have the most beautiful shades of dark golden hair!

Tagging 8 people: goes: Dymphna at Dymphna's Road, The Cannonball at The Crescat, Jayne at So Many Devotions, So Little Time..., Chris at Domine Non Sum Dignus, Hilaire at Through the Valley, Mary Alexander at Against all Heresies, Heather at Catholic Mom in Sweden and The Coffee Wife at The Walled Garden.

The Piercing of the Side of Jesus and His Descent from the Cross IV

"Return, you transgressors, to the heart"
(Isa 46:8)

According to St. Alphonsus, this is what Mary said as she sat with the body of her dead Son in her arms. How much pain continues to be inflicted upon the Immaculate Heart of Mary as men continue to pierce it with their sins? Let us resolve not to torment our dear Mother again. Let all us sinners return to Jesus, place our wounded souls in the spear wound of His Sacred Heart. Go there ~ sorry for your sins and He will welcome and pardon you. He will never spurn the contrite heart.

Mary revealed to St. Bridget of Sweden that as Jesus reposed in her arms: "she closed the eyes of her Son when He was taken down from the cross, but she could not close His arms." She also related that Jesus: "intended us to understand by this that He wanted to remain with His arms extended to receive all penitent sinners who return to him."

Hear your Sorrowful Mother speak: "Now that my Son has died to save you, it is no longer a time of fear for you, but a time of love; a time to show love to Him who, in order to show you the love He has for you, was willing to suffer much...if then my Son was pleased that His side should be opened through an excess of love so that He could give His heart to you, it is right, O man, that you should give Him yours in return."

Go with Mary, she will obtain for you the grace to not be rejected at the heart of Jesus.


Have pity on me, O Mother, for I have not loved God and have offended Him so much. Your sorrow encourages me to hope for pardon. But this is not e nough. I desire also to love my Lord. And who can obtain this grace of love for me better than you who are the mother of fair love? O Mary, you are a consolation to everybody; console me also. Amen+

(Source: The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Ligouri)

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Great Promise of the Rosary

"If you say the Rosary faithfully until death, I do assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your sins 'you shall receive a never-fading crown of glory.' Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil as sorcerers do who practise black magic, and even if you are a heretic as obstinate as death for the purpose of knowing the truth and obtaining contrition and pardon for your sins, sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and will save your soul, if-- and mark well what I say-- if you say the Holy Rosary devoutly every day until death." ~St. Louis de Montfort

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Piercing of the Side of Jesus and His Descent from the Cross III

“My beloved was white and ruddy” (Canticle 5:10)

After our Lord’s side was pierced by the soldier’s lance, our Lady begged Joseph of Arimathea to obtain Pilate’s permission to remove His body, fearing He may be abused further. Joseph explained Mary’s wishes to Pilate and this permission was granted. According to St. Anselm, Pilate’s stone heart was softened with pity for the Mother of Jesus and, “so moved him to grant the request.”

Jesus was thus taken down from His cross. “Oh how many swords,” says St. Bonaventure, “pierced that poor mother’s soul” when she took the dead Jesus into her arms. She who held him in the stable, all pink, warm, beautiful and full of life…now she holds Him again, dead, beaten, broken and cold. We can imagine, perhaps as we pray the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary, our Blessed Mother, standing there arms outstretched in order to receive Him.

The scene is best related to us by St. Alphonsus Ligouri, quoting one Bernardine de Bustis: “She embraced Him and then sat down at the foot of the cross. His mouth was open, his eyes were dim. She examined His mangled flesh and his exposed bones. She took off the crown and gazed at the wounds the thorns had made in His brow. She saw the gaping holes in His hands and feet. Then she said to him: “O my Jesus, your love for men has brought You to this. What harm did you ever do them that they should treat you so cruelly? You were my father, my brother, my spouse, my delight, my glory. You were everything to me! O my dear Son, see how desolate I am! Look at me and comfort me. But you can no longer look at me. Say only one word and comfort me. But you cannot speak any more, for you are dead. O cruel thorns, O cruel nails, O merciless spear, how could you possibly torture your Creator? But why do I speak of thorns and nails? It is you, O sinners, who have treated my Son so cruelly!”

O most Holy Virgin, now that you have given your Son to the world with such great love and for our salvation, behold, the world now give Him back to you. But, O God, what a condition He is in! My beloved was white and ruddy (Cant 5:10), Mary says to the world, but you return Him to me blackened with bruises and red from His wounds you inflicted on him. He was beautiful, but now He is no longer beautiful, but all disfigured. His appearance used to make people happy, but now he excites only horror in those who look upon Him. O Mary, Mother most sorrowful, please accept our prayers, offered to compassionate thy sufferings and weepings…be comforted in some small way by our prayers and help us to grow in holiness so we may not longer inflict wounds on your Son. Amen+
(Source: The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Ligouri)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Piercing of the Side of Jesus and His Descent from the Cross II

"One of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, and immediately there came out blood and water" (Jn 19:34)
The followers of Jesus, including His Most Holy Mother, were Jews. Being thus, they wanted the body of Jesus taken down from His cross in order to prepare for and celebrate the Sabbath which was fast approaching. The bodies of those crucified could not be removed until they were dead. So, the soldiers stepped up to the scene in order to make death a reality - quickly. They made fast work of the criminals to Jesus' right and left, they then approach Our Lord.
According to St. Bonaventure, Mary at this time, begged the soldiers to not break her Son's legs. Trembling with fear she says: "My Son is already dead. Do not harm Him any more; I am His poor mother." While she was saying this, a soldier "rode up, brandishing a lance and plunged it through the side of Jesus. The cross shook when the lance pierced the body of the Savior and, as was later revealed to St. Bridget, the heart of Jesus was divided in two." Blood and water gushed forth - even these, perhaps the last drops of precious blood which remained to Him - He was pleased to shed for us. He had no more to give.
Jesus, His soul having fled His spotless body, did not experience the pain of this blow. Mary, his grieving Mother bore the pain of the lance. "Christ shared this wound with His mother. He received the hurt; his mother endured the pain."
Church Fathers maintain that this is the actual sword foretold by St. Simeon in his prophesy at the Presentation. This was a sword not of iron, but of grief. The soul of Jesus was one with the soul of Mary. Thus says St. Bernard: "The lance which pierced His side passed through the soul of the Blessed Virgin, a soul that could never leave her Son's heart." Mary indeed spoke of this to St. Bridget of Sweden: "When the spear was drawn out, the point was red with blood. It was then, when I saw the heart of my own dear son pierced, that I felt as though my own heart were also pierced." An angel later revealed to the same Saint: "Mary's sufferings were so great that it was only by a miracle on God's part that she did not die from them." Only now, she no longer has a Son to share her sorrow with. She is alone in the world for the first time in her holy life.
Let us go often to the foot of the cross with Our Lady and ask her to offer our small sufferings and sacrifices together with her sorrows to the Eternal Father. He is highly pleased with souls who honor His Mother's sorrows.
O sorrowful Virgin! O soul great in virtue but also in sorrow, for both were born of that mighty flame of love which you have for God, your heart can love no one but God and Him alone. Pray for us who have recourse to Thee. Be our salvation! Amen+
(Source: The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Ligouri)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Piercing of the Side of Jesus and His Descent from the Cross

"My beloved children, I do not ask you to comfort me, for my soul is no longer capable of being consoled now that my Jesus has died. But if you wish to commiserate with me, look at me and see if there has ever been a sorrow like mine in the world, for the one I love so much has been torn from me with such great cruelty."
~St. Alphonsus Ligouri
Let us consider carefully the words St. Alphonsus puts on the lips of our Sorrowful Mother. Sadly, Mary's suffering does not end with the death of her, yet another sword of sorrow shall pierce her Immaculate Heart.
Let us now consider the sixth sorrow which transfixed Our Lady's soul - we ought to ponder and weep. According to St. Alphonsus Mary's sorrows up until now have tortured her one by one, but now they "converge, as it were, to assail her all at once." When Jesus died, Mary's first desire was to travel in spirit with Him to the Eternal Father, in order to there present Jesus to Him. "I present to You, O my God," he imagines her saying, "the immaculate soul of your and my Son. He has obeyed You to death. Receive Him therefore in Your arms. Your justice has now been satisfied, Your will accomplished. The great sacrifice to your eternal glory has now been consummated." Then our Suffering Mother turns to the lifeless body of her Son: "O wounds, O wounds of love, I adore you, and I am happy because of you. By means of you, salvation has been given to the world. You will remain open in the body of my Son and be the refuge of all who have recourse to you. How many will be pardoned for their sins through you! How many will be inflammed by you with love for Jesus!"
Jesus, through Your holy wounds you have saved the world. I bring to the foot of your cross, then to the feet of your holy Mother, in whose arms you now lifeless lay. Have mercy on us O Lord, grant us refuge in your wounds. Shelter us, O Lord for the wickedness and snares of the spirit of the world and bring us unto You in the light of endless song. Amen+

Monday, May 14, 2007

About Me Meme

I`ve been tagged for the About Me Meme and here goes.

1. Male or Female: Female

2. Married or Single or Religious: Married

3. Dream vacation: Several week long pilgrimage (with orthodox priests, daily Mass the whole Catholic shebang) through the holy sites of Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Greece. Taking a Greek Island tour by ship in the footsteps of St. Paul would round it out nicely. And no, I would not go to Medjugore! Church approved sites ONLY.

4. Birthplace: Edina, Minnesota

5. Area I live in currently: Southern Minnesota, Winona Diocese

6. Someone you wish you could meet: The Blessed Virgin Mary

7. Biggest "pet-peeve": Noisy eaters and overall bad table manners (wolfing food, talking with mouth full of get the picture)

8. Favorite Religious devotion: The Rosary

9. Favorite Saint (besides the Blessed Mother): Jehanne the Maid, aka Joan of Arc

10. Favorite sport that you play: Running, if that’s a sport.

11. Favorite food: Crispy tacos, preferably with a margarita!

12. Tridentine or Novus Ordo: I’m very happy with a Novus Ordo well done, in Latin, with reverence, solemnity, beautiful vestments and lots of Gregorian Chant – in Latin!

13. Would you (or are you) home schooling or public school: Home is ideal but not for me. Public school is better than a bad Catholic school. There is only a so-so Catholic school here and we send the youngest there and so far so good.

14. How many kids do you have: Six

15. Ever been in an auto accident: Yes – I was 18 months old, in a car seat between my parents in the front seat. We were stopped at an intersection in rural Minnesota when a drunk driver collided with another car. They both then collided with our car, striking the passenger back seat area, killing my sister instantly. She was in third grade and had very recently made her First Communion. The rest of the family suffered only minor injuries. I ask each of you to offer a small prayer for my sister’s soul, her name was Brenda. I don’t remember her, but I miss her every day.

16. Ever seen a Pope in person: Sadly no

17. Languages that you know fluently: English, French and Swedish (not sure about fluent, but I know enough to get by in conversation and can read them well)

18. Last movie you saw in theatres: Spiderman 3, (we need to lobby for killing off the Kirsten Dunst character – I really mean it) She was soooo irritating with nearly constant whining and crying that I was actively hoping for her character’s death throughout the movie! Ok…enough rant.

19. Favorite Blog: Off the Record by Diogenes – he’s my hero :)

20. Your thoughts on Barney, the Easter bunny, and Santa Claus: Words can’t tell you how happy I am that all my kids have outgrown Barney! I find the Easter Bunny an irritating and vacuous secular distraction during the most holy time of the year. Now Santa I have a soft spot for – don’t mess with Santa!

Please accept my apology if you've done this meme before!

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)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Death of Jesus II

"Anyone who had been present then on Mount Calvary would have seen two altars on which two great sacrifices were being offered: the one in the body of Jesus, the other in the heart of Mary" ~ St. John Crystostom

According the St. Augustine: "The cross and nails of the Son were also those of the Mother; crucified with Christ was also his mother." We hear this sentiment also from St. Bernard: "Love inflicted on the heart of Mary the tortures which the nails caused to the body of Jesus." Again from St. Bernardine: "At the very same time that the son was sacrificing his body, Mary was sacrificing her soul."

Mothers in general, when witnessing the death of their children do everything in their power to relieve the child's suffering. She speaks slowly, soothingly, she moves gently, smoothing their childs hair back ~ all touch and speech is directed at the comfort of the child and away from their own breaking heart. As a nurse, who for years worked in pediatrics, I have witnessed this scene several times. Each time is shockingly similar. Near the end, or at times of great distress, mothers (and fathers to a lesser degree) orient themselves totally and completely to the child. They seem to utterly forget their own suffering, which is great - and fly to the aid of the child. O how love begets sacrifice!

Mary was similarly obliged to attend the deathbed of her Son. Mary however could offer Jesus no relief. Mary was indeed a most afflicted mother. Jesus spoke "I thirst" and she could offer Him no drink. Perhaps she said, in the words of St. Vincent Ferrer "My son, I have only the water of my tears." As Jesus hung on a bed of torture by three nails, she could not place Him in a more soothing position. "In vain," says St. Bernard "she stretched forth her arms; they only sank back empty on her breast." She was unable to give Jesus the consolation He sought, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah, "I have trodden the winepress alone...I looked about and there was none to help; I sought, and there was none to give aid" (Isa 63:3, 5).

Who could console Him, who is Our God as He suffered upon His cross? ~ for all were his enemies! This was related by Mary to St. Bridget of Sweden: "I heard some say that my Son was a thief; others, that He was an imposter; others, that no one deserved death more than He did; and every word was a new sword of grief to my heart."

Think on all Mary offered on the altar of sacrifice, in union with The Lamb ~ for us.


O my Mother, keep me near you so that I may weep with you. I have good reason to shed bitter tears for the many times I have committed sins against my Savior. O Mother of mercy, I hope first through the death of my Redeemer, and then through your sorrows, to obtain forgiveness and eternal salvation. Amen+

(Source: The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Ligouri)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Death of Jesus

"There stood by the cross of Jesus his Mother" (Jn 19:25)
Mary was indeed a martyr - one condemned to watch her innocent child be murdered, slowly and in great agony.
In the above biblical quote, John did not deem it necessary to say more on Mary's martyrdom. We can see her at the foot of Jesus' cross. Let us stay with her for awhile and consider this fifth sword of sorrow which pierced our Blessed Mother's heart.
After reaching Calvary, Jesus was stripped of all his clothing. His hands and feet were impaled with blunt nails. They raised his cross and placed it in a hole, then left him to die. The soldiers left him, but Mary did not...she then walked right up and remained close to her son. As she herself revealed to St. Bridget: "I did not leave him, but stood nearer the cross."
St. Bonaventure comments on the scene: "What good did it do you to go to Calvary and see your son expire? Shame should have prevented you from going, for his digrace was your disgrace since you were his mother. And if not shame, at least horror of witnessing such a crime as the crucifixion of a God by his own creatures. But your heart had no regard for its own sorrows, but only for the sufferings and death of your loved one. And so you wished to be present to suffer along with him." No, not even the fear of death itself, nor shame would keep Mary from her Divine Son.
What a spectacle of sorrow was beheld by those on Calvary that day. Jesus suffering untold of agony with his tearful mother standing close by. Mary recounts this to St. Bridget of Sweden: "My Jesus was breathless, tormented, and in the last stages of exhaustion on the cross. His eyes were sunk, half-closed, and lifeless. His lips were swollen and his mouth hung open. His cheeks were hollow and drawn in. His face was gaunt, his nose sharp, his countenance sad. His head had fallen on his breast, his hair was matted and gory, his stomach collapsed, his legs and arms stiff, and his whole body covered with wounds and blood."
All of these sufferings of Jesus were also the sufferings of Mary, his holy and Immaculate Mother. The next time you meditate on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, give special attention to Our Lady, bent with pain and unspeakable sorrow at the foot of the cross. Whisper to her your gratitude for her offering of pain on your behalf. Compassionate her sorrows and she will shower you with graces in return!
O most sorrowful of all mother, your son is now dead - that son so loving, who loved you so much! Weep, for you have reason to weep. Who can ever bring you any consolation? Only this thought can console you: that, by his death, Jesus conquered hell, opened heaven, and gained so many souls. From the throne of the cross, he will reign in millions of hearts. Conquered by his love they will serve him with love.
(Source: Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Ligouri)

Friday, May 4, 2007

Mary Meets Jesus II

"His look was, as it were, hidden and despised; whereupon we esteemed him not...We have thought him, as it were, a leper" (Isa 53:3,4).

How horrible it must have been for Our Sorrowful Mother to see the instruments of her son's torture and death paraded before her eyes. As the soldiers walked by her, wielding the nails, hammer, the ropes, the very tools that would cause his death.

There she stood, perhaps at a street corner, hoping to catch a glimpse, then he approaches...struggling beneath the weight of the cross, she is finally able to gaze upon the flesh of her flesh, bone of her bone...covered with blood, sorely wounded from head to foot, crowned with thorns, a stammering gait. We are wise to gaze upon him with the words of Isaiah: "We have seen him and there was no sightliness" (Isa 53:2).

Others may not have been able to recognize him, but she does. She wants to see him, yet she would not be human if she did not feel some trepidation and dread at this pitiful sight. She watches him approach, their eyes meet. According to St. Bridget who was gifted with seeing this scene in vision, Jesus then wiped away the matted and clotted blood from his eyes so he could look at his mother. The mother and the son look at one another and their looks "became as so many arrows to pierce those hearts which loved each other so tenderly." Mary did not faint at this meeting, for Christ's mother would not lose the use of her reason. Nor did she die, despite her heart and soul being plunged in a sea of bitterness that could have caused a thousand deaths.

According to St. Anselm she would have embraced Jesus, but was prevented by the guards who "thrust her aside with insults and pushed the suffering Savior forward." Mary followed. O holy Virgin, where are you going? To Calvary. Can you trust yourself to see him hanging there who is your very life? "And your life shall be, as it were, hanging before you" (Deut 28:66).

Mary took up her cross and followed him, to be crucified along with him. St. John Chrysostom describes the scene thus: "We humans feel pity even for wild beasts. If we see a lioness following her cub to death, we are all moved at the sight. Should we not be much more greatly moved to compassion on seeing Mary following her immaculate Lamb to death?" Let us pity her, and walk beside her and her son by carrying our crosses with patience in our everyday lives. Be grateful for all Mary has suffered for your sake.


O Mary, you and Jesus - both innocent as you were - have carried a far heavier burden. Shall I, a sinner who has deserved hell, refuse to carry mine? O immaculate Virgin, help me to bear patiently all the crosses of my life. Amen+

(Source: The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Ligouri)

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Mary Meets Jesus

"Weeping, she has wept in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: there is none to comfort her among all them that were dear to her" (Lam 1:2).

"The more tenderly she loved, the more deeply she was wounded. The greater her love for him, the greater her grief at the sight of his sufferings, especially when she met him on that dolorous way, dragging his cross to the place of execution. This is the fourth sword." St. Lawrence Guistiniani.

The Blessed Virgin Mary revealed to St. Bridget of Sweden that as the time of her son's Passion came near, she wept continually. She also described how she was covered in a cold sweat due to fear as she pondered the sufferings Jesus was to undertake. Jesus went in tears to his mother to say goodbye on that terrible day. After this Mary was plunged into sadness, as St. Bonaventure describes: "You spent that night without sleep. And while others slept, you kept watch." In the morning the disciples brought her news of Jesus' arrest and questioning. Later they would bring her news of his condemnation, as St. Leo says "this unjust judge condemned him to death with the same lips with which he had declared him innocent." "O sorrowful Mother," exclaimed St. John, "your son has now been condemned to death; he has already set out on the road to Calvary, carrying his own cross. Come, if you desire to see him and say farewell to him, as he passes through the streets."

Mary goes with St. John, following the trail of his sacred blood, as she described to St. Bridget: "I knew from the footsteps of my son that he had already passed by, for the ground was stained with his blood." She may have taken a shortcut in order to see Jesus, the sorrowful mother went to meet her sorrowful son. It is commonly believed that as she waited, she was recognized by many who derided her, saying dreadful things against her and her beloved son, in effect now turning the sword which pierced her Immaculate Heart.


My sorrowful Mother, by the merit of the sorrow you felt at seeing your beloved Jesus led to his death, acquire for me the grace to be able to bear with patience the crosses God sends me. I shall really be very happy if I can only learn how to accompany you with my cross until my death. Amen+
(Source: The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus Ligouri)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Jesus Lost in the Temple II

"And the light of my eyes itself is not with me" (Ps 37:11)

Mary's sorrow at the loss of her son in the temple was made worse by not knowing the why of his loss. She was not informed as to the cause nor the purpose of her son's actions. According to Lanspergius: "Our Sorrowful Mother was grief stricken by the loss of Jesus because in her humility she regarded it as a sign that she was no longer worthy to remain with him or attend him on earth, or to be in charge of such a treasure." Perhaps she thought herself guilty of some negligence or fault that caused Jesus to leave her. "They looked for him," says Origen, "fearing he might have left them for good."

According to St. Alphonsus Ligouri, it was for fear of having offended Jesus that Mary complained to him, "Son, why have you done so to us? Your father and I have sought you sorrowing" (Lk 2:48). She certainly was not scolding him, whom she knew to be God, she was merely expressing her grief, not a rebuke, but rather a loving complaint.

This sorrow of Mary can serve for us as a consolation in times of pain and desolation. We may weep and suffer, but with confidence, with Mary as our example. Do not be afraid that you have lost divine grace during times of dryness and spiritual darkness when you are not aware of mortal sin. We can be encouraged and assured by the words of St. Teresa of Avila: "no one is lost without knowing it, and no one is deceived without wishing to be deceived." If His Majesty withdraws from us it is for the purpose of increasing our seeking, in essence to purify our desire.

If we desire to find Jesus, we would do well to search for him as Mary did. She searched for him amidst pain and tribulation, crosses and mortifications...not amidst comforts and worldliness. "We sought you sorrowing," Mary said to Jesus. "Learn then from Mary," says Origen, "how to search for Jesus."


Mary, so you sigh after Jesus, you who love no one but Jesus? Leave sighs to me, and to so many sinners who do not love him, or have lost him by offending him. Most loving Mother, if it is my fault that your son has not yet returned to my soul, obtain for me the grace of finding him. I know well that those who seek him find him. The Lord is good to the soul that seeks him. Help me to search for him as I should. You are the gate through which all find Jesus. I too hope to find him through you. Amen+
(Source: The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Ligouri)