Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
Wednesday, September 15th Lk. 2: 33-35 OUR LADY OF SORROWS “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.”
- Let us enter into the Two Hearts that love and suffer for us and our eternal salvation more than anyone else can, by contemplating one of the Seven Sorrows of Mary, the Crucifixion of Jesus.
FIFTH SORROW OF MARY – JESUS IS CRUCIFIED.
BIBLICAL PASSAGE: Jn 19: 16-30. (READ AND CONTEMPLATE SLOWLY)
In this fifth sorrow, Mary is witnessing with her own eyes and her own sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, her beloved son, Jesus suffering a most cruel death nailed to a cross.
BE THERE WITH MARY. In your prayerful contemplation be present with Mary as she watches the soldiers roughly thrust His Sacred Body onto the cross. She sees them extend Jesus’ hand that blessed the children and healed the sick, and nail it to the wood of the cross. Blood comes spurting forth—the Precious Blood that Mary gave to Jesus. As they extend His other hand, Gibson’s film shows His shoulder being brutally and mercilessly pulled out of the joint as Jesus writhes in pain. As Our Lady witnesses this, the sword of sorrow pierces her heart.
HIS FEET. Next they nail to the wood of the cross Jesus’ feet, no more to walk about bringing Good news to the poor, liberty to the captives, sight to the blind, and liberty to the oppressed—the rejected and abandoned of society. (Lk 4:18) The feet that Mary watched taking their first steps are now fastened tightly to the cross with nails. His Sacred Blood comes gushing forth to forgive our sins and attain for us eternal salvation. Let us thank Mary for giving to Jesus His Sacred Humanity that He offers now as a holocaust for our salvation!
THE CROSS LIFTED UP. Be with Mary as the cross is elevated on high and then roughly thrust into the ground, racking Jesus Body with more pain. Our Lady watches with her eyes and contemplates in her Immaculate and sorrowful heart all that Jesus is willing to suffer for our redemption, and in her heart, she again gives her fiat.
JESUS’ LAST WORDS. With Our Lady, let us stand underneath the cross and contemplate Jesus lacerated and bloody body. Let us listen to the words that He pronounces as He ends His earthly life. Jesus ascends the pulpit for the last time and delivers His most eloquent sermon. We are present with Mary to listen to His words attentively. The Gospel highlights the attitude of Mary: “For her part, Mary pondered the Word of God in her heart.” (Lk 2:19) Our Lady can teach us to pray and to ponder the Word of God in our hearts. Jesus reminds us: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4)
Now with Mary, let us listen to the last words of Jesus and derive much spiritual fruit. Which words of Jesus touch you the most right now?
THE SEVEN LAST WORDS OF JESUS:
1) “Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.”
2) “I thirst.”
3) “Woman behold thy son; son behold thy Mother.” From that moment the beloved disciple received Mary into his home.
4) “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?”
5) “Amen, amen I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
6) “Into your hands I commend my spirit.”
7) “It is finished.”
THREE STYLES/FORMS OF LIFE—UNDERNEATH THE CROSS. Venerable Fulton J. Sheen states that beneath the cross we encounter three forms of life…
FIRST, SAINT MARY MAGDALENE. Once a public sinner, she was converted by the love of Jesus and the loving presence of Mary. Jesus actually cast seven devils from her. The Magdalene is symbolic of PENITENCE—she was a truly penitent sinner, with tears of sorrow, and a firm purpose of amendment of life.
SECOND, SAINT JOHN. He was the Beloved disciple who laid his head on the most Sacred Heart of Jesus at the Last Supper. Saint John represents the PRIESTHOOD. Furthermore, in the person of Saint John we have all of humanity. Why? Because when Jesus was giving Mary as Mother to Saint John, He was giving Mary to all of humanity, and to each of us individually as our universal Mother! From that time, John took Mary into his home. The deeper spiritual meaning of this is that Saint John was taking Our Lady into the very depths of his heart. We also want to take Mary into the depths of our hearts now and always!
SPIRITUAL CHILDHOOD. In the midst of these great sorrows, we are called to rejoice because we are not orphans, and we will never be orphans, because Our Lady, the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, the Mother of all of humanity, is truly our Mother too! See yourself as a little child in the arms of Mary. Jesus Himself reminds us: “Unless you become like a little child you cannot enter the Kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 18:3) Our Lady will teach us, just as she taught Saint Therese and Saint Faustina the importance of spiritual childhood. Indeed, Our Lady’s love for all of us, and each and every one of us individually, far transcends what we could ever imagine! Saint Augustine expresses the reality of Mary’s spiritual maternity in these words: “If you were to put all the love, of all of the mothers, of all times and places together, then the love that Mary has for you is much greater!” Indeed how great is Our Lady’s love for God, and for you and me! Stop to reflect on this truth and talk to Mary about your great desire to be her son/daughter.
THIRD, OUR LADY. Magdalene represents Penitence. John represents the Priesthood, as well as our Spiritual Childhood as Mary is our spiritual Mother. Finally, Our Lady represents INNOCENCE. Our Lady was conceived without the stain of Original Sin, and she lived sinless, never giving in to even the slightest sin during the whole course of her earthly life! As the poet Wordsworth expressed about Our Lady: “Woman! Above all women glorified, our tainted nature’s solitary boast.” Therefore, as we stand with the most pure, innocent and sorrowful Mother at the foot of the cross, we want to honestly beg her for the grace to recognize our sinfulness, and then beg Mary most holy for the grace to renounce all sin in our lives! “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
MARY’S INTERCESSION IN OUR MORAL STRUGGLES. Jesus suffered and died on the cross for our sins! In our temptations, let us turn to Our Lady and beg for strength to resist. In our falls and failures let us turn to Our Lady and beg for a true change and conversion of heart. In our weakness, let us beg Our Lady for the grace to renounce sin through frequent recourse to the Sacrament of Confession and frequent and fervent Holy Communions, so that we can die to sin and rise up to new life in Christ Jesus!
Copyright 2021 Oblates of the Virgin Mary / St. Peter Chanel Church, Hawaiian Gardens, CA