Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary
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September 15 – Feast of the Seven Dolours of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Octave of the Nativity
w/ Commemoration of St. Nicomedes
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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“Praise and glory be to thee, O holy Trinity, who hast brought us all to this day’s solemnity. Praise be to thee also, O holy Mother of God, scepter of the orthodox faith: through thee the Cross triumphs, and man is called back to heaven; through thee the idols are overthrown, and the nations are brought to repentance.” Such words as these, which the Church borrows from her doctors to close the bright Octave, were doubtless sung in prophecy by the angels around the new-born babe Mary. And such, in the light of the ages since elapsed, must needs be our answer to the question so often repeated at the cradle side: What shall this child be?

The doctrine lately laid down to magisterially by the infallible successor of St. Peter, is this: Since the days of her mortal life, when Mary was, even in this world, truly the Mother of the Church, the Queen of the Apostles and their Mistress with regard to the divine oracles; but especially since she has received in heaven an almost infinite power for dispensing the fruits of redemption: the mighty helper of the Christian people, the restorer of the world, has not ceased to prove herself the impregnable rampart of the Church, the solid foundation of the faith, the fountain springing from God, whence the rivers of divine Wisdom pour out their pure waters, sweeping away heresy from all places.

May so glorious a past give us confidence for the future. “It is by Mary,” says the Blessed Grignon de Montfort, “ that the salvation of the world has begun, and it is by Mary that is must be consummated. Being the way by which Jesus Christ came to us the first time, she will also be the way by which he will come the second time, though not in the same manner. Mary must shine forth more than ever in mercy, in might, and in grace, in these latter times: in mercy, to bring back and lovingly receive the poor strayed sinners who shall be converted and shall return to the Catholic Church; in might, against the enemies of God, idolaters, schismatics, Mahometans, Jews, and souls hardened in impiety, who shall rise in terrible revolt against God to seduce all those who shall be contrary to them, and make them fall by promises and threats; and finally, she must shine forth in grace, in order to animate and sustain the valiant soldiers and faithful servants of Jesus Christ, who shall do battle for his interests. Mary must be terrible as an army ranged in battle, principally in these latter times. It is principally of these last and cruel persecutions of the devil, which shall go on increasing daily till the reign of Antichrist, that we ought to understand that first and celebrated prediction and curse of God, pronounced in the terrestrial Paradise against the serpent: I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed.

“God has never made or formed but one enmity; but it is an irreconcilable one: it is between Mary, his worthy Mother, and the devil; between the children and servants of the Blessed Virgin and the children and instruments of Lucifer. Satan fears Mary not only more than all Angels and men, but in some sense more than God himself. It is not that the anger, the hatred, and the power of God are not infinitely greater than those of the blessed Virgin, for the perfections of Mary are limited; but it is because Satan, being proud, suffers infinitely more from being beaten and punished by a little and humble handmaid of God, and her humility humbles him more than the divine power. The devils fear one of her sighs for a soul more than the prayers of all the Saints, and one of her menaces against them more than all other torments.”

A holy priest named Nicomedes is honored today. The Virgin Martyr St. Felicula, whose body he had buried, obtained for him in return the palm of martyrdom. Let us, together with the Church, implore his protection.

Prayer
Adesto, Domine, populo tuo: ut beati Nicomedis Martyris tui merita præclara suscipiens, ad impetrandam misericordiam tuam semper ejus patrociniis adjuvetur. Per Dominum.
Attend to thy people, O Lord, that having recourse to the splendid merits of blessed Nicomedes, thy martyr, they may ever be assisted by his patronage for obtaining thy mercy. Through, &c.


Let us sing to Mary on her birthday feast this graceful Sequence of the fourteenth century.

Sequence

Nativitas Mariæ Virginis
Quæ nos lavit a labe criminis
Celebratur hodie,
Dies est lætitiæ:
De radice Jesse propaginis
Hanc eduxit Sol veri luminis
Manu Sapientiæ,
Templum suæ gratiæ.

The Nativity of the Virgin Mary, who cleansed us from the stain of our crimes, is celebrated today: it is a day of joy! This is the branch produced from the root of Jesse by the Sun of true light; she is the handiwork of Wisdom, the temple of divine grace.


Stella nova noviter oritur
Cujus ortu mors nostra moritur,
Evæ lapsus jam restituitur
In Maria:
Ut aurora surgens progreditur,
Sicut luna pulchra describitur,
Super cunctas ut sol eligitur
Virgo pia.


A new star newly rises, at whose rising our death dies; the fall of Eve is now repaired in Mary. The gentle Virgin comes forth as the rising aurora; appearing beautiful as the moon, chosen above all maidens as the sun outshines the stars.


Virgo mater et virgo unica,
Virga fumi sed aromatica,
In te cœli mundique fabrica gloriatur:
Te signarunt ora prophetica,
Tibi canit Salomon cantica
Canticorum, te vox angelica protestatur
.

Virgin-Mother and Virgin without peer, pillar of smoke of aromatical spices, both heaven and earth are justly proud of thee. Thee did the ancient seers prophesy; to thee sang Solomon his Son of songs; the Angel’s voice thy greatness did proclaim.


Verbum Patris processu temporis,
Intra tui secretum corporis,
In te totum et totum deforis simul fuit:
Fructua virens arboris,
Christus, gigas immensi roboris,
Nos a nexu funesti pignoris eripuit.


In course of time, the Heavenly Father’s Word in thy chaste body took up his abode, at once wholly within, wholly without. Christ, the fair fruit of an unwatered tree, the giant of immeasurable strength, has freed us from the bond of the fatal pledge.


Condoluit humano generi
Virginalis filius uteri,
Accingantur senes et pueri
Ad laudem Virginis:
Qui poterat de nobis conqueri
Pro peccato parentum veteri,
Mediator voluit fieri
Dei et hominis.


The Son of a Virgin Mother has taken pity on the human race: then let old men and children be prompt to praise the Virgin. He who might well have spoken against us, for that ancient sin of our first parents, chose to become the mediator between God and man.


O Maria, dulce commercium
Intra tuum celasti gremium,
Quo salutis reis remedium indulgetur:
O vera spes et verum gaudium,
Fac post vitæ præsentis stadium,
Ut optatum in cœlis bravium
Nobis detur. Amen.


How sweet, O Mary, was the secret commerce carried on within thy bosom, whereby the remedy of salvation was mercifully given to the guilty! O our true joy and most assured hope, grant that, after the course of this present life, we may obtain in heaven the reward we so desire. Amen.


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O all ye that pass by the way, attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow! Is this, then, the first cry of that sweet babe whose coming brought such pure joy to our earth? Is the standard of suffering to be so soon unfurled over the cradle of such lovely innocence? Yet the heart of mother Church has not deceived her; this feast, coming at such a time, is ever the answer to that question of the expectant human race: What shall this child be?

The Savior to come is not only the reason of Mary’s existence, he is also her exemplar in all things. It is as his Mother that the Blessed Virgin came, and therefore as the Mother of sorrows; for the God, whose future birth was the very cause of her own birth, is to be in this world a Man of sorrows and acquainted with infirmity. To whom shall I compare thee? sings the prophet of lamentations: O Virgin … great as the sea is thy destruction. On the mountain of the Sacrifice, as mother she gave her Son, as Bride she offered herself together with him; by her sufferings both as Bride and as Mother, she was the co-redemptress of the human race. This teaching and these recollections were deeply engraved on our hearts on that other feast of our Lady’s dolors which immediately preceded Holy Week.

Christ dieth now no more: and Our Lady’s sufferings are over. Nevertheless the Passion of Christ is continued in his elect, in his Church, against which hell vents the rage it cannot exercise against himself. To this Passion of Christ’s mystical Body of which she is also a Mother, Mary still contributes her compassion; how often have her venerated images attested the fact, by miraculously shedding tears! This explains the Church’s departure from liturgical custom by celebrating two feasts, in different seasons, under one title.

On perusing the register of the apostolic decrees concerning sacred rites, the reader is astonished to find a long and unusual interruption lasting from March 20th 1809 to September 17th 1814, at which latter date is entered the decree instituting on this present Sunday a second Commemoration of Our Lady’s Dolors. 1809-1814, five sorrowful years, during which the government of Christendom was suspended; years of blood which beheld the Man-God agonizing once more in the person of his captive Vicar. But the Mother of Sorrows was still standing beneath the Cross, offering to God the Church’s sufferings; and when the trial was over, Pius VII, knowing well whence the mercy had come, dedicated this day to Mary as a fresh memorial of the day of Calvary.

Even in the seventeenth century, the Servites had the privilege of possessing this second feast, which they celebrated as a double of the 2nd Class, with a Vigil and an Octave. It is from them that the Church has borrowed the Office and Mass. This honor and privilege was due to the Order established by Our Lady to honor her sufferings and to spread devotion to them. Philip Benizi, heir to the seven holy Founders, propagated the flame kindled by them on the heights of Monte Senario; thanks to the zeal of his sons and successors, the devotion to the Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin Mary, once their family property, now the treasure of the whole world.

The prophecy of the aged Simeon, the flight into Egypt, the loss of the divine Child in Jerusalem, the carrying of the Cross, the Crucifixion, the taking down from the Cross, and the burial of Jesus: these are the seven mysteries into which are grouped the well-nigh infinite sufferings which made Our Lady the Queen of martyrs, the first and loveliest rose in the garden of the Spouse. Let us take to heart the recommendation of the Book of Tobias, which the Church reads during this week in the Office of the Time: Thou shalt honor thy mother: for thou must be mindful what and how great perils she suffered in giving thee birth.


MASS

The daily Sacrifice, though surrounded with all the pomps of the Liturgy, is substantially the same as that of Calvary. But the only assistants at the foot of the Cross were, as our Introit points out, one single man, and a few women weeping around the Mother of sorrows. The Gospel will repeat this Introit, and even its verse which, contrary to custom, is not taken from the Psalms.

Introit
Stabant juxta Crucem Jesu Mater ejus, et soror Matris ejus Maria Cleophæ, et Salome, et Maria Magdalene.
There stood by the Cross of Jesus his Mother, and his Mother’s sister Mary of Cleophas, and Salome, and Mary Magdalene.

℣. Mulier, ecce filius tuus, dixit Jesus: ad discipulum autem: Ecce mater tua. Gloria Patri. Stabant.
℣. Woman, behold thy son, said Jesus; to the disciple however, Behold thy mother. Glory be. There stood.


The honoring of our Lady’s Dolors does not distract our thoughts from the one Victim of salvation. On the contrary, its immediate result, as the Collect shows, is to cause the Passion of our Savior to bear fruit in our souls.

Collect
Deus, in cujus passione, secundum Simeonis prophetiam, dulcissimam animam gloriosæ Virginis et Matris Mariæ doloris gladius pertransivit: concede propitius; ut qui dolores ejus venerando recolimus, passionis tuæ effectum felicem consequamur. Qui vivis.
O God, in whose Passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, a sword of sorrow pierced the most sweet soul of the glorious Mary, Mother and Virgin: grant in thy mercy, that we who call to mind her sorrows with veneration, may obtain the happy effect of thy Passion. Who livest, &c.

Then is added the Collect of the occurring Sunday.


Epistle
Lesson from the Book of Judith. Ch. xiii.

The Lord hath blessed thee by his power, because by thee he hath brought our enemies to nought. Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth. Blessed be the Lord who made heaven and earth, who hath directed thee to the cutting off the head of the prince of our enemies. Because he hath so magnified thy name this day, that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord for ever, for that thou hast not spared thy life, by reason of the distress and tribulation of thy people, but hast prevented our ruin in the presence of our God.

Quote:Oh, the greatness of our Judith among all creatures! “God,” says the pious and profound Father Faber, “vouchsafed to select the very things about him which are most incommunicable, and in a most mysteriously real way communicate them to her. See how he had already mixed her up with the eternal designs of creation, making her almost a partial cause and partial model of it. Our Lady’s cooperation in the redemption of the world gives us a fresh view of her magnificence. Neither the Immaculate Conception nor the Assumption will give us a higher idea of Mary’s exaltation than the title of co-redemptress. Her dolors were not necessary for the resurrection of the world, but in the counsels of God they were inseparable from it. They belong to the integrity of the divine plan. Are not Mary’s mysteries Jesus’ mysteries, and his mysteries hers? The truth appears to be that all the mysteries of Jesus and Mary were in God’s designs as one mystery. Jesus himself was Mary’s sorrow, seven times repeated, aggravated sevenfold. During the hours of the Passion, the offering of Jesus and the offering of Mary were tied in one. They kept pace together; they were made of the same materials; they were perfumed with kindred fragrance; they were lighted with the same fire; they were offered with kindred dispositions. The two things were one simultaneous oblation, interwoven each moment through the thickly crowded mysteries of that dread time unto the Eternal, out of two sinless Hearts, that were the Hearts of Son and Mother, for the sins of a guilty world which fell on them contrary to their merits, but according to their own free will.”

Let us mingle our tears with Mary’s, in union with the sufferings of the great Victim. In proportionas we do this during life we shall rejoice in heaven with the Son and the Mother; if our Lady is now, as we sing in the Alleluia-Verse, Queen of heaven and mistress of the world, is there one among all the elect who can recall sufferings comparable to hers?

After the Gradual follows the Stabat Mater, the touching Complaint attributed to the Franciscan, Blessed Jacopone de Todi.

Gradual
Dolorosa, et lacrymabilis es Virgo Maria, stans juxta Crucem Domini Jesu Filii tui Redemptoris.
Thou art sorrowful and worthy of tears, O Virgin Mary, standing near the Cross of the Lord Jesus, thy Son, our Redeemer.

℣. Virgo Dei Genitrix, quem totus non capitat orbis, hoc crucis fert supplicium, auctor vitæ factus homo.
℣. O Virgin Mother of God, he whom the whole world doth not contain, beareth this punishment of the Cross, he the author of life being made man.

Alleluia, alleluia.

Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Stabat sancta Maria, cœli Regina, et mundi Domina, juxta crucem Domini nostri Jesu Christi dolorosa.
℣. Holy Mary, the Queen of heaven, and mistress of the world, stood by the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, full of sadness.


Sequence

Stabat Mater dolorosa
iuxta Crucem lacrimosa,
dum pendebat Filius.


At the Cross her station keeping, stood the mournful Mother weeping, close to Jesus to the last.

Cuius animam gementem,
contristatam et dolentem
pertransivit gladius.


Through her heart, His sorrow sharing, all His bitter anguish bearing, now at length the sword has passed.

O quam tristis et afflicta
fuit illa benedicta,
mater Unigeniti!


O how sad and sore distressed was that Mother, highly blest, of the sole-begotten One.

Quæ mærebat et dolebat,
pia Mater, dum videbat
nati poenas inclyti.


Christ above in torment hangs, she beneath beholds the pangs of her dying glorious Son.


Quis est homo qui non fleret,
matrem Christi si videret in tanto supplicio?


Is there one who would not weep, whelmed in miseries so deep, Christ’s dear Mother to behold?


Quis non posset contristari
Christi Matrem contemplari
dolentem cum Filio?


Can the human heart refrain from partaking in her pain, in that Mother’s pain untold?


Pro peccatis suæ gentis
vidit Iesum in tormentis,
et flagellis subditum.


Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled, she beheld her tender Child All with scourges rent:


Vidit suum dulcem Natum
moriendo desolatum,
dum emisit spiritum.


For the sins of His own nation, saw Him hang in desolation, Till His spirit forth He sent.


Eia, Mater, fons amoris
me sentire vim doloris
fac, ut tecum lugeam.


O thou Mother! fount of love! Touch my spirit from above, make my heart with thine accord:


Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
in amando Christum Deum
ut sibi complaceam.


Make me feel as thou hast felt; make my soul to glow and melt with the love of Christ my Lord.


Sancta Mater, istud agas,
crucifixi fige plagas
cordi meo valide.


Holy Mother! pierce me through, in my heart each wound renew of my Savior crucified:


Tui Nati vulnerati,
tam dignati pro me pati,
poenas mecum divide.


Let me share with thee His pain, who for all my sins was slain, who for me in torments died.


Fac me tecum pie flere,
crucifixo condolere,
donec ego vixero.


Let me mingle tears with thee, mourning Him who mourned for me, all the days that I may live:


Iuxta Crucem tecum stare,
et me tibi sociare
in planctu desidero.


By the Cross with thee to stay, there with thee to weep and pray, is all I ask of thee to give.


Virgo virginum præclara,
mihi iam non sis amara,
fac me tecum plangere.


Virgin of all virgins blest!, Listen to my fond request: let me share thy grief divine;


Fac, ut portem Christi mortem,
passionis fac consortem,
et plagas recolere.


Let me, to my latest breath, in my body bear the death of that dying Son of thine.


Fac me plagis vulnerari,
fac me Cruce inebriari,
et cruore Filii.


Wounded with His every wound, steep my soul till it hath swooned, in His very Blood away;


Flammis ne urar succensus,
per te, Virgo, sim defensus
in die iudicii.


Be to me, O Virgin, nigh, lest in flames I burn and die, in His awful Judgment Day.


Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
da per Matrem me venire
ad palmam victoriæ.


Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence, by Thy Mother my defense, by Thy Cross my victory;


Quando corpus morietur,
fac, ut animæ donetur
paradisi gloria. Amen.


While my body here decays, may my soul Thy goodness praise, safe in paradise with Thee. Amen.


Gospel
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to St. John.  Ch. xix.

At that time, there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.

Quote:Woman, behold thy son.—My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Such are the words of Jesus on the Cross in our Gospel. Has he, then, no longer a Father in heaven, a Mother on earth? Oh! mystery of justice, and still more of love! God so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son for it, so far as to lay upon him, instead of upon sinful men, the curse our sins deserved, and our Lady too, in her sublime union with the Father, did not spare, but offered in like manner for us all, this same Son of her virginity. If on this head we belong to the Eternal Father, we belong henceforth to Mary also; each has bought us at a great price: the exchange of any only Son for sons of adoption.

It is at the foot of the Cross that our Lady truly became the Queen of mercy. At the foot of the Altar, where the renewal of the great Sacrifice is preparing, let us commend ourselves to her omnipotent influence over the Heart of her divine Son.

Offertory
Recordare, Virgo Mater Dei, dum steteris in conspectu Domini, ut loquaris pro nobis bona, et ut avertat indignationem suam a nobis.
Be mindful, O Virgin Mother of God, when thou standest in the sight of the Lord, to speak good things for us, that he may turn away his anger from us.


How many holy souls, in the course of ages, have come to keep faithful company with the Mother of sorrows! Their intercession united with Mary’s is a strength to the Church; and we hope to obtain thereby the effect of the merits of our Savior’s death.

Secret
Offerimus tibi preces et hostias, Domine Jesu Christe, humiliter supplicantes: ut, qui Transfixionem dulcissimi spiritus beatæ Mariæ Matris tuæ precibus recensemus; suo, suorumque sub Cruce sanctorum consortium, multiplicato piisimo interventu, meritis mortis tuæ, meritum cum beatis habeamus. Qui vivis.
We offer to thee prayers and sacrifices, O Lord Jesus Christ, humbly beseeching, that we who pray in remembrance of the transfixion of the most sweet soul of blessed Mary thy Mother, by the multiplied and pious intercession of her and her holy companions under the cross, may have a reward with the blessed, by the merits of thy death. Who livest.

A commemoration is then made of the Sunday.



The Preface is the same as on the 8th of September, except that for in Nativitate, on the Navitity is substituted in Transfixione, on the Transfixion of the Blessed Mary ever Virgin.


So great, it has been said (Bernardin of Siena, Pro festivit. V.M. Sermo xiii. De exaltatione B.V. in gloria, art ii. c. 2), was Mary’s grief on Calvary, that had it been divided among all creatures capable of suffering, it would have caused them all to die instantly. It was our Lady’s wonderful peace, maintained by perfect acquiescence and the total abandoment of her whole being to God, that alone was able to sustain in her the life which the Holy Ghost was preserving for the Church’s sake. May our participation in the sacred mysteries give us that peace of God which passeth all understanding and which keepeth minds and hearts in Christ Jesus!

Communion
Felices sensus beatæ Mariæ Virginis, qui sine morte meruerunt martyrii palmam sub Cruce Domini.
Happy senses of the blessed Virgin Mary, which without dying deserved the palm of martyrdom beneath the cross of our Lord.


As the Postcommunion points out, the loving memory of our Mother’s sorrows will powerfully assist us to find all good things in the holy Sacrifice of the Altar.

Postcommunion
Sacrificia, quæ sumpsimus, Domine Jesu Christe, Transfixionem Matris tuæ et Virginis devote celebrantes, nobis impetrent apud clementiam tuam omnis boni salutaris effectum. Qui vivis.
O Lord Jesus Christ, may the sacrifices of which we have parteken, in the devout celebration of the transfixion of thy Virgin Mother, obtain for us of thy clemency the effect of every salutary good. Who livest, &c.

The Postcommunion of the occurring Sunday is added, and the Gospel of the same is read at the end of the Mass instead of the usual passage from St. John.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Reply
#2
The Seven Dolors - Devotion Approved by Pope Pius VII in 1815
Taken from here

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Introduction

The purpose of the Devotion of the Seven Sorrows is to promote union with the sufferings of Christ through union with the special suffering that Our Lady endured because she was the Mother of God. By uniting ourselves with both the Passion of Christ and His holy Mother, we enter into Jesus' Heart and honor Him greatly; He is more honored because we have so honored His Mother.

The Seven Dolors are taken from Scripture events and the devotion has a long history, although it was not officially promulgated by the Church until the early nineteenth century. Before Pope Pius VII's formal approval, the Servite Order had permission in 1668 to celebrate the Feast of the Seven Dolors because the Order was instrumental in popularizing the Seven Sorrows Devotion.

In the Middle Ages, Catholic theology concentrated mostly on Christ's Passion; at the side of the Man of Sorrows, however, the faithful always contemplated the Queen of Martyrs. Devotion to the Crucified Christ and to Our Lady of sorrows grew side by side. On Calvary there were in a sense two altars, one in the Body of Jesus, and the other in the Immaculate Heart. Christ immolated His flesh, Mary, her heart, her own soul. On September 15, the day following the ancient feast of the Holy Cross, the Church commemorates the compassion of Mary; but it is fitting during the year, especially during Lent, to honor the Sorrows of Mary.

Mary is not mentioned in the Gospel accounts of Christ's Transfiguration, His entry into Jerusalem, but she is recorded as being present at Calvary. She understood what the Will of God was and was faithful, co-operating with her Son as Co-redemptrix. She had prepared the victim for sacrifice and now she offered Him on the altar of Calvary.

The Gospel, John 19:25, says: "Near the Cross of Jesus stood His mother, his mother's sister, Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene." At Christ's bequest, Mary was proclaimed the universal Mother of mankind from the Cross.

Mary had three loves in her Immaculate Heart: God, her Son, and souls. She so loved the world that she gave her only Son. As St. Bernard said, "The sword would not have reached Jesus if it had not pierced Mary's heart." Mary loved souls and on Calvary, after suffering such cruel torments she merited being the mother of all mankind.

Mary is the Apostle because she is Co-redemptrix: Behold Mary on Calvary, she suffers and prays; she stands, as one offering sacrifice.

St. Ambrose said, "I read that she stood, but I do not read that she wept." When Mary gave us her Son, she gave us everything. Therefore it can very well be said: "Behold this heart which has so greatly loved all people that it has spared nothing for them."


The Seven Graces of this Devotion

1. I will grant peace to their families.
2. They will be enlightened about the Divine mysteries.
3. I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work.
4. I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my Divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.
5. I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.
6. I will visibly help them at the moment of their death, they will see the face of their Mother.
7. I have obtained this Grace from my Divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors, will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son and I will be their eternal consolation and joy.


Benefits of the Devotion to the Mother of Sorrows

1. To realize the value of a soul, worth the supreme Sacrifice on Calvary.
2. To work for souls, by evangelization, duty to life's duties, and prayer for sinners.
3. To pray always, in a life of union with God; whoever has a heart similar to Jesus' and Mary's hearts, will work for the salvation of souls.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Reply
#3
The Martyrdom of Mary Was Never Equaled
by St. Alphonsus Liguori

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The words of the prophet Jeremias explain my meaning on this point:

To what shall I compare thee? or to what shall I liken thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? ... for great as the sea is thy destruction; who shall heal thee? (Lam. 2:13) No, the acuteness of the sufferings of Mary are not to be compared, even with those of all the Martyrs united. "The Martyrdom of Mary," says Saint Bernard, "was not caused by the executioner's sword, but proceeded from bitter sorrow of heart." In other Martyrs torments were inflicted on the body; but Mary's sorrow was in her heart and soul, verifying in her the prophecy of Simeon, Thy own soul a sword shall pierce. (Luke 2:35)

Arnold of Chartres writes that "whoever had been on Mount Calvary, to witness the great sacrifice of the Immaculate Lamb, would there have beheld two great altars, the one in the Body of Jesus, the other in the heart of Mary; for on that Mount, when the Son sacrificed His Body by death, Mary sacrificed her soul by compassion." So much so, says Saint Antoninus, that whereas other Martyrs sacrifice their own lives, the Blessed Virgin consummated her Martyrdom by sacrificing the life of her Son, a life which she loved far more than her own, and which caused her to endure a torment which exceeded all other torments ever endured by any mortal on earth.

As a general rule, the sufferings of children are also the sufferings of their mothers who are present at and witness their torments. This Saint Augustine declares, when speaking of the mother of the Machabees, who witnessed the execution of her children, Martyred by order of the cruel Antiochus: he says that "Love caused her to endure in her soul all the torments inflicted on each of her children." Erasmus adds that "Mothers suffer more at the sight of the sufferings of their children than if the torments were inflicted on themselves." This, however, is not always true; but in Mary it was verified; for she certainly suffered more in witnessing the sufferings of her Son than she would have done had she endured all the torments in her own person. "All the wounds," says Saint Bonaventure, "which were scattered over the Body of Jesus were united in the heart of Mary, to torment her in the Passion of her Son" so that, as Saint Lawrence Justinian writes, "The heart of Mary, by compassion for her Son, became a mirror of His torments, in which might be seen, faithfully reflected, the spittings, the blows, the wounds, and all that Jesus suffered." We can therefore say that Mary, on account of the love that she bore Him, was in heart, during the Passion of her Son, struck, scourged, crowned with thorns, and nailed to the very Cross of her Son.

The same Saint Lawrence considers Jesus on His road to Calvary, with the Cross on His shoulders, turning to Mary and saying to her, "Alas, My Own dear Mother, where are you going? What a scene will you witness? You will be agonized by My sufferings, and I by yours." But the loving Mother would follow Him all the same, though she knew that, by being present at His death, she would have to endure a torment greater than any death. She saw that her Son carried the Cross to be crucified upon it; and, adds Abbot William, she also took up the cross of her sorrows, and followed her Son to be crucified with Him. Hence Saint Bonaventure considers Mary standing by the Cross of her dying Son, and asks her, saying, "O Lady, tell me where did you then stand---was it near the Cross? No, you were on the Cross itself, crucified with your Son." About these words of the Redeemer, foretold by the prophet Isaias, I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the Gentiles there is not a man with me. (Isaias 63:3) Richard of St. Lawrence says, "It is true, O Lord, that in the work of human redemption You did suffer alone, and that there was not a man that sufficiently pitied You; but there was a woman with You, and she was Your Own Mother; she suffered in her heart all that You endured in Your Body."

To show the sufferings endured by other Martyrs they are represented with the instruments of their torture; Saint Andrew with a cross, Saint Paul with a sword, Saint Lawrence with a gridiron; Mary is represented with her dead Son in her arms; for He alone was the instrument of her Martyrdom, and compassion for Him made her the Queen of Martyrs. On this subject of Mary's compassion in the death of Jesus Christ, Father Pinamonti gives expression to a beautiful and remarkable opinion: he says, that "the grief of Mary in the passion of her Son was so great, that she alone compassionated in a degree by any means adequate to its merits the death of a God made man for the love of man."

Blessed Amadeus also writes, that "Mary suffered much more in the Passion of her Son than she would have done if she herself had endured it; for she loved her Jesus much more than she loved herself," Hence Saint Ildephonsus did not hesitate to assert, that "the sufferings of Mary exceed those of all Martyrs united together." Saint Anselm, addressing the Blessed Virgin, says, "The most cruel torments inflicted on the holy Martyrs were trifling or as nothing in comparison with your Martyrdom, O Mary." The same Saint adds, "Indeed, O Lady, in each moment of your life your sufferings were such that you could not have endured them, and would have expired under them, had not your Son, the source of your life, preserved you." Saint Bernadine of Sienna even says, that "the sufferings of Mary were such that had they been divided among all creatures capable of suffering, they would have caused their immediate death." Who, then, can ever doubt that the Martyrdom of Mary was without its equal, and that it exceeded the sufferings of all the Martyrs; since, as Saint Antoninus says, "they suffered in the sacrifice of their own lives; but the Blessed Virgin suffered by offering the life of her Son to God, a life which she loved far more than her own."

The Martyrs suffered under the torments inflicted on them by tyrants; but Our Lord, Who never abandons His servants, always comforted them in the midst of their sufferings. The love of God, which burnt in their hearts, rendered all these sufferings sweet and pleasing to them. Saint Vincent suffered, when on the rack he was torn with pincers and burnt with hot iron plates; but Saint Augustine says that "the Saint spoke with such contempt of his torments, that it seemed as if it was one who spoke and another who suffered." Saint Boniface suffered when the flesh was torn from his body with iron hooks, sharp reeds were forced under his nails and melted lead was poured into his mouth; but in the midst of all, he could never cease to thank Jesus Christ, Who allowed him to suffer for His love. Saint Lawrence suffered when roasting on a gridiron; "but the love which inflamed him," says Saint Augustine, "did not allow him to feel the fire, or even that prolonged death itself."

The greater the love of the Martyrs for Jesus Christ, the less they felt their pains: and in the midst of them all, the remembrance of the Passion of Christ sufficed to console them. With Mary it was precisely the reverse; for the torments of Jesus were her Martyrdom, and love for Jesus was her only executioner. Here we must repeat the words of Jeremias: As the sea is all bitterness, and has not within its bosom a single drop of water which is sweet, so also was the heart of Mary all bitterness, and without the least consolation: Who shall heal you? Her Son alone could heal her and heal her wounds; but how could Mary receive comfort in her grief from her crucified Son, since the love she bore Him was the whole cause of her Martyrdom?

"To understand, then, how great was the grief of Mary, we must understand," says Cornelius a Lapide, "how great was the love she bore her Son." But who can ever measure this love?

Blessed Amadeus says, that "natural love towards Him as her Son, and supernatural love towards Him as her God, were united in the heart of Mary."

These two loves were blended into one, and this so great a love that William of Paris does not hesitate to assert, that Mary loved Jesus ''as much as it was possible for a pure creature to love Him." So that, as Richard of St. Victor says, ''as no other creature loved God as Mary loved Him, so there was never any sorrow like Mary's sorrow."

Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother. Let us stay awhile to consider these words before concluding our discourse; but I entreat you to renew your attention.

There stood. When Jesus was on the Cross, the disciples had already abandoned Him; they had done so from the moment in which He was taken in the Garden of Olives: then the disciples all leaving Him fled. (Matt. 26:56) The disciples abandoned Him; but His loving Mother did not abandon Him; she remained with Him until He expired.

There stood by. Mothers fly when they see their children suffer much, and are unable to give them relief; they have not the strength to endure the torment, and therefore fly to a distance. Mary beheld her Son in agony on the Cross; she saw that His sufferings were slowly depriving Him of life; she desired to relieve Him in that last extremity, but could not; but with all this she did not fly, she did not go to a distance, but drew nearer to the Cross on which her Son was dying.

She stood by the Cross. The Cross was the hard bed on which Jesus Christ had to die. Mary, who stood by its side, never turned her eyes from Him; she beheld Him all torn by the scourges, thorns, and nails; she saw that her poor Son, suspended by those three iron hooks, found no repose. She, as I have already said, would have desired to give Him some relief; she would have desired, at least, that He should have expired in her arms; but no, even this is forbidden her. "Ah, Cross!" she must have said, "restore me my Son; you are a gibbet for malefactors, but my Son is innocent." But wait, O sorrowful Mother; God's will is that the Cross should only restore you your Son when He has expired.

Saint Bonaventure, considering the sorrow of Mary in the death of her Son, writes, that "no grief was more bitter than hers, because no son was as dear as her Son." Since, then, there never was a son more worthy than Jesus, nor any mother who ever loved as Mary loved, what sorrow can be compared with the sorrow of Mary? "Ah, there never has been in the world a more amiable Son than Jesus," says Richard of St. Lawrence, "nor was there ever so loving a Mother. Had there been less love between this Mother and Son, His death would have been less cruel, their griefs would have been diminished: but the more tender were their loves, the deeper were their wounds." Mary saw that death approached her Son; therefore, casting her compassionate eyes upon Him, she seemed to say, "Ah, Son, You already depart, already You leave me; and are You silent? Give me a last remembrance." Yes, He did so. Jesus Christ left her a remembrance; it was this: Woman, He said, behold your son, referring to Saint John, who stood near; and with these words He bade her farewell. He called her woman, that by the sweet name of mother He might not increase her grief: Woman, behold your son, he will take charge of you when I am dead.

There stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother. Let us, finally observe Mary, who stood at the foot of the Cross and beheld her Son expire. But, a God, what Son was it that died? It was a Son Who from all eternity had chosen her for His Mother, and had preferred her in His love to all men and Angels: it was a Son so beautiful, so holy, so amiable; a Son Who had always obeyed her; a Son Who was her only love, for He was her Son and her God; and Mary had to see Him die before her eyes, of pure suffering. But behold, the hour of the death of Jesus has already come; the afflicted Mother saw her Son then enduring the last assaults of death; behold, again, His Body was already sinking, His head drooped down on His breast, His mouth opened, and He expired. The people cry out, "He is dead! He is dead!" And Mary also said, "Ah, my Jesus, my Son, You are now dead!"

When Jesus was dead, He was taken down from the Cross. Mary received Him with outstretched arms; she then pressed Him to her heart, and examined that head wounded by the thorns, those hands pierced with nails, and that body all lacerated and torn. "Ah, Son," she said, "to what has Your love for men reduced You!" But the disciples, fearing that with her Son clasped in her arms she would die of grief, out of compassion approached her, and with reverential determination, removed her Son from her arms, wrapped Him in the winding sheet, and carried Him away to bury Him. The other holy women accompanied Him, and with them the sorrowful Mother followed her Son to the tomb; where, having herself deposited Him with her own hands, she bade Him a last farewell and retired. Saint Bernard says, that ''as Mary passed along the way, her sorrow and grief were such, that all who met her were thereby moved to tears;" and he adds that "those who accompanied her were weeping rather for her than for Our Lord."

My readers, let us be devout to the sorrows of Mary. Saint Albert the Great writes, that ''as we are under great obligations to Jesus Christ for His death, so also are we under great obligations to Mary for the grief which she endured when she offered her Son to God by death for our salvation." This the Angel revealed to Saint Bridget: he said that the Blessed Virgin, to see us saved, herself offered the life of her Son to the Eternal Father: a sacrifice which, as we have already said, cost her greater suffering than all the torments of the Martyrs, or even death itself. But the Divine Mother complained to Saint Bridget that very few pitied her in her sorrows, and that the greater part of the world lived in entire forgetfulness of them. Therefore she exhorted the Saint, saying: "Though many forget me, don't you, my daughter, forget me." For this purpose the Blessed Virgin herself appeared in the year 1239 to the founder of the Order of the Servites, or Servants of Mary, to requested them to institute a religious order in remembrance of her sorrows; and this they did.

Jesus Himself one day spoke to Blessed Veronica of Binasco, saying, "Daughter, tears shed over My Passion are dear to Me: but as I love My Mother Mary with an immense love, the meditation of the sorrows which she endured at My death is also very dear to Me." It is also well to know, as Pelbart relates it, that it was revealed to Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, that Our Lord had promised four special graces to those who are devout to the sorrows of Mary: 1st, that those who before death invoke the Divine Mother, in the name of her sorrows, should obtain true repentance of all their sins: 2nd, that He would protect all who have this devotion in their tribulations, and that He would protect them especially at the hour of death: 3rd, that He would impress upon their minds the remembrance of His Passion, and that they should have their reward for it in Heaven: 4th, that He would commit such devout clients to the hands of Mary, with the power to dispose of them in whatever manner she might please, and to obtain for them all the graces she might desire.


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There are two kinds of Martyrs, one in open suffering, the other in the hidden virtue of the spirit. For many, enduring the snares of the enemy and resisting all carnal desires, because they have sacrificed themselves in their hearts to Almighty God, have also become martyrs in time of peace, and if they had lived in time of persecution, they could have been Martyrs in reality.  ---Saint Isidore
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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#4
Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows
Taken from here

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Devotion to the Sorrows of our Blessed Lady dates from Calvary. The Apostolic Church clung round her whom Jesus had given to be its Mother, and ever remembered that it was amid the pains, the Blood, and the agonies of the Passion, that it had become the child of Mary--literally "the child of her Sorrows." The chief characteristic, then, of the Church's first love to our Lady was a deep, tender, loving, and child-like devotion to her Sorrows, and the Apostolic age bequeathed this exquisite feeling to succeeding times. But it was reserved for the thirteenth century, in many respects the grandest period in the history of religion, to develop this intuitive affection, by giving it, as it were, a form, and uniting those most attached to this devotion in a confraternity, strongly recommended by the Church, and richly endowed with indulgences, and other favours by the Supreme Pontiffs.

It was in the year 1234. that seven holy men of Florence, retiring from that city into the cloister founded a religious Order, under the name of the Servites, or Servants of Mary, whose especial object was to honour the Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin; nor was it long before Heaven miraculously proved that our Blessed Lord, the Man of Sorrows, was well pleased with this affectionate devotion to her who had the most nearly and bitterly shared in His Passion.

This tender sympathy, and the consequent graces richly bestowed by Jesus and Mary, were however not to be confined to the cloister. A lay affiliation of the Servites of Mary was soon established; the habit, or scapular of our Lady of Sorrows, enriched with numerous indulgences, was eagerly sought after by thousands of all ranks. The Crown or Rosary of the "Sorrows" began to emulate the Dominican Rosary; in short, the Confraternity of the "Sorrows," like the great Society of Mount Carmel, spread through Christendom, was in like manner encouraged by holy Popes, and in like manner drew down the favours of God, and the blessings of Mary, on untold thousands of rich and poor.

The great object of this Society is to nourish a loving sympathy with our Blessed Mother in her sufferings, and with her, and through her, to unite ourselves with Jesus bleeding and dying for us.

Those who wish to practise this devotion may be divided into two classes:

1st--Those who wear the black Scapular and receive her Crown or Rosary, and join from time to time in the Offices and devotions of her Sorrows.

2nd--Those who, in addition to the above, become enrolled members of the confraternity, with a good intention of regularly observing its rules.


It is with sincere pleasure, and heartfelt gratitude, that we have seen this beautiful devotion established in this country. It has lately been regularly organized as a canonical Confraternity at St. Patrick's, Soho, London, where the first Feast of the Seven Sorrows has been solemnly kept. Of this we are certain, that in proportion as we, the Servants of Mary, compassionate her sufferings and meditate on her great Sorrows, while thus our love for her grows daily "more and more," so also will our love for Jesus crucified still more continually increase. Private devotions will multiply, public Offices will be more regularly and more devoutly attended, and, as we confidently believe, Mary will show us a grateful love, and, with her own most marvelous blessing, will bless those who, by compassionating her Sorrows, show themselves the most truly to be her children, and give the sweetest consolation to her afflicted heart.--pages 3 - 6

(The Indulgences mentioned in this Manual are taken from the Raccolta translated by Father Ambrose St. John, of the Birmingham Oratory, or from the authorized Roman Manual of the Sorrows. We hereby thank Father St. John for the permission kindly given us to use his authorized translations of various Indulgenced Prayers.)

Download the book, "Manual of Devotions in Honour of Our Lady of Sorrows" - 1861
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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#5
St. Bernard of Clairvaux: On the Martyrdom of the Virgin Mary at the Foot of the Cross
Adapted from here.

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The martyrdom of the Virgin is set forth both in the prophecy of Simeon and in the actual story of our Lord’s passion. The holy old man said of the infant Jesus: He has been established as a sign which will be contradicted. He went on to say to Mary:And your own heart will be pierced by a sword.

Truly, O blessed Mother, a sword has pierced your heart. For only by passing through your heart could the sword enter the flesh of your Son. Indeed, after your Jesus – who belongs to everyone, but is especially yours – gave up his life, the cruel spear, which was not withheld from his lifeless body, tore open his side. Clearly it did not touch his soul and could not harm him, but it did pierce your heart. For surely his soul was no longer there, but yours could not be torn away. Thus the violence of sorrow has cut through your heart, and we rightly call you more than martyr, since the effect of compassion in you has gone beyond the endurance of physical suffering.

Or were those words, Woman, behold your Son, not more than a word to you, truly piercing your heart, cutting through to the division between soul and spirit? What an exchange! John is given to you in place of Jesus, the servant in place of the Lord, the disciple in place of the master; the son of Zebedee replaces the Son of God, a mere man replaces God himself. How could these words not pierce your most loving heart, when the mere remembrance of them breaks ours, hearts of iron and stone though they are!

Do not be surprised, brothers, that Mary is said to be a martyr in spirit. Let him be surprised who does not remember the words of Paul, that one of the greatest crimes of the Gentiles was that they were without love. That was far from the heart of Mary; let it be far from her servants.

Perhaps someone will say: “Had she not known before that he would not die?” Undoubtedly. “Did she not expect him to rise again at once?” Surely. “And still she grieved over her crucified Son?” Intensely.

Who are you and what is the source of your wisdom that you are more surprised at the compassion of Mary than at the passion of Mary’s Son? For if he could die in body, could she not die with him in spirit? He died in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since his.

-This excerpt from a sermon by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (Sermo in dom. infra oct. Assumptionis, 14-15: Opera omnia, Edit. Cisterc. 5 [1968}, 273-274) is used in the Roman Office of Readings for the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15. It speaks of the martyrdom of the Virgin at the foot of the cross (John 19:25). Mary’ s heart is pierced by a sword as Simeon predicted when her Son’s body is pierced by nails and spear.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Reply
#6
Taken from the Our Lady of Fatima Chapel newsletter:


Mary and the Sword
By Bishop Fulton J. Sheen -1952

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Nothing begins and nothing ends
That is not paid with moan
For we are born in others' pain
And perish in our own


One of the penalties of Original Sin was that a woman should bring forth her children in sorrow: But the heart, too, has its agony, for although the new life is lived apart from the mother, the heart always keeps that new life as its own. What is disowned in the independence of a child is owned in the love of a mother-heart.

Her body for a time follows her heart, as to each child at her breast she speaks the language of a natural eucharist: "Take ye and eat. This is my body; this is my blood." The time finally comes for the soul of the child to be nourished in the Divine Eucharist by Our Lord, Who said: "Take ye and eat. This is My Body. This is My Blood." Even then the mother-heart pursues, never ceasing to love the life that changed her from a woman to a mother.

The other side of the picture is: as every woman begets a child, so every child begets a mother. The helplessness of the infant, in language stronger than words, solicits the mother, saying: "Be sweet, be self-sacrificing, be merciful."

A thousand temptations of a mother are crushed in that one radiating thought: "What of my child?" The child summons to duty before he can speak duty. He bids the mother think twice before leaving a father to start a new pseudo-home. The child makes the fatigue and weariness of the mother, as he makes her joy in his success and her agonies in his falls from grace. The child brings the impact of another life, and no mother escapes his vital rays.

Applying this to our Blessed Mother: not only did she beget a Son, but the Son also begot her. This is the connection between Bethlehem and Calvary. She gave Him Sonship, but He also gave her Motherhood. At the crib she was called His Mother; at the Cross she was called the Woman.

No Son in the world but Christ could ever make His Mother the mother of all men, because the flesh is possessive and exclusive. Making her the Woman or the Universal Mother was like a new creative word. He made her twice: Once for Himself, and once for us in His Mystical Body. She made Him as the new Adam; He now installs her as the new Eve, the Mother of mankind.This transfer of His Mother to men was, appropriately, at the moment He redeemed them. That word "Woman" from the Cross was the second Annunciation, and John was the second Nativity.

What joy went with her mothering Him! What anguish went with His Mothering her! Mary's mind was filled with the thought of Divinity in the stable; but at Golgotha it is sinners that are uppermost in her mind, and she now begins their mothering.

The curse of Eve hangs heavily on Mary: "Thou shalt bring forth children in sorrow." When we contrast the great difference between her Divine Son and us, her sorrow, from our point of view, must have been not only "How can I live without Him?" but also "How can I live with them?"

This was the miracle of substitution, for how can one be satisfied with straggling rays when one has been with the sun? The humility of which she sang at the Magnificat was not only a confession of unworthiness to be the Mother of God, but also the admission now of her readiness to be the Mother of man. It was a grief not to die with Him; it was a greater grief to live on with us.

Tradition indicates that Mary was pierced seven times with swords of sorrow and that these constitute her Seven Dolors. The position we take is not that there were seven swords, but seven thrusts of the one sword, and the sword that pierced her soul was Christ Himself. This Sword has a double edge: one edge ran into His own Sacred Heart, the other into her Immaculate Heart. How is Christ a sword? First of all, the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us the word of God is a two-edged sword:

"God's word to us is something alive, full of energy; it can penetrate deeper than any two-edged sword, reaching the very division between soul and spirit, between joints and marrow, quick to distinguish every thought and design in our hearts. From Him, no creature can be hidden; everything lies bare, everything is brought face to face with Him, this God to Whom we must give our account" (Heb 4:12, 13)

The "word" here is undoubtedly Scripture and the living voice of the Church. But the root, the source is the Divine Word, Who is Christ Himself. St. Thomas in his Commentary on this passage makes that identification. Furthermore, St. Thomas quotes St. Ambrose as giving the same interpretation:

"For the Word of God is living and effectual and more piercing than any two-edged sword."

One edge of this sword (to speak metaphorically) Christ ran into His own Sacred Heart, in the sense that He willed all the sufferings from Bethlehem to Calvary. He was the cause of His own death, St. Thomas tells us, and in two ways: directly, by being in such antagonism to the world that the world could not endure His Presence.

Simeon foretold this by saying He was "a sign to be contradicted." The essence of evil is not robbing, stealing, murdering; it is the crucifixion of Goodness, the elimination of the Moral Principle of life, so that one may sin without remorse and with impunity.

Indirectly, Christ was the cause of His own death, as St. Thomas tells us: "...by not preventing it when He could do so; just as one person is said to drench another by not closing the window through which it is raining; and in this way Christ was the cause of His own Passion and Death."

He could have used His Power and hurled thunderbolts against Pilate and Herod; He could have appealed to the masses with the magnetism of His Word; He could have changed nails into rosebuds and a crown of thorns into a golden diadem; He could have come down from the Cross when He was challenged to do so. But, as St. Thomas tells us, "since Christ's soul did not repel the injury inflicted on His body, but willed His corporeal nature to succumb to such an injury, He is said to have laid down His life or died voluntarily."

The Sword, therefore, was His own will to die, that we might be saved from the double death. But He also willed that His Mother should be as closely associated with Him as any human person could be associated with a Divine Person.

Pope St. Pius X declared that the bond between them was so intimate that the words of the Prophet could be applied to both:

Defecit in dolore vita mea, et anni mei in gemitibus (My life is spent with sorrow and my years with sighing) - Ps 31:11

If it be granted with Leo XIII that "God willed that the grace and truth which Christ won for us should be bestowed on us in no other way than through Mary," then she, too, had to will cooperation in redemption, as Christ willed it as the Redeemer Himself.

Christ willed that she should suffer with Him, some theologians say, per modum unius. If He willed His death, He willed her Dolors. And if He willed to be a "Man of Sorrows," He willed that she be the "Mother of Sorrows." But it was no imposed will; she accepted it all in her original Fiat in the Annunciation.

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The Sword He plunged into His Heart, He, with her cooperation, plunged into her own. He could hardly have done this if she were not His Mother and if they were not in a spiritual sense "two in one flesh," "two in one mind." The sorrows of His Passion were His, but His Mother considered them her own, too, for this is the meaning of compassion.

There were not seven swords but only one, and it plunged into two hearts. The Seven Dolors are as seven thrusts of the Sword Christ, one edge for Him as Redeemer, the other edge for her as the Mother of the Redeemer. Christ is the Sword of His own Passion; He is the Sword of her compassion. Pius XII says that she, as the true Queen of Martyrs, more than any of the faithful, filled up for His Body the Church the sufferings that were wanting to the Passion of Christ!

This was the first reason why God permitted her Dolors, that she might be the first after the Redeemer Himself to continue His Passion and death in His Mystical Body. Our Lord warned: "As they hated Me, so will they hate you."

If the law that Good Friday is the condition of an Easter Sunday binds all the faithful, then it must with greater rigor bind her who is the Mother of the Savior. An unsuffering Christ Who ignored sin would be reduced to the level of an ethical reformer, like Buddha or Confucius. An unsuffering Madonna to the suffering Christ would be a loveless Madonna.

Who is there who loves, who does not want to share the sorrows of the beloved? Since Christ loved mankind so much as to want to die to expiate their guilt, then He should also will that His Mother, who lived only to do His will, should also be wrapped in the swaddling bands of His griefs. But she also had to suffer for our sakes as well as for His. As Our Lord learned obedience by which He suffered, so Mary had to learn motherhood, not by appointment but by experience with the burdens of the human heart.

The rich cannot console the poor unless they become less rich for the sake of the poor; Mary cannot wipe away human tears unless she herself has been their fountain. The title "Mother of the Afflicted" had to be earned in the school of affliction. She does not expiate for sins; she does not redeem; she is not a savior - but by His will and by her own, she is so much bound up with Him that His Passion would have been entirely different had there not been her compassion. He also plunged the sword into her own soul in the sense that He called her to be a cooperator with Him, as the new Eve, in the regeneration of humanity.

When the mother of James and John asked political preferment for her sons, they were asked if they could drink of His chalice. That was the condition of being in His Kingdom. What draining of the chalice, then, shall be the condition of being the Mother of the Crucified!

St. Paul tells us that we cannot be partakers of His glory unless we partake also of His crucifixion. If, then, the sons of Mary are not exempt from the law of sacrifice, certainly Mary herself, who is the Mother of God, shall be less exempt. Hence, the Sequence, Stabat Mater pleads that Mary's compassion with Christ be shared with us:


These five wounds of Jesus smitten,
Mother in my heart be written,
Deeply as in thine they be;

Thou my Savior's Cross who bearest,
Thou thy Son's rebuke who sharest,
Let me share them both with thee.



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"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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#7
Taken from this Our Lady of Fatima Chapel newsletter

Reflection on Our Sorrowful Mother
by Rev. Fr. Frederick A. Reuter

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Darkness had come down over the hills of Judea, and, in the gloom, hills and valleys were one. It was the last day of the unredeemed world; the morrow would be the dawn of the first day of the world redeemed by the Death of Christ Our Lord.

Upon one of those hills, stood a sorrowing Mother. It was the evening of her sorrow, near its end. The morning began in the long ago, when in the Temple the prophet had told that Mother of a coming sorrow that would pierce her heart as a sword. It grew in intensity in the hurried, anxious flight into Egypt, when fear broke into that stainless heart lest ruffian hands should steal away the Life that had just begun.

That sorrow changed its tone to grief again, in the weary, aching search of the three days' loss in Jerusalem; and again the parting of the Son from His Mother, and her meeting Him cross-laden, seemed to her more than she could bear. But this was not all. It surpasses human words to tell all that Mother suffered. One cannot hope to tell the whole story. But one can always look upon the sweet, sorrowful face of the Mother, think of who she was, think of her Son, gaze upon His dead body, all covered with His precious blood, and then answer what it teaches one's heart of her sorrow. One begins to look upon the face of that Mother, to mourn with her and for one's sins; to ask the grace to know the depth of the bitterness that welled up in Mary's heart.

The very meaning of the name of Mary is "sea of bitterness." How truly this word tells the story of that Mother's life. The bitterness of the Passion of Christ, '' great as the sea,'' was in the heart of Mary from that first dread prophecy. The shadow of the Cross hung its gloom over that bright life, which one would say should have been free from sorrow's lightest touch. She had a mother's heart in all its yearnings for the joy of her Son, and its finest fibers were wrung in response to the beating pulses of His pain. The first pang came with the Circumcision, and increased till the spear opened His side at the crucifixion, till it could increase no more, for the measure of its woe was full; and in that fullness there was no kind of bitterness that she had not tasted. The neglect and the insults at Bethlehem, the inconvenience and fear of the flight were there; and before this, the grief after the Annunciation, when Joseph was "minded to put her away," a sorrow that she bore in silence alone, and such an intensely painful sorrow to her immaculate Heart; the parting and the Agony and the Passion and the scenes of Calvary --all these tell us of that "sea of bitterness" in Mary's name.

All this brings her inexpressibly near to us in sympathy. In our trials, and desolation and darkness, we do not realize how near to us she is until we have meditated upon this meaning of her name. In Mary the faculty of sympathy is developed to such a degree that she cannot but feel for each one of our woes. Sympathy would come from the very perfection of that heart, formed with such care and quickened by the greatest graces of God. Mary's heart is the heart of a Mother ever inclining to comfort her little ones in their distress. For, as among the Greeks, that mercy might temper justice, no one was allowed to be a judge, who was not also a father; so in a much greater degree, will a mother's justice be tempered by mercy. Besides being a mother, her Son's sorrows developed still more that character of her soul; and as His sorrows were born for us, even apart from her special relation to us, our sorrows must make a deeper impression on her. When we remember, moreover, that we have been entrusted to her as to our Mother, we understand more fully the meaning of the words of the Salve Regina, that she is a "Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope," and in our sorrow we send up to her a cry of mourning from this vale of tears, that she who was immersed in bitterness may turn her eyes of mercy upon our needs.

Sorrows come home to every human heart; sorrows that are sweet and merciful; sorrows that set the heart against the pitiless world, or seek to make it rebellious against God's providence; or, again, sorrows that paralyze the heart's energies, and deaden it to all that is joyful in life. But, over all these sorrows comes the calm, peaceful glance of the Mother of Sorrows, helping us to sanctify every pang, and to bear all in patience through love for our dear Saviour, her Son.

When the morning of her sorrow had grown into noon, and the evening came, the fullest weight of grief was upon her. The Cross is laid upon Him, and He is brought to Calvary. His Mother meets Him on the way. Their eyes meet. Dimly, through the tears and blood that obscure His sight, Our Lord discerns His Mother's face, and His glance carried strength to her soul. He summons her, His well- beloved, to ratify the oblation made at Nazareth in the hour of the Incarnation, when she consented to become the Mother of the Man of Sorrows; the oblation made solemnly in the Temple on the day of His Presentation, and renewed again and again as the time of the Passion drew near: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord." At every stage of His Redemption she is His handmaid, waiting upon Him always, His fellow-worker on whose sympathy and absolute fidelity He can rely. No cry of pain escapes her. To bring Him the only comfort in her power--the assurance that she accepts with Him every jot and tittle of the Father's will; that she does not grudge one pang; that she is ready for more, for the consummation of the Sacrifice, for Calvary--this is her one thought. She cannot speak. Her heart would break with a word to Him. But her eyes, her quivering lips, her clasped hands speak for her. It is but for a moment that the Son and the Mother meet.

"When they have come to the place where they are to crucify Him, she, in her love, is near; as they stretch Him upon the Cross, she hears the dull thud of the hammer as it falls upon the nail that is to pierce His right hand, and the cruel sound it makes as it forces the nail through His sacred Flesh.

Did not that nail drive its way through her own heart? And then comes the nailing of the left hand, and another wound in her heart, and then the strokes that fasten the feet of her Son to the wood of the Cross. The Cross is lifted up, and sinks into the place prepared for it. She hears the sound, and knows that it is increasing the pains in His hands and feet. ''Oh, all you that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow."

As Mary stands there at the foot of the Cross and looks up to that face--that beautiful face of her Infant of Bethlehem--there comes to her heart the contrast of the joy of that first Christmas and the sorrow of this Good Friday. That little one had grown up beside her, had called her lovingly by the name of mother; and from the gloom of Calvary her heart goes back to the home at Nazareth, and the crib of Bethlehem, and it seems as if her heart is broken. This is the realization of Simeon's prophecy; the sword has pierced her heart, indeed.

But when a mother sees her son grow up, and when his life is full of the promise of manhood, in all the glory of his youth he is suddenly taken away from her, who will measure the desolation and the darkness and the sadness that sweep over her life? Her hopes are broken, her dreams scattered, her soul crushed. In the night of her grief, it seems to her that there is nothing in life worth living for. She is alone, and the great sorrowing love welling up in her heart has not whereon to put itself. If this be true of a mother's love for her child, where was there a mother with such a child as Jesus? Where was a mother with such great, strong, tender love as the Blessed Virgin Mary had for her Son? And unless we know who Jesus was, unless we understand His infinite holiness His tenderness, His goodness, His divine amiability and His own love for that Mother; unless we can penetrate into the mysteries of that beautiful heart of Mary, we can never fully understand the sorrow of that afternoon on Calvary. As she stood gazing upward there, she heard Him speak. But, oh, how, changed that voice from long ago; She heard Him speak the word "Mother." And after those other words were spoken, as she was looking up, she saw those eyes close, and heard that last word, and Jesus, her Son, was dead.

The desolation and the sorrow, and the grief and the resignation of the Mother of Jesus! He was dead! "The most beautiful of the sons of men." Now there was no comeliness in Him. He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, one wound from the crown of His head to the soles of His feet. He was wounded for our iniquities, and by His bruises we are healed. When they lift that Body from the Cross, and place it in the arms of His heart-broken Mother; when in her grief she clasps her arms about Him to forget all the world and be alone with Him in spirit, truly we ask: "Was there ever a sorrow like that sorrow?" Can we enter deeper into that mystery of sorrow?

There is indeed a deeper depth: but it is enough. With these pictures and memories before us, we should let the thought of them sink deep into our hearts. We naturally feel disposed to sympathy with that Mother, and sorrow for the sufferings of Jesus Christ; sorrow and love and sympathy in union with the hearts of Jesus and Mary. There is no better means of offering the reparation in which, as Associates in the Apostleship of Prayer, we are all engaged. The very day of the Feast of Mary's Sorrows, which is kept in September, is our own day for Communions of Reparation. Although a day commemorative of mourning, it still goes by the name of Feast. Feast of the Seven Sorrows, the Church terms it, and so dear is that Feast that the Calendar offers it to our celebration twice a year. It is rightly dear to the Church, and justly named Feast. Mary's Sorrows were a cause of our joy.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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#8
The Taking Down From the Cross, The Burial of Jesus, and the Solitude of Mary
By Fr. Reginald Walsh, OP


1st Prelude: History. --- "And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea, because he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the Body of Jesus. And Nicodemus also came, he who at first came to Jesus by night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes about a hundred pounds' weight. They took, therefore, the Body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the manner of the Jews to bury.

"Now there was in the place where He was crucified a garden, and in the garden a new sepulchre wherein no man had been laid. There, therefore, because of the Parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulchre was nigh at hand. And returning, they prepared spices and ointments; and on the Sabbath day they rested, according to the commandments" [John xix].


2nd Prelude: Composition of Place. --- The summit of Calvary, close to Jesus' Cross, with the Holy Mother, John, Magdalen, and the Holy Women. Then the Sepulchre and the Cenacle.


3rd Prelude: Ask what I want. --- To realize our Lord's love for me; to understand the Mystery of the Cross and to value it; the grace of true detachment from the world and self; that I may ever live with Mary my Mother and be a joy to her.



I. THE TAKING DOWN FROM THE CROSS

Contemplate the heart-breaking situation of the Mother of Jesus. As evening came on, it grew quieter and quieter around the Cross of Jesus. See the soldiers occupied in dragging the dead bodies of the thieves down to hill to the common burial-place. See the Immaculate Mother --- her eyes fixed on Jesus. Oh, with what unutterable pain Mary contemplates this Holy Body hanging on the Cross --- now robbed of all form and beauty, even of Its soul --- torn and shattered, borne down by Its Own dead weight on the Cross. She could not take Him down, and had no grave for Him. Any request from her might result in grosser execration. The Holy Mother feared every moment that the soldiers would come back and drag away her dear Son's Body also to the burial-place of criminals. It was considered a disgrace among the Jews not to be buried in their own family sepulchre. The Mother of Jesus had always been poor --- poor in Bethlehem, poor in Egypt, poor in Nazareth --- but never had she felt her poverty so bitterly as here in the sight of her Jesus' dead Body.

Note the party of men passing through the judgment-gate bringing ladders and many other things. They are hastening rapidly towards Calvary. Our Blessed Mother, sick at heart, asks John anxiously: "Who are coming?" At last, when they are near enough, John whispers to the Blessed Mother that she has nothing to fear. They are friends. Joseph of Arimathea was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews --- Nicodemus likewise. But lo! Jesus in His Death has made all things new. Joseph and Nicodemus are not afraid now. The Passion of Christ has strengthened them. Scarcely had Jesus breathed His last sigh than the efficacy of His Blood inspires them with a courage they had not known before. They are determined to honor the Body of Jesus Whom they recognize as the Messias. At once Joseph goes to the Praetorium and boldly asks Pilate for the Body of Jesus. A glorious testimony to the innocence, sanctity, kingship, Divinity of Jesus, all of which have been well proved by the miracles of His life and death.

See with what ardor and reverence they approach the Sacred Body of Jesus. They salute the Mother of Sorrows, but neither can speak, their hearts are full of emotion and deepest sympathy for the Mother and Son. The beloved disciple joins them --- all prostrate and adore Jesus on the Cross. Then the ladders are placed against the Cross and they begin the most sacred of duties.

Note how lovingly and reverently they touch the Sacred Body. First, the crown of thorns is removed --- kissing it reverently they give it to the Immaculate Mother, who stretches out her hands to receive it, and she, too, kisses it and presses it to her heart. With the tenderest care the nails are drawn out, and passed one after another to the heroic Mother. See how gently and with what reverent love Joseph and Nicodemus wind linen bands around the limbs and then lower the Sacred Body to the ground. John holds the Adorable Head, Joseph and Nicodemus support the Body, and Mary Magdalen --- always at her chosen place --- takes the Sacred Feet of the Divine Master. No priest can treat the Blessed Sacrament with more care and reverence than these holy men of high degree treated the Body of Jesus. How dear they must be to us for their love of our Lord, and His Holy Mother, and for the generosity with which they give not only their property, Nicodemus his wealth and Joseph his sepulchre, but also themselves, the personal service of their hands; and lastly, for their courage.

It is not without significance that we are told that Joseph went "boldly" to Pilate. It really needed courage to do this, seeing the fanatical hatred borne by the Chief Priests and Rulers to Jesus, and the victory they had gained over Him. Joseph's and Nicodemus' sympathy for the fate of the Crucified --- their intervention for Him --- and the public burial they gave Him --- might well be regarded as a demonstration of opposition, and might have the worst consequences for themselves. But they care nothing for all this. They came to know Jesus, they love Him, and everything must be done to serve and honor Him --- Love is proved by deeds! These noble-minded men and their act is the first victory of the Death of Jesus, and a fruit of our Lord's gentleness and patience. "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth" --- by being crucified --- "shall draw all to Myself." He did not take it amiss that they kept the fact of their discipleship secret for a time. Jesus waited patiently, and now His patience has borne fruit. And this is all the more wonderful --- seeing that they were the only ones of all the disciples and Apostles, except St. John, who openly declared themselves for Jesus and espoused His cause.

As soon as the Sacred Body is lowered, going a few steps they place the "World's Treasure" in the winding-sheet that our Lady has spread on her knees. Then all prostrate and adore. I also will kneel and adore, fixing my eyes alternately on the Sacred Body of Jesus and on Mary. Contemplate lovingly, and mark how all who surround the Sacred Body of Jesus preserve a religious silence! How the Blessed Mother's heart speaks to her Beloved Son as she gazes on His bleeding face, His glazed eyes, His mangled body, His pierced hands and feet, His opened side. She speaks to the Eternal Father, the Holy Angels, the faithful friends of her adorable Son, she looks over the whole human race for whose redemption Jesus has suffered and died. She prays for all --- for me! How reverently Jesus' faithful ones listen to the Immaculate Mother --- her words are loving and tender --- they illumine the mind and move the heart. Mary's incomparable grief alters neither the peace of her soul nor the majesty of her countenance, and "in peace is her bitterness most bitter."

What were the Holy Mother's thoughts as she gazed into the five wounds and sees the Sacred Body covered with gaping wounds and bruises, battered out of all shape by the cruelty of man! O Mother of Sorrows, great as an ocean is thy sorrow! What must be thy hatred of sin, when thou seest what it has wrought in the Divine beauty of thy spotless Son! What a mixture of agonizing compassion and mournful sorrow, of hope and consolation, gratitude and triumphant joy, fills her holy soul while she looks on the dead Body of her Son. The day on which Jesus died is indeed well called Good Friday. It is the day when Jesus consummated His victory over death.

Shall I not condole with my Mother --- the Mother of Sorrows --- as with unutterable woe she lives through the whole Passion again, following it out by the dreadful traces it has left? Now she sees it all close at hand. What have I to say to her as she arranges the hair, touches, kisses, and closes the wounds? And of what does she think? Surely of happier times --- of the hour of the Last Supper --- the majesty and nobility of His Sacred Person during the three years of His public life --- of the sweet days in Nazareth and Bethlehem. See! the Babe of Bethlehem has come back to His Mother's lap. But how differently His arms are stretched out now! Oh, of what do all these wounds speak to the Blessed Mother, if not of His love for us? We were bought with these wounds, this Blood, and this death. How could she help loving us? How could she forget us? We are graven on her heart in a thousand wounds. Everyone who passes by the Cross sees the Mother there with her dead Son on her lap, and blesses God for having so confounded our enemies through her means. Blessed art thou --- above all upon earth! O Holy Mother, Queen of Martyrs, imprint deeply on my heart the wounds of thy Crucified Son. So long as this heart of mine shall be capable of loving, it will love thee. O Mother of Jesus, and my Mother, too --- yea --- it will burn to influence all hearts with the same fire of love --- that all may begin upon earth to love thee for the sake of Jesus --- and Jesus for His Own dear sake. O Mother, give me to Jesus! Now and at the hour of my death. Amen.


II. THE BURIAL OF JESUS

The evening shadows grew longer and the Parasceve was drawing rapidly to a close --- so the men see haste must be made to bury Jesus. Joseph, John, and Nicodemus beg the Holy Mother to allow them to complete the embalming of the Sacred Body. They reverently lift the Sacred Body of Jesus from His Mother's knee, and carry it to the stone of anointing, which is still shown and venerated in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. There they prepared it for burial according to Jewish custom. They wrapped the Body of Jesus in fine linen cloths and bands, and placed spices and sweet-smelling herbs between it and the linen; sprinkled the linen itself with sweet perfumes --- covered the Sacred Head with a napkin. See Mary herself performing this last duty. Oh, with what woe she gazes for the last time on the dead face of her beloved Son! The sun of her life has set with the covering of Jesus' face!

The preparation of the Body for burial was such as rich and respected men received. The preparations being completed, they proceed to inter the Body. It was already late, probably about five o'clock in the evening. The site where our Lord was to be buried was situated about fifty paces northwest of the place where the Cross stood. It was fortunate that the distance was so short, on account of the nearness of the Sabbath. The sepulchre was in a garden, and was hewn in the rocks and thus protected by nature against violation and profanation. It was quite new and unused, as befitted our Lord in regard to Whom everything must be pure and inviolate, as had been the womb of His Mother --- to which the Holy Sepulchre is often compared. As a Joseph had once helped Mary to lay the Infant Saviour in the manger, so it is now a Joseph, too, who helps her to lay Him in the grave. Follow the little procession of mourners as they go down the hill, through the ravine, straight across to the garden, the three or four men bearing the Sacred Body of Jesus --- His Mother, Magdalen, the Holy Women, and a few servants follow closely. When they reach the sepulchre our Blessed Lady spreads a white cloth in the tomb. Then the Body of Jesus is placed on the stone --- there to remain until the hour of its joyful Resurrection.

Contemplate It as It lies there --- disfigured by countless wounds and scars --- apparently lifeless --- yet nevertheless the joy of God and worthy of our highest adoration. Passive and cold and motionless --- but soon to be radiant with the most dazzling beauty --- dead but belonging to a Divine Person. From this we may learn (1) the glory of suffering, (2) the power of apparent helplessness when God is with us, (3) the beauty of passive obedience, (4) the true life of those who are dead to the world. Mark how, before closing the entrance to the tomb, all fall on their knees and adore the Sacred Body, shedding many tears --- in spirit I can unite with all these loyal, devoted servants of our Lord, and adore, love, and thank my dear Master for all His goodness to me. Then they lead the Mother of God back to the Cenacle --- leaving their hearts where their Treasure rests. In passing before the Cross our Blessed Lady prostrates, and is the first to adore the Sacred Sign of our Redemption. All who accompany her follow her example. Watch --- and listen --- as the Holy Mother and Jesus' devoted servants reach the Cenacle. Our Lady, before entering with John, Magdalen, and the Holy Women, thanks most tenderly the faithful friends of Jesus --- she blesses them for the love with which they have rendered Him the last duties, and saying with fullest confidence: "The God of our Fathers will not permit His Holy One to see corruption."

What was our Lord doing while thus apparently inactive in silent tomb? He was beginning His work of triumph; announcing glad tidings of salvation to the holy Souls in Limbo, among whom appeared the penitent thief, in fulfillment of His promise, "This day shalt thou be in Paradise"; dethroning Satan and changing the king of this world into the Kingdom of God and of His Christ. So it is with us. When we seem useless and apparently doing nothing, we are often doing great things for God! Our tabernacles are so many tombs where the Body of Jesus is buried. What is my assiduity in visiting the Hidden God? What is my devotion, my respect in His Divine Presence? Are not our hearts so many tombs into which Jesus deigns to descend? Is mine a garden enclosed? --- cultivated --- adorned with flowers of virtue, especially purity, love, humility, desire? Is this garden of my soul silent from all din of earthly, worldly things and dedicated to Him alone? His Sacred Body embalmed by my love, and wrapped in the clean winding-sheet of purity of intention? If this be so, His Presence in my soul when I have received Him in Holy Communion will be the pledge of my glorious resurrection with Him. The rock signifies stability in good --- "Be ye steadfast and immovable."

COLLOQUY.--- O Jesus, would that all might know and love Thee! Would that I never displeased Thee! Now, dearest Jesus, I begin. I must serve Thee with all my heart's love, with all my strength. Would that I possessed the hearts of all, that I might consecrate them to Thy love! Help me, dear Lord, to make some return for all Thy loving patience with me in the past. O Jesus, the life and delight of soul! How unutterable is the love wherewith Thou hast loved me! Grant, Lord Jesus, that from this day I may begin to serve Thee in earnest --- give of my best --- give fearlessly --- and from purest love. Grant that my life may bear much fruit of holiness, and so show forth the Divine power of Thy grace and love, and promote Thy greater glory.

O Mary, Mother of God, my Mother, for the love of thy Divine Son, keep me always close to thy pure heart, shield me from the devil, the world, and my own evil nature that I may become thy true child and the devoted Spouse and Apostle of Jesus. O Mother, I have need of thee; O Mary, be propitious to me!


III. THE SOLITUDE OF MARY

Good Friday Night. --- I shall see the Mother of Jesus, John, Mary Magdalen, and the other Holy Women who were with her. How great their sadness! All are plunged in desolation because Jesus is no long with them. They spend the first hours of the night in speaking of the sufferings and death of our Lord. St. John relates all that took place the Cenacle the evening before. I shall listen to the beloved disciple --- he relates how the Divine Master ate the Paschal lamb with the Twelve --- how Jesus washed their feet --- how He instituted the adorable Sacrament of His Body and Blood --- how their hearts glowed with love when He discoursed with them after the departure of Judas --- how He told them all that was to happen to Himself --- how He prayed for them, and led them from the Cenacle to the Garden of Olives. On the way He told them His Soul was sorrowful unto death --- that they would all be scandalized in Him that night. Then St. John described with many tears the awful Agony in the Garden --- the kiss of the traitor --- the seizure --- how all His Own abandoned Him. Thus does the adopted son endeavor to soothe the grief of the afflicted Mother. I, too, am Mary's child --- and should I not strive to console her by speaking lovingly to her of what Jesus has done and suffered for me?

"Oh I how sad and sore-distress'd
Was that Mother highly blest,
Of the sole-begotten One!
Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother's pain untold?"

Holy Saturday.--- The Sabbath now began --- a day of quiet mourning and hope. Its character is a mixed one --- the dusk of Good Friday and the dawn of Easter Sunday seem to blend together. On this day the occupants of the Cenacle are quiet, very quiet. They have much to reflect upon, much to mourn over, some much to repent of. One sees only eyes reddened with weeping --- tears still flowing --- little is spoken. The preceding day with all its terrible incidents oppresses every heart with bitter pain. Jesus, their beloved Master, the God-man had suffered --- was dead --- lay buried outside the city. Our whole life ought really to be like this. We ought never to forget that our dear Lord has suffered and died --- even though it happened long ages ago. A noble heart is never indifferent to this thought. How silently reverent some of the occupants of this house are! And yet what deep consolation they find in the thought that they have remained true to our Lord to the end. John, Magdalen, the Holy Women! See the Apostles and disciples coming one after another humbly asking admittance. Those within full of kindness --- receiving, encouraging, and comforting them.

Peter came overwhelmed with contrition and shame confessing his sin with many tears --- all the Apostles are sad and inconsolable. They dare not think of the past, nor yet of the future. And who is now their comfort and support? Our Blessed Lady --- the Mother of their beloved Master. In the midst of all the woe and pain that rent her heart, Mary was still calm, firm, unbroken in her trust --- and a comfort to them all. Then, as now, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. Whilst the Good Shepherd Who had given His life for His flock was in Limbo consoling by His Presence the just souls confined in that dark abode, He did not forget the little flock He had left defenseless on earth.

He inspires them to seek His Mother who is to strengthen and console them in His absence --- "Having loved His Own who are in the world, He loved them to the end."

The grief of the Apostles was great, seeing their number reduced to eleven --- the thought of the ruin of Judas was bitter in the extreme. Ah, if the unhappy man, detesting his awful crime and ingratitude, had come as Peter, to cast himself at the feet of the Mother of Mercy -- -how tenderly she would have received and consoled him! What a lesson for all of us! No matter what our weakness, sinfulness, unworthiness, we need never lose heart at the remembrance of past ingratitude --- if we fly to the Refuge of Sinners, the Mother of Mercy, the Mother of Jesus --- she will gain a full pardon, and the grace of true and perfect conversion from the adorable and loving Heart of her Divine Son --- "My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin; but if we sin we have an advocate with the Father --- Jesus Christ the Just" (1 John ii. 1.). And we have also our advocate, the Mother of the Saviour, Who confided us to her maternal heart before expiring for love of us on the Cross.

COLLOQUY.Mother most pure, most holy, most kind, may the love of Jesus and of thee grow in our hearts together. May that love make us fear and hate sin and the world, Christ's enemy. Strengthen us to deny ourselves constantly and generously, confirm our faith, hope, and charity, and be with us in the hour of death. O Mary, our Mother, thou art our hope in life, and wilt be our joy for ever. From thee, dearest Mother, we receive all blessings, for through thee we have Jesus, the source of all our grace. Ah, dearest Mother, was it not as thou didst watch thy Divine Son on the Cross, that thou didst learn that immense compassion and boundless pity, which made thee the Mother of the Apostles --- the Refuge of sinners --- the Promoter of the Sacred Heart's interests in souls. Dearest Mother, let us share with thee thy sorrows --- let thy compassion grow in our hearts and make us like thee. For happy indeed, O Mother of Jesus crucified, is the soul who desires to share in thy compassion --- happier still he who really strives after it --- happiest, supremely happy, he who in compassion and gentleness becomes like thee, O Blessed Mother of God.

Saturday Night till Sunday.--- Having consoled the Apostles and comforted the Holy Women, Mary recommends all to remain in the Cenacle. Then she retires to her oratory as on the peeceding night --- to occupy herself solely with the thought of her Divine Son. See our Blessed Lady --- wrapt in deep contemplation, surrounded by numberless spirits who compassionate their suffering Queen. We may reasonably suppose that on this happy night, as the Church calls it, the Mother of God knew supernaturally all that was taking place since her Jesus' Soul was separated from His Sacred Body. Mary sees --- and I will see with her --- how the Blessed Soul descends to Limbo, accompanied by an innumerable multitude of Angels, singing hymns of praise to their triumphant King. The heavenly Spirits command the entrance to the dark prison, to open to the King of Glory --- the God of Armies, Who is I omnipotent in battle. In an instant the subterranean prison is filled with resplendent light by the presence of the Divine Redeemer --- the souls of the Just are made happy in the light of the Divinity. They recognize their God, their Liberator --- they thank Him, and exalt His mercy in canticles of praise.

The Mother of the Saviour, witness of these marvels, comprehends that an infinite price was paid for the redemption of the human race, and sees its inestimable happiness in being so gloriously and abundantly redeemed. Mary sees the new Church that Jesus had founded and enriched with His Sacraments and the treasury of His merits. She penetrates deepest mysteries by the light her Divine Son gives her, either through the ministry of Angels or directly from Himself. These sublime considerations cause great joy in the superior part of Mary's soul --- but she begs the Eternal Father to keep it from affecting her senses, for she does not wish to receive any sensible consolation whilst the Body of Jesus remains in the sepulchre unglorified. By this incomparable fidelity she shows her love for her Divine Son, of Whom she is a perfect image --- for her soul was full of joy and her body of suffering --- just as it happened to our Divine Lord through His Passion and even on the Cross.

COLLOQUY.--- O dearest Jesus, teach me to be generous --- make me generous --- to give, and not to count the cost. Grant, I beseech Thee --- oh, grant that my heart, wholly united to Thee, may be closed to Thy enemies, dead to myself and to the world --- ever open to Thee, breathing Thee alone --- above all things loving Thee. O glorious Queen of Martyrs, help me to fight bravely against my enemies --- the devil, the world, and myself --- that I may be generous and devoted in the service of thy Divine Son. O Mother of love and sorrow! Love has given thee the Cross, grant that the Cross may give me love! Heart of Mary, my Mother, transfixed with a sword of sorrow, enkindle within my heart, by thy intercession, the Divine fire which consumes thy heart --- which will enable me to practice faithfully resignation, patience, conformity to the Divine Will; to suffer courageously for the glory of God, for the salvation of souls, and for my own sanctification.

"Make me feel as thou hast felt,
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord."
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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#9
Fr. Hewko's Sermons for the Feast of the Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin Mary


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Prayers to Our Lady of Sorrows - Fr. Hewko

"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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#10
A reminder ...
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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