Monday, September 15, 2014

From Sorrow to Joy

From Mary alone our Lord took His flesh, dwelling nine months in her womb that was a temple more splendid that Solomon’s, maturing in stature near her heart that was endowed with an unspeakable treasury of resplendent virtues. It was Mary who stood at our Lord’s feet when His own heart was pierced with a Roman lance, piercing her heart through as well with the sword of sorrow. Yet joyfully did she offer her Son with her own hands for the salvation of the world, for her sorrow was not the grief of despair, but the source of pity, of perseverance in hope, and of repentance unto salvation. To her children who remember her at her Divine Son’s sacrificial celebration she bestows strength of spirit, turns grief to wisdom, and beautifies their acts of penance so that they acquire greater merit. In Mary most holy is an example of how to unite one’s self with the perfect sacrifice offered to Almighty God upon the altar. In loving Mary, we love what God Himself loved. “Mary was the most perfect among the saints only because she was always perfectly united to the will of God” (St. Alphonsus de Ligouri).

The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary
From the responsories at Matins.

(i) The prophecy of holy Simeon
“There was a man named Simeon, and this man was just and devout; and he said unto Mary: Thine own soul also a sword shall pierce.”

(ii) The flight into Egypt
“Arise, and take the Child and His mother and fly into Egypt; and be there until I shall tell thee.”

(iii) The three days’ disappearance of the boy Jesus
“Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee, sorrowing.”

(iv) The painful progress to Calvary
“And bearing His own cross He went forth. And there followed Him a great multitude of people, and of women who bewailed and lamented Him.”

(v) The crucifixion
“And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, they crucified Him there. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother.”

(vi) The taking down from the cross
“Joseph of Arimathaea begged the body of Jesus. And taking it down from the cross His mother received it into her arms.”

(vii) The entombment
“What a sadness of heart was thine, Mother of sorrows, when Joseph wrapped Him in fine linen and laid Him in a sepulcher.”