The Gaze of Mother and Son
Reflect, today, upon this beautiful but sorrowful scene of the gaze of love shared by mother and Son on the way to Calvary. Reflect also on the fact that both Mother and Son meet you on your own journey toward the Cross. No matter what you encounter, no matter what you endure, they are there, attentive to you, loving you and offering their hearts to you. Seek also to emulate the hearts of Jesus and our Blessed Mother to those whom you encounter each day. Grow in compassion and concern for all who suffer, being present to them as they go step by step on their personal via dolorosa (sorrowful way).
My Sorrowful Mother, you already endured so much. But you would not miss this short moment in which you could express your tender love for your Son. As you looked at Him, your heart intertwined with His. You felt the pain He felt. You communicated a supernatural joy that strengthened His resolve to give His life for the Salvation of the world.
My dear Mother, pray for me that I may be open to your motherly concern for my life. As I carry my cross and endure the sufferings that befall me, intercede for me and open my soul to the strength of your Son as it flows through your own tender heart.
My suffering Lord, as You continued on Your journey to Calvary after falling for the first time, You looked at Your mother with such love. Your concern was not for Yourself, it was for Your mother and for all who would receive the grace of Your Cross. May I be one of those, dear Lord, who opens my heart to You at all times and who absorbs the graces You offer so that I can follow in Your footsteps. . . Amen. Our Father, etc.
Lesson for today:
Each one of us has the opportunity in life to ease the suffering of another by our tender care and gaze of love. When we encounter another in need, we have the opportunity to express our compassion.
The Sword of Sorrow
Reflect, today, upon two aspects of this scene on Calvary. First, ponder the deeply painful sword of sorrow that our Blessed Mother endured as she stood before the Cross of her Son. Secondly, reflect upon the consolation she would have received as she recalled the words of Simeon the prophet. Pondering those words strengthened her and enabled her to see her Son’s death as the fulfillment of the will of God. In turn, knowing the truth of your mission of sacrificial love will help you as you endure the swords of life.
Dear Mother, as you stood before your own divine Son on the Cross, the sword of sorrow prophesied by Simeon pierced your Immaculate Heart. Help me to see the pain in your heart this day. As I gaze upon this wound of love, help me to also see your heart’s acceptance.
Dear Mother, may I hear the words of Simeon and accept them into my own life. In this life I am promised the same fate as you and your divine Son. I am promised a life of sacrifice and suffering. But I am also given hope as I see sacrifice as the fulfillment of the will of God.
Dear Lord, help me to unite all suffering in life to You. May I accept the crosses I am given with hope, love and joy. May I never shy away from the fulfillment of Your will. I give myself to You, dear Lord, and pray that I may imitate Your total self-gift to the world.
Amen Our Father, etc.
Lesson for today:
Knowing the truth of our calling in life helps us be at peace when the sacrificial aspects of our personal mission come to fruition.
The burial of Jesus:
“Now there was in the place where He was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein no man yet had been laid. There, therefore, because of the parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulcher was nigh at hand.” John XIX, 41-42.
Meditation: Consider the sighs which burst from Mary’s sad heart when she saw her beloved Jesus laid within the tomb. What grief was hers when she saw the stone lifted to cover that sacred tomb! She gazed a last time on the lifeless body of her Son, and could scarce detach her eyes from those gaping wounds. And when the great stone was rolled to the door of the sepulcher, oh, then indeed her heart seemed torn from her body!
Prayer. I pity thee, my afflicted mother, on account of the seventh sword that pierced thy heart, on seeing in thy arms thy Son who bad just expired, no longer fair and beautiful as thou didst once receive him in the stable of Bethlehem, but covered with blood, livid, and lacerated by wounds which exposed his very bones. My Son, thou saidst, my Son, to what has love brought thee? And when he was borne to the sepulchre, thou didst wish to accompany him thyself, and help to put him in the tomb with thy own hands; and, bidding him a last farewell, thou hast left thy loving heart buried with thy Son. By all the anguish of thy pure soul, obtain for me, oh mother of fair love, pardon for the offences that I have committed against my God, whom I love, and of which I repent with my whole heart. Wilt thou defend me in temptations? Assist me at the hour of my death, that, being saved by the merits of Jesus and thine, I may come one day with thy aid, after this miserable exile, to sing in paradise the praises of Jesus and thine through all eternity. Amen.
Our Father, etc.
Lesson for today: Let’s ask Our Lord to give us the insight to forgive even when we have no motive or incentive to do so. Only then can we hope to receive the forgiveness to enter heaven.
The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross
“Joseph of Arimathea, a noble counselor, came and went in boldly to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And Joseph buying fine linen, and taking Him down, wrapped Him up in the fine linen.” – Mark XV, 43-46.
Meditation: Consider the most bitter sorrow which rent the soul of Mary, when she saw the dead body of her dear Jesus on her knees, covered with blood, all torn with deep wounds. O mournful Mother, a bundle of myrrh, indeed, is thy Beloved to thee. Who would not pity thee? Whose heart would not be softened, seeing affliction which would move a stone? Behold John not to be comforted, Magdalen and the other Mary in deep affliction, and Nicodemus, who can scarcely bear his sorrow.
Prayer. I pity thee, oh my afflicted mother, on account of the sixth sword whitU pierced thy heart, when thou didst see the kind heart of thy Son pierced through and through after his death a death endured fer those ungrateful men, who, even after his death, were not satisfied with the tortures they had inflicted upon him. By this cruel sorrow, then, which was wholly thine, I pray thee to obtain for me the grace to abide in the heart of Jesus, who was wounded and opened for me; in that heart, I say, which is the beautiful abode of love, where all the souls who love God repose; and that living there, I will never love or think of any thing but God. Most holy Virgin, thou canst do it; from thee I hope for it.
Our Father, etc.
“They crucified Him. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, His Mother. 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.” – John XIX, l8-25-27.
Meditation: Look, devout soul, look to Calvary, whereon are raised two altars of sacrifice, one on the body of Jesus, the other on the heart of Mary. Sad is the sight of that dear Mother drowned in a sea of woe, seeing her beloved Son, part of her very self, cruelly nailed to the shameful tree of the cross. Ah me! how every blow of the hammer, how every stripe which fell on the Saviour’s form, fell also on the disconsolate spirit of the Virgin. As she stood at the foot of the cross, pierced by the sword of sorrow, she turned her eyes on Him, until she knew that He lived no longer and had resigned His spirit to His Eternal Father. Then her own soul was like to have left the body and joined itself to that of Jesus.
Fifth Dolor prayer. I pity thee, oh my afflicted mother, on account of the fifth sword that pierced thy heart, when on Mount Calvary thou didst behold thy beloved son, Jesus, dying slowly before thy eyes, amid so many insults, and in anguish, on that hard bed of the cross, without being able to give him even the least of those comforts which the greatest criminals receive at the hour of death. And I pray thee by the anguish which thou, oh my most loving mother, didst suffer together with thy dying Son, and by the tenderness thou didst feel, when, for the last time he spoke to thee from the cross, and taking leave of thee, left all of us to thee in the person of St. John, as thy children; and thou, still constant, didst behold him bow his head and expire; I pray thee to obtain for me the grace, by thy crucified love, to live and die crucified to everything in this world, in order to live only to God through my whole life, and thus to enter one day paradise, to enjoy him face to face.
Our Father, etc.