September 15, 2015

Our Lady of Sorrows

September 15, 2015:  Our Lady of Sorrows

      • 'Signs' tie:  “This child is... to be a sign that will be contradicted,..." (gospel)
      • 'Sword' tie pin, 'pierced hearts' suspenders:  "...and a sword will pierce through you" (gospel); "I'll walk with blameless heart" (psalm)
      • 'Crucifix' pin:  Mary et al. were standing by the cross of Jesus (gospel)
      • Clear pin:  Deacons should have a clear conscience (1st reading)
      • 'Eyeball' pin:  I won't set a base thing before my eyes; I won't endure one with haughty eyes; my eyes are on the faithful (psalm)
      • White shirt:  color of today's memorial
      • Brown slacks and sandals:  wood of the Cross (gospel, plus yesterday)

      • Stabat mater ["Mary stood" (at the foot of the cross)] settings (sequence)
      Pope Francis
      Homily:  Jesus tells us, "I'm not leaving you as orphans; I’m giving you a mother."  We have a mother who is with us, protects us, accompanies us, and helps us, even in difficult times.  Mary's motherhood goes beyond her and is contagious.  From it, comes a second motherhood, the Church's. 
      ‘Holy Mother Church’ makes us grow up in her community and has the motherly attitude of meekness and goodness.  Our Mother Mary and our Mother Church know how to caress their children and show tenderness. To think of the Church without that is to think of a cold, rigid association, an orphan.  The Church welcomes all of us as a mother with an attitude of understanding, goodness, forgiveness, and tenderness.
      Where there's motherhood, there’s life, joy, and peace, and we grow in peace; when it's lacking, all that's left is rigidity and discipline, and people don't know how to smile.  One of the most beautiful things is to smile at a child and make them smile.  May our Lord make us feel his presence today...
      World Day of the Sick message:  “Entrusting Oneself to the Merciful Jesus like Mary” (released months early):  Do whatever he tells you.”   The day offers me an opportunity to draw close to you, dear friends who are ill, and to those who care for you.  I propose a meditation on the wedding feast of Cana.  The theme fits with the Jubilee of Mercy.  Illness places human existence in crisis and brings deep questions.  We may rebel:  Why me?  We can feel desperate, thinking all is lost, that things no longer have meaning…
      These situations both test our faith and can reveal its resources.  Faith doesn't make illness, pain, or the questions disappear but offers a key to discover meaning in our experience, to help see how illness can be the way to draw nearer to Jesus who walks at our side, weighed down by the Cross.  Mary gives us this key; she walked the way herself.  At the wedding feast, Mary saw the problem that the wine, symbol of the feast's joy, had run out, and acted swiftly and discreetly, not just looking on or finding fault, but turning to Jesus with the problem and telling the servants to obey him.  Jesus then turned the water into fine wine.
      The wedding feast is an image of the Church:  at the center is Jesus in mercy performing the sign; around him are the disciples; and beside them is Mary, provident and prayerful Mother.  She shares the people's joy and helps it to increase, interceding on behalf of the couple and guests.  Jesus grants his mother's request; what hope for us!  We have a Mother like her Son, with benevolent and watchful eyes; a merciful heart; and helping hands.  This fills us with trust and opens us to Christ's grace and mercy.  Her intercession makes us experience the consolation Paul blesses God for:  “Blessed be God,... who encourages us in our affliction, so that we may be able to encourage the afflicted with the encouragement God encourages us with.  For as Christ’s sufferings overflow to us, so through him does our encouragement overflow too” (2 Cor 1:3-5).  Mary is the “comforted” Mother who comforts her children.  (To be continued)
        "SWord cloud" from Stabat Mater text
      • 1 Tm 3:1-13  A bishop must be irreproachable, temperate, self-controlled, hospitable, able to teach, gentle.  He must manage his own household well.  He should not be a recent convert so he won't become conceited.  He must have a good reputation.  Similarly, deacons must be dignified and hold fast to the faith with a clear conscience; they should be tested first.  Women should be dignified, temperate, and faithful.  Deacons must manage their children and households well....
      • Ps 101:1b-3ab, 5, 6  "I will walk with blameless heart."  I'll sing of mercy and judgment.  When will you come to me?  My eyes are on the faithful....
      • Jn 19:25-27  Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved, he told his mother, “Behold, your son,” and the disciple, “Behold, your mother.”  The disciple took her into his home.
      • Lk 2:33-35  Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was said about him.  Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, “This child is destined for the fall and rise of many, and to be a sign that will be contradicted, and a sword will pierce you so the thoughts of many may be revealed.”
        • Creighton:  "Let me stand with you O Mother" (meditation based on Stabat Mater)  Let me stand and mourn with you, O Mother standing ’neath the Cross, gazing up at your bleeding Son.  You saw him condemned to die; you heard them free a thief instead.  You watched him fall under the weight of the beam placed across his shoulders.  You wanted to run to him and kiss his wounds.  You saw them nail him to the cross.  You watched him cry in agony.   You stood by him, even as your tears fell.  Through his life you bore the pain. The sword pierced your heart.  You and Joseph fled to save him from slaughter.  You found him after he'd gone missing.  When your family thought he was crazy, you looked for him.  You pondered all this in your heart.  Let me share your grief, learn to feel as you do.  Help me understand his love for me.  Help me reach out to those in anguish.  Make me sensitive to others' needs.  Let me daily hear, “Woman, behold your son.”  For he died for me....
          Our Mother of Sorrows icon
        • One Bread One Body:  "Mother of Sorrows":  The day after we celebrate the Exaltation of the Cross we celebrate the sorrows of the cross for Mary and all who take up their daily crosses.  We received the triumph of the cross at baptism; we experience its sorrow and triumph when we live out our baptism; and we receive the ultimate triumph when Jesus returns or we're raised from the dead.  The sorrows of the cross are between its triumphs. "We carry the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed.". We "fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of the church."  Like Mary, our hearts are pierced with a sword; like Jesus, we learn obedience from suffering.  "It's your privilege to take Christ's part, to believe in and suffer for him," to love enough to be a sorrowful Christian.  "Blessed are the sorrowing; they shall be consoled."  "Rejoice in the measure that you share Christ's sufferings...."
        • Passionist:  No mother should have to watch her son die.  Often women must live with the horror of war and violence.  Other gospel writers mention women present at the cross, but John explicitly tells us that Mary and the beloved disciple stood there; he gives us Jesus’ words: “Woman. behold, your son” / “Behold, your mother.”  Mary's eyes must have been riveted on his face, her heart torn by sorrow.  Mary, may I appreciate you as my mother.  May I go to you with my doubts and fears.  May I trust in your care for me.  Give me a compassionate heart as I see Jesus suffering in today's crucified....
        •  The cross brings us face to face with Jesus' suffering.  His disciples had deserted him except for his mother, three women, and John, who demonstrate the power of love for overcoming fear.  When Jesus was presented in the temple, Simeon predicted Mary would suffer.  Bernard of Clairvaux said, Jesus "died in body through a love greater than anyone had known; [Mary] died in spirit through a love unlike any since his."  Mary did not despair; her trust in God and love for her Son sustained her faith and hope.  Jesus entrusted his mother's care to John, and John's to her.  Paul says love bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things.  There's no greater proof of God's love for us than the sacrifice of his Son on the cross. Do I know the love that enables me to bear my cross and endure difficulties with faith and hope?
        • Universalis:  also St. Mirin (Mirren, Merinus, Merryn, Meadhrán), prior, monastery founder
        Special greetings to and prayers for the communities at...

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