September 15, 2016

Our Lady of Sorrows

September 15, 2016:  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)
  • 'Mary' and 'crucifix' pins:  Mary et al. were standing by the cross of Jesus (gospel)
  • White shirt:  color of today's memorial
  • 'Wood block' tie pin, brown sandals (not shown):  Wood of the Cross (gospel, plus yesterday)

Stabat mater ["Mary stood" (at the foot of the cross)] settings (sequence)
Sub tuum præsidium (Pope's homily)
Pope Francis
Homily:  At Calvary the disciples had fled, except for John and a few women.  Mary is at the foot of the Cross, humiliated as people said, “That’s the mother of this delinquent, this subversive!”  She also heard dignitaries, even priests, saying, “Come down!”  She was suffering next to her naked Son, but she stayed; she didn’t deny her Son, her flesh.
When I visited prisoners, lines of women waited to enter.  Those moms weren't ashamed; their flesh was inside.  They suffered the shame of being there and the humiliation of being searched.  But those mothers went to find their own flesh, as Mary did.  Jesus, who promised not to leave us orphans, on the Cross gave us his mother as ours.  We have Jesus' Mother and Father as ours!  She gives birth to us in that moment with such sorrow: she's truly a martyr.  With a pierced heart, she gave birth to us in that sorrow.  She takes care of us and is not ashamed; she defends us.
The mystics of the early centuries counsel us to take refuge under the mantle of the Mother of God in moments of turbulence.  The West, taking this advice, composed Sub tuum praesidium:  "under your mantle, your protection, O Mother, we're safe."  In a world we could call an orphan, this world that suffers the crisis of being orphaned, perhaps our help lies in saying, "Look to your Mother!"  Our mother defends us, teaches us, accompanies us; she's not ashamed of our sins because she's our Mother. May the Spirit, this friend, this companion, this Paraclete, this advocate the Lord sent, make us understand this great mystery of Mary's maternity.
For National Biblical Week:  God, after having created the universe and living beings, created his masterpiece, the human being, in his own image:  "in God's image he created them; male and female he created them."  Note the differences that exist within creation.  This helps us to understand the dignity of all men and women, a dignity which has its roots in the Creator.  Never forget we're all God's children, shaped and guided by him as a father does with his children.  If we make a place for idols, we degrade this God-given dignity.  The idol of gold, symbolizes the attraction of wealth.  We lose our dignity when riches take God's place in our hearts.
May we share this dignity so it triggers positive reciprocity.  Ask, "How can I make the other feel worthy?  How can I 'infect' them with dignity?"  One who despises, segregates, or discriminates does not infect the other with dignity.

    "SWord cloud" from Stabat Mater text
  • 1 Cor 15:1-11  Through the Gospel you're being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached.  Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised in accordance with the Scriptures; he appeared to Cephas, then the Twelve, then more than 500, then James, then the Apostles, then me.  I'm unfit to be called Apostle because I persecuted the Church, but I am by God's grace....
  • Ps 118:1b-2, 16ab-17, 28  "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good."  His mercy endures forever.  I'll live and declare God's works....
  • 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:  Dear Mary, when I contemplate the mystery of your motherhood, I think of Jesus having your face, gestures, mannerisms, hair, skin, eyes and voice.  What joy it must have been for you and Joseph to look at him.  You raised Jesus to know Scripture:  to pray the psalms, to love the history and the prophets.  You taught him to say "yes" as deeply as you did to God's call.  You couldn't have imagined what Simeon meant when he predicted a sword would pierce you.  Was it that so many thought you were either unfaithful to or unchaste with Joseph?  Was it Joseph's death?  Did an adult Jesus come to sense of his mission from Scripture and his discussions with you, and that his good news would be rejected?  Was it how he left home to begin his public ministry?  Was it your decision to accompany him, his disciples, and the women who supported them?  So many swords, yet none would prepare you for what was to come.  Mother of compassion, we turn to you in our suffering, knowing you'll understand and will be with us.
    O, Mother, familiar with sorrow, place me with your Son.  Help me remember his love for me and be grateful every day for what Jesus did and won for me.  Fill me with compassion.  Help me imitate your Son in loving others, in sacrificing for them.  Help me to love completely, as you taught Jesus to love.  I'm sorry for what my sin has done to cost you such pain and loss.  Mother of Sorrow and Fidelity, help me to be with your Son and to be more like him.
      Our Mother of Sorrows icon
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Our Lady of Forgiveness":  Our Lady of Sorrows is Our Lady of Forgiveness:  She forgave the innkeeper who refused to give her a room to have her Baby in.  She forgave Herod for trying to kill her Baby and forcing her family to flee to Egypt.  She forgave Joseph for his sins; if she felt the family problems were Joseph's fault, she was right since she and Jesus were sinless.  She forgave her relatives for rejecting Jesus and saying he was out of his mind.  She forgave Jesus' apostles for abandoning him, Peter for denying him, and Judas for betraying him.  She forgave Pontius Pilate and the religious leaders who had him crucified.  At the cross, she forgave the bad thief and those who mocked Jesus. She's forgiven us for being accomplices to Jesus' death through our sins.  Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
    • Passionist:  No mother should have to watch her son die, as Mary did.  Think the pain of the mothers of those trapped in the World Trade Center, or of the mothers of Taliban killed in drone attacks or air strikes; and mothers still see their children die.  In them all, Mary’s sorrows continue.  John explicitly tells us Mary stood by the cross.  Mary, may I appreciate you as my mother.  May I go to you with my doubts and fears. May I trust in your loving care for me.  Help me to have a compassionate heart as I see Jesus suffering in the crucified of today....
    •  "Standing by the cross of Jesus":  The cross brings us face to face with Jesus' suffering.  He was deserted by almost all the apostles, who had fled in fear.  But Mary and three other women who loved him were there; they demonstrate how love overcomes fear.
    When Jesus was presented in the temple, Simeon predicted Mary would suffer.  Many have called Mary a martyr in spirit.  "Jesus died in body through a love greater than anyone had known; Mary died in spirit through a love unlike any since his" (Bernard).  Mary did not despair, sustained in faith and hope by her trust in God and love for her Son.  Jesus in his suffering entrusted Mary's care to John and John's to her; no suffering can keep us from his love.  There's no greater proof of God's love for us than Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.
    • Universalis:  also St. Mirin (Mirren, Merinus, Merryn, Meadhrán), prior, monastery founder
    Special greetings to and prayers for the communities at...

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