“Happy the Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who without dying earned the palm of martyrdom beneath the cross of our Lord.” ~Today’s Communion antiphon
Today, on the Friday of Passion week, the Roman Catholic Church commemorates the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 2018, I wrote a small piece on why we remember the sorrows of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. I wrote it at the time, because such remembering of sorrows is often misunderstood by non-Christians. I repeat the sentiments today:
Some days it is good to remember how much God has given to the world in the noble persons of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her son, Jesus Christ. That there was once two hearts beating on this spinning planet that beat for no other cause than to do the will of the Father, and who suffered so that man might gain eternal life, is not a cause for lamentation, shame or guilt. Rather it is cause to feel springs of unending gratitude and delight.
Old time Catholics have been accused of being morbid by meditating on the sorrows of Our Lord and of Our Lady, but it is not morbid to recall the great deeds and sacrifices of ancestors: to put up monuments to their victories, to write of them in books; and to thank them in songs and poetry. The Cross was the victory of God over sin and death.
It sounds simple and basic, but the simple things often startle us when they are looked at again, and are taken with a dose of gratitude. G.K. Chesterton summed up this taking a second look, and seeing with gratitude, when he said (in Evening):
Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?
The great joy of the Christian can be felt even in the throes of the Lenten fast.
It is good to remember the sorrows of Our Lord, to meditate on the sorrows of Our Lady, and to end with the words: thank you.
In order to remember Our Lady’s sorrows, and to form in us a prayer in response, the Sequence at today’s Mass states:
At the Cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.
Through her Heart, His sorrow sharing,
All His bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword has passed.
O how sad and sore distressed
Was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole-begotten One!
Christ above in torment hangs,
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying, glorious Son.
Is there one who would not weep,
‘Whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?
Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother’s pain untold?
Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
She beheld her tender Child,
All with bloody scourges rent.
For the sins of His own nation
Saw Him hang in desolation
Till His spirit forth He sent.
O sweet Mother! Font of love,
Touch my spirit from above,
Make my heart with yours accord.
Make me feel as you have felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.
Holy Mother, pierce me through,
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Savior crucified.
Let me share with you His pain,
Who for all our sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.
Let me mingle tears with you,
Mourning Him who mourned for me,
All the days that I may live.
By the Cross with you to stay,
There with you to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of you to give.
Virgin of all virgins blest!
Listen to my fond request:
Let me share your grief divine.
Let me to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of yours.
Wounded with His every wound,
Steep my soul till it has swooned
In His very Blood away.
Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In His awful judgment day.
Christ, when you shall call me hence,
Be your Mother my defense,
Be your cross my victory.
While my body here decays,
May my soul your goodness praise,
Safe in heaven eternally.
Today, with the entire Church, we remember the incomparable sorrows of Our Lady, and say thank you.