Greetings in Jesus and Mary...
Sorry this is a bit late in the day.. We had a couple of power outages with storms today. I hope we are finally up now!
First, we need to honor Our Blessed Mother's birthday and thank Her for all that She has given to us! She wants us to thank the Eternal Father first and foremost...It is because of Him that we even have this amazing Mother and Her Divine Son Jesus! Blessed be the Eternal Father...now and forever!
I will hopefully write each day on the seven dolors of our Lady during this Novena. I have been reading from Father Frederick Faber's book...At The Foot of the Cross. This is one of my favorite saints...even though he was never canonized. He certainly should be. I fell in love with his writings a number of years ago and sought his books online through various used book stores and have a collection of his first prints from England. I treat them somewhat like relics. He is such a blessing to the world. He died at 49 years of age and wrote so much that it puts us all to shame as to how he utilized his years so well.
Well - I will begin and all that I will write will be paraphrased from his book..."At the Foot of the Cross".
He begins the 33 page chapter on the First Dolor by explaining the holiness of St. Simeon and the faithfulness of God in allowing him to see the Messiah before he left this earth. He also describes Anna as being careful that the least things which the law ordained should be obediently fulfilled. His description of how Our Lady gained so much more grace and wisdom from the prophecy of this saint is eye opening. He talks of an inexplicable change over Mary when this prophecy was told to her: "Behold, this Child is set for the fall, and the resurrection of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed."
He states: "Suddenly out of the sunshine of Bethlehem, She found herself in the heart of the eclipse on Calvary; and she was calm as before, with unastonished dignity, with the tranquility of unutterable love, with the strength of divinest union, and with the sword right through her broken heart, which should remain there until Jesus should draw it out of the wound and she would bleed to death with love." (Father Faber was a poet and wrote poetry as well as hymns)
He talks about how Joseph and Mary just offered to God a gift equal to Himself. There never had been such an offering made to Him since creation began! Mysterious fruit of the greatness of a mother's love! Mary knew that giving Jesus back to God was giving Him away from herself. Her reward was immediate: it was an unutterable lifelong sorrow. One of God's mysteries....earthly sorrows are the roots of heavenly joys. A cross is a crown begun. Suffering has always been dear to the saints and She is the Queen of these saints. Beginning with Her...they have His tastes, His inclinations, they thirst for suffering because there is something in it which is favorable to union with God for the good of souls. Fr. Faber says that suffering puts out the deceitful lights of the world; and darkness is the light by which we can most spiritually discern God. (Also found in St. John of the Cross' Dark Night of the Soul)
God proportioned Her cross to Her powers of bearing it. Now there would be no hiding place in Her soul...it was penetrated with the bitterness of this prophecy. Every look at Jesus, every movement that He made, every word that He uttered....all quickened the sorrow within in. The Passion became an inevitable vision to Her. It was always before Her eyes. She belonged to sorrow. The beauty of Jesus was hourly driving Simeon's sword in. But She was so full of grace that She bore this grief interiorly and could perform Her daily duties and be cheerful to all around Her.
Our good Mother and Queen was heart broken almost from the start! Mary was created perfect and therefore She would never have abandoned this sorrow as we all have done to our crosses. She knew that He belonged to sinners. What an office for a mother to hold. Simeon had spoken of contradictions. What are these contradictions? The whole world would not be at His feet...even after witnessing His death on the cross...they would not follow Him. Many sinners would not be converted and choose to be lost rather than Love Him. Who could be rude to Him Who was Truth, Beauty, Wisdom and Love? Who could contradict His Truth? All this was known to the Heart of Mary which was now pierced with this knowledge. Is He to drive them from Himself by the very brightness of His Light, by the very heavenliness of His Beauty? She became the Mother of the sinners because She was the Mother of the Savior and She thirsted for their souls to please Her Divine Son. Is it no wonder that anyone who comes to Her assistance is never left unaided? The countless multitudes of those who were to be saved were the nearest approach to an alleviation of Her inconsolable sorrow.
We will conclude with Father Faber's thoughts on Mary's three graces that She exercised in a heroic degree in this first dolor which we can meditate on for ourselves:
The first was Her practical acknowledgment of the sovereignty of God which is the fundamental idea of all worship. God is Master.
Second, Mary entered perfectly into all the disposition of God about Jesus, Herself and us. (We must turn from ourselves and focus on God and His point of view ... we can not do things according to our point of view)
The Third disposition is Her generosity in the acceptance of this dolor.
Our lesson is to learn from Mary to accept sufferings, keep close to God in prayer to discern our sufferings and offer them to God for the sins of the world. God allows them...seek Him, embrace Him and unite yourself to Him through your crosses.
Finally...a quote from Bishop Sheen's book..."Light Your Lamps"...
"There yet remains to inscribe in our hearts a perpetual love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that will express itself daily in such tokens of virtue and love, that on the last day...we shall hear Him say the most consoling words of all, and the pledge of our eternal salvation: "I've heard My Mother speak of you."
Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 41 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 5 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!