On the Mother of Dolors Standing beneath the Cross.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
On the Mother of Dolors Standing beneath the Cross.
To-day being the day of the week specially dedicated to our Blessed Lady, turn your eyes to Mary and behold her as she stands beneath the cross, her heart pierced with the sword of sorrow. Transport yourself in spirit to Calvary; place the whole course of the crucifixion before your mental vision; imagine yourself to be one of the bystanders and onlookers, and as such contemplate Mary while you consider the following points:
1st. In addition to the maternal love and faithful devotion which Mary manifested towards her divine Son until His latest breath, there is another characteristic that we cannot do otherwise than admire in her as she stands beneath the cross, and that is her virginal modesty and decorum. In spite of the intensity of her grief, not a word escapes her lips; not by a single gesture or attitude does she show outwardly what she feels. She stands there, as calm and recollected as if in very deed she was assisting at the first sacred function, the first solemn celebration of holy Mass; she utters no lamentations; she does not cry aloud in her agony; she bears silently the burden of her terrible sorrow, and only the tears that roll down her pallid cheeks testify to the heartfelt compassion she feels for her suffering Son.
O Mary, mirror of modesty and propriety, the fact that thou canst stand thus self-possessed beneath the cross of thy dearly beloved Son in itself abundantly proves thee to be indeed His Mother, and compels even His enemies and thine own to yield thee an awestruck reverence. Now ask yourself, my soul, when you stand beneath the cross, when you hear or celebrate holy Mass, is your deportment equally modest and decorous? Is the manner in which you recite the prayers, are your attitude and gestures, is your whole demeanor in keeping with the sanctity of the place, the solemnity of the moment? And if perchance unbelievers, your enemies and the enemies of your God happen to see you at such times, are they inspired with an involuntary feeling of respect, or is your behavior calculated to make religion ridiculous and contemptible in their eyes?
2d. Consider Mary’s marvellous patience as she stands beneath the cross. She does not complain of the Jews, who have acted so cruelly, so shamefully towards her and her Son; no, she compassionates her misguided nation. She does not complain of the sinners for whose transgressions her Son has to suffer; she prays for them. She does not show any indignation at the conduct of the executioners and of the Pharisees, who wound her bleeding heart yet more deeply by their mocking sneers; she forgives them as her Son forgives them. There she stands like an immovable rock, buffeted by every billow of sorrow; she stands like a statue of patience, wrought in marble by the skillful chisel of the sculptor. Now, my soul, behold yourself in this mirror. Behold your gloomy countenance, your frowning brow; listen to your whining and lamentations whenever some slight cross is laid on you, and do you, who are of the sterner sex, who are perhaps a young man in the prime of life and strength, learn a lesson of this frail woman who stands beneath the cross steeped in anguish; learn a lesson of patience.
3d. Consider Mary’s wonderful fortitude as she stands beneath the cross. The mother of the Machabees also displayed heroic courage when she valiantly encouraged her sons to endure terrible torture rather than break the commandment. Other mothers have seen their children dragged away to a martyr’s death without flinching, but they are all surpassed by Mary when she stood beneath the cross. There she maintains her position for three long hours, beside the cross of shame whereon her divine Son, the Son whom she loves even unto death, is suspended; she stands face to face with an excited, a furious, a fanatical mob, exposed to the insolent, the contemptuous stare of a multitude composed of the lowest of the people, unable to shield herself from the eyes of the Pharisees, whose envenomed glances betray the hatred that fills their hearts; she stands there, sharing her Son’s disgrace, herself the object of contempt and mockery on the part of the barbarous executioners and rude soldiery; she stands there, I say, in indescribable majesty and dignity until Jesus has drawn His latest breath. O proud, vain child of man! In the presence of this valiant woman blush on account of your effeminacy, your cowardice, your weakness, which so often lead you, for fear of contumely and derision, to depart from strict, exact obedience to the Rule, from the rigid observance of fasting and silence, so that through weakness and human respect you speedily forsake the cross beneath which Mary continued to stand steadfast and strong as Samson.
As, my soul, you ought not to allow any Friday to pass by without devoting a short space of time to meditation on our Lord’s Passion, so you will do well to consecrate a portion of your free time every Saturday to contemplation of the life of Mary, for you will thereby honor the Mother of God and undoubtedly you will derive great profit for yourself and assistance in your progress towards perfection.
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
– Meditations on the Life, Teaching, and Passion of Jesus Christ
(Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur: New York, December 31, 1900)
The greatest reward that a servant of God can receive for that which he has done for his neighbor is scorn or contempt, the only reward that the world gave for the labors of its Divine Master. – St. Ignatius of Loyola, Bartoli, vol. ii, p. 7.
February Devotion: The Holy Trinity (also the Holy Family)
Virtue to practice: Humility
I vow and consecrate to God all that is in me: my memory and my actions to God the Father; my understanding and my words to God the Son; my will and my thoughts to God the Holy Ghost; my heart, my body, my tongue my senses and all my sorrows to the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, ‘who was contented to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men and to suffer the torment of the Cross.’ – St. Francis de Sales
An indulgence of 3 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of oblation is devoutly repeated every day for a monh (S.P.Ap., Sept. 22, 1922 and May 12, 1934).
The faithful who devoutly offer any prayers in honor of the Most Holy Trinity with the intention of continuing them for nine successive days, may gain:
An indulgence of 7 years once each day:
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions at the end of the novena (S.C. Ind., Aug. 8 1847; S.P. Ap., Mar. 18, 1932).
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