Jesus Christ takes leave of His Beloved Mother.
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.
Jesus Christ takes leave of His Beloved Mother.
“To what shall I compare thee? or to what shall I liken thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? to what shall I equal thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Sion? For great as the sea is thy destruction.”—Lamentations ii. 13.
THE holy Gospel does not mention that our Divine Saviour held a farewell interview with His beloved Mother, but we may piously believe that He did. It is very probable that Jesus, who had always conducted Himself with the greatest respect and utmost submission towards His blessed Mother, did not undertake the rough road to Calvary without acquainting her of His intentions and seeking her consent. This is the opinion of the Seraphic Doctor, St. Bonaventure, who describes the last farewell which our Lord took of His Mother before entering upon His passion; and this opinion is confirmed by the revelations which Mary made to St. Bridget. Indeed, it is but reasonable to believe that God, who sought consent of the holy Virgin before taking flesh in her pure womb, should likewise ask her permission to consummate the grand sacrifice which was the chief end of His mission on earth. Who can describe the emotions of a dutiful and loving son when taking leave of his mother to set out upon a long and dangerous journey? Language is inadequate to such a task. If this medium fails to express what a mere man feels on those occasions, how can it depict the intensity of grief experienced by a son, who, besides being man, is also God; and who, instead of going on a journey to a distant country, is about to go to the place of execution to suffer a most cruel and ignominious death? If the grief of the son is inexpressible, what shall we say of that of the mother, who is naturally more sensitive and affectionate? However, availing ourselves of the meditations of St. Bonaventure, we shall imagine that Jesus Christ is in Bethania at the house of Martha. It is the eve of the Jewish Pasch, commemorated in our day on the evening of Wednesday in Holy Week. Immediately after supper Jesus takes His Mother aside, and leads her into a solitary apartment. There they sit down, and after a prolonged and painful silence, Jesus thus ad dresses Mary:
“My dearly beloved Mother, but little time remains for Me to be with you. It is the will of My Eternal Father; I must accomplish the end for which I came into the world. The time for the redemption of mankind has arrived; all the prophecies concerning Me are now to be fulfilled; I shall be delivered into the hands of My enemies, and they will scourge Me, crown Me with thorns, and crucify Me. I thank you, My dear Mother, for all the toils and hardships which you have endured for My sake; and, as you gave your consent to My incarnation, I now wish you to give your consent to My death.”
Thus speaks Jesus, the most dutiful of sons; but what answer comes from the most loving of mothers? Oh! how justly may we address Mary in the language of Scripture: “To what shall I compare thee? or to what shall I liken thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? to what shall I equal thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Sion? For great as the sea is thy destruction.” Mary was transfixed by the bitterness of her grief; speech failed her trembling lips, and she gave vent to her sorrow in a flood of tears. But, as was revealed to St. Bridget, those tears, instead of alleviating the pain of her beloved Son, only augmented it more and more. This increased anguish of Jesus was a fresh source of affliction to His blessed Mother. But some may say, with St. Bernard, Did not Mary know that her Divine Son was to die upon the cross? Without doubt she knew it; and, furthermore, she was fully and certainly assured as to what was to be the manner of His death. Why, therefore, did she grieve for what she had expected, especially when she knew that in a few days Jesus would give her the ineffable joy and consolation of His triumphant resurrection from the tomb? She grieved because she was a mother—and the Mother of God. O Mary, most amiable Mother! by that sword of sorrow which pierced thy tender heart when thy dearly beloved Son requested thy consent to His immolation upon the cross for my salvation, obtain for me a sincere repentance of my sins, and the grace that I may never forget that my crimes were the cause of thy anguish and that of thy Divine Son.
When the Archangel Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she had been chosen by Heaven to be the mother of the future Messias, she became all disturbed, and, before consenting to accept the ineffable honor which was about to be conferred upon her, she questioned the angel, saying, “How shall this be done?” So, likewise, when her Divine Son told her that He was about to give up His life for the redemption of mankind by dying on the cross on Mount Golgotha, she became very much distressed, she trembled, and her pure heart was pierced by a sword of keenest anguish. It is very true that she knew that her beloved Son came down from heaven to redeem mankind by shedding the last drop of His precious blood; but, at the same time, she could not easily persuade herself to give Him up. Her trouble and perplexity were very great. It was hard to consent to the death of her dear and only Son; still, by refusing her consent, she would oppose the will of the Eternal Father and interfere with the redemption of mankind. Finding herself in the midst of these perplexing doubts and not knowing what to do, Mary committed herself entirely into the hands of Divine Providence; and, according to the Seraphic Doctor, St. Bonaventure, she addressed our Divine Lord in broken and trembling accents, saying,
“My beloved Son, I feel all disturbed and my heart faints within me: let your Eternal Father decide, for I know not what to answer.” Mary would have said more, but her tears and anguish prevented. Knowing that she could not change the eternal decrees, she became perfectly resigned to the divine will; and, with an heroic courage worthy only of the Mother of God, she not only consented to the death of her Divine Son, but she resolved to accompany Him to Calvary, where, rising superior even to herself, she stood at the foot of the cross during the three long hours of Jesus agony, and afterwards received His sacred body into her motherly arms upon its descent from the cross.
St. Bonaventure here exclaims, “Oh! if you could see how much suffering Mary endured in giving her consent to the death of her beloved Son, you would, perhaps, be melted into tears of compassion. But if you cannot see her with your corporal eyes, behold her with those of faith; and know that Mary made this sacrifice for love of you. Betake yourself in spirit to Bethania, and imagine that you are present at the meeting of Jesus and Mary on that sad night, and, prostrating yourself at their feet, say, “O Son of the Eternal Father, O Mother of the Eternal Son, how can I ever repay you for the great love which you manifested for me on this occasion of your painful parting? When shall my heart burn with love for you? O ungrateful heart, can you longer remain attached to creatures and reflect that Mary, the Mother of God, so loved you that she willingly gave up her dearly beloved Son, and consented that He should be put to death for your sake? Alas! how long shall we seek to gratify our sinful passions we, miserable wretches, for whom the Son of Mary abandoned His most amiable Mother, and died upon the cross? In conclusion, let us remember that we can never become partakers of the eternal glory of heaven unless we endeavor to imitate Jesus and Mary in their sufferings. Let us, therefore, when oppressed by infirmities, adversities, or tribulations, meditate on the sufferings of our Divine Saviour, and bear in mind that all the afflictions which we have to endure in this vale of tears are merely nothing when compared with the sufferings of Jesus and Mary.
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.
The only lawful ambition is to love God, and the price of this love is to love Him more. – St. Ignatius of Loyola, Bartoli, Book iv.
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).
Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Lourdes
O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Comforter of the Afflicted, thou knowest my wants, my troubles, my sufferings; deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the grotto of Lourdes thou wert pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary from where thou dost dispense thy favors, and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence, to implore thy maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests. Through gratitude for thy favors, I will endeavor to imitate thy virtues, that I may one day share in thy glory. R. Amen.
V. O Mary, conceived without sin,
R. Pray for us who have recourse to thee.
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