Considerations on Mary’s Dolours at the Foot of 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.
Considerations on Mary’s Dolours at the Foot of the Cross.
Of the swords that pierced MARY’S heart these are the three sharpest. The first, to lose the most beautiful, most holy, and most innocent Son that ever was: a most sore affliction! To see her only-begotten, with His veins open, His feet and hands pierced through, dying between two robbers, just in the flower of His age; a most sore torment! But for whom this blood? For a Catholic, perhaps for you, who, after all this expenditure, wish to go to be damned after all. Ah, it is this which is a grief above grief, which wounds her heart, leaving it no comfort. What use, she keeps repeating, ah, what use!
The second. To see the blood of her Son not only uselessly spilt for so many Christians, but moreover, to know that it will serve them for a second hell, to their greater torment! Oh, what pain! To know that this blood will form the accusation, the reproach, the condemnation of so many sinners, who are, besides all this, her sons too! To lose her JESUS, and not to save you; to see you, even for this, more tormented! Poor Mother, who will be able to console you any more!
The third. That Christians make no account of this Divine blood, as though He had shed it easily. But, after all, why should man abuse it so greatly? ah, this is too much! If the Son of MARY had not died for you, perhaps you would have sinned less. You sin from the confidence you have in that blood! You go on sinning till death, from the hope that that blood must save you. And so many are not content with this, but despise it, blaspheme it, curse it. Oh, unfortunate Mother! Oh, cruel you, if you will not shew compassion on her!
There was a rich nobleman, immersed in many enormous sins (Auriem. t. ii. p. 182). Though pressed by a mortal infirmity, he did not give his soul a thought. St. Bridget had admonished him, and with many tears had much and often besought the Lord fervently that this obstinate man might be converted; and she knocked so much at the gate of the Divine mercy, that the Lord appeared to her, and told her to send a priest to the sick man to exhort him to repentance. This priest went and returned three times without doing any good; but at last, by the help of God’s grace, so pierced his heart, that the sick man cried out: “Shall I obtain pardon of God, when for sixty years I have had no acquaintance either with confessors or Sacraments? I that have given myself wholly to the devil, and have promised and sworn fealty to him, and have had close intercourse with him. Now I feel myself quite an altered man; I wish to go to confession, and hope that God will pardon me.” Having done this with many tears, that very day he confessed four times. The following he took the Viaticum; and on the sixth died with the greatest devotion. When he was dead, our Lord appeared to St. Bridget, and told her, the converted soul was in purgatory, and I expect it soon in Paradise. At these words the Saint was astonished beyond measure, to think that a man of such a bad life should merit the great grace of dying contrite. And the Lord added: “ Know, then, daughter, that my Mother has locked the gates of hell for him; for although he did not love her ever heartily, still his habit was frequently to call to mind her dolours; and to feel compassion for her as often as he heard her mentioned, and to think about her; and so he is saved.”
ACT OF HOMAGE.
Offer to MARY all the troubles you may have to bear to-day, as a comfort for her dolours.
“Fac ut tecum Ingeam.”
“O give me tears to shed with thee
Beneath the Cross on Calvary.”
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.
May Devotion: The Blessed Virgin Mary
Virtue to practice: Meekness, purity, the spirit of poverty
O holy Mary, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen. (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins and Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
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