I recently heard a lecture by Father Chad Ripperger on Our Lady of Sorrows. Before he began discussing each of Mary’s Seven Sorrows, he spoke of her and explained that, because Mary was the Immaculate Conception, born without sin, her body was totally pure. He explained that sin affects our physical bodies and, in that, effects the degree to which we feel pain; emotional, spiritual and physical pain. Because she was without sin, Mary felt pain and joy to a degree that we, having been born with original sin, could never comprehend. He further explained that, because of her sinlessness, the degree of love for her Son was so great; so beyond our human ability to love, that every pain, every scourge, every nail, all humiliation and beyond, which Jesus experienced, His mother experienced to the same degree.
So, in reflecting upon Our Lady’s sorrows, we would deepen our prayer by knowing that any pain anyone has experienced, no matter how great, is in comparison to Mary’s pain, considerably less.
During this Holy Week, the Week that Changed the World, we place a greater emphasis on the Stations of the Cross. I am focusing prayer on each station based on Our Lady’s suffering. This is an emotional journey, as it should be and my hope is that you will take the journey along with me.
You can listen to Father Ripperger’s entire lecture on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDSsFn-JaXY
1st Station: Jesus is condemned to death
Your anguish begins. Mother, you knew, from the beginning that this day was already written. When Simeon, holding your baby in his arms, looked up at you and said, “And a sword will pierce your very soul,” your pain became greater. Although you knew what was ahead, you could not prepare yourself for the pain you would experience and you thought, “This is only the beginning.”
“From that moment on, every time she would lift infant hands, she would see them fall across the shadow of nails.”
~Archbishop Fulton Sheen~
2nd Station: Jesus carries His cross
His blessed shoulders! The shoulders you caressed when He was a child! So tender and now these shoulders must bear the weight of His cross. Your own shoulders felt the weight of the heavy wood bearing down on them and pushing you forward. You wanted to help. You would gladly have carried His cross but you knew that this was the way it had to be and you watched as you carried your own cross.
“And surely you, like Him, will find Mary on the way.”
~Saint Josemaría Escrivá~
3rd Station: Jesus falls the first time
As you watch, you recall times when He was a child running playfully and fell. Fearing that he was hurt, you ran to comfort Him. You held Him and He knew He was safe within the comfort of your arms. But now. Now you cannot run to Him. You can only watch and try to find solace in memories. Dear Mother, on this day, there is no solace. There is only pain and there is more ahead.
“Let us run to Mary, and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence.”
~Saint Francis de Sales~
4th Station: Jesus meets his mother
Finally you come face to face with your beloved Son. As you look into each other’s eyes, you feel each other’s pain. He knows that you are suffering and His love for you makes His pain greater. You bear each other’s pain. The blood He sheds is your blood. The love that exists between you is the greatest bond the world has ever known.
“Let us firmly trust that, through the infinite merits of Christ’s Passion and the dolors of Mary, we shall forever sing the mercies of the Most High.”
~Saint Paul of the Cross~
5th Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry his cross
Blessed Mother, you are thankful that someone will lessen His burden, even if only a little and only for a short time. You don’t know this man, Simon, but you pray for him asking Our Father to bless Him and give Him the realization that he is carrying the cross of Our Savior.
“Christians must lean on the Cross of Christ just as travelers lean on a staff when they begin a long journey. They must have the Passion of Christ deeply embedded in their minds and hearts, because only from it can they derive peace, grace, and truth.”
~Saint Anthony of Padua~
6th Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
When He was a child, you washed His beautiful face. If He was bruised, you wiped away the blood. The face that was so radiant as He looked up at you in innocence was now hardly recognizable. It is torn and
“It is not the finest wood that feeds the fire of Divine love, but the wood of the Cross.”
~Saint Ignatius of Loyola~
7th Station: Jesus falls the second time
He is so fragile and another fall will make him more so. With great difficulty, He stands and continues on. Your Son! You know that, at any given time, He could stop this torture. He does not have to go through any more. But you also know how greatly He loves us and there would be no redemption if He did not complete His earthly mission. You are silently crying. Silently because you are far too humble and obedient to the will of God to do anything that may bring attention to yourself.
“This Blood that but one drop of has the power to win all the world forgiveness of its world of sin.”
~Saint Thomas Aquinas~
8th Station: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
Women are weeping. He sees that they are grieving and lovingly comforts them. “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep rather for yourselves and for your children.” You understand but they do not. You would like to tell them what He is meaning but you cannot. Such is the way of your life, Our Mother. You always remained in the background never wanting more than to follow God’s will. Oh! If only we could realize just a portion of your humility.
“The truly humble reject all praise for themselves, and refer it all to God.”
~Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori~
9th Station: Jesus falls a third time
He has become frailer. His body is weak. He is experiencing incomprehensible pain; pain that you also are feeling. You wish that you could take on His pain. As a mother, you would willingly take His pain to yourself. But you cannot. You must know this suffering as His mother. He knows your pain. You share each other’s suffering. He pushes forward to continue His journey to the cross.
“The religious who concerns himself intently and devoutly with our Lord’s most holy life and passion will find there an abundance of all things useful and necessary for him. He need not seek for anything better than Jesus.”
~Thomas À Kempis~
10th Station: Jesus clothes are taken away
As if He has not been humiliated enough! He is being ridiculed and challenged further. As you watch this scene, your heart is torn apart and you wonder how you will be able to go on. But you stop that thought for you know that God and his angels are beside you and you will be given the strength to go on, no matter how painful it will be.
“As Jesus is stripped of his clothes at Golgotha, our thoughts turn once more to his Mother. They go back in time to the first days of this body which now, even before the crucifixion, is covered with wounds. The mystery of the Incarnation: the Son of God takes his body from the Virgin’s womb.”
~Saint John Paul II ~
11th Station: Jesus is nailed to the cross
Every pounding of the nails resonates through your body. You feel His thirst. You gasp for His breath. This is your Son! Your Son who willingly accepts this torture for love of us. You are weeping inconsolably and you feel helpless.
“As they were looking on, so we too gaze on his wounds as he hangs. We see his blood as he dies. We see the price offered by the redeemer, touch the scars of his resurrection. He bows his head, as if to kiss you. His heart is made bare open, as it were, in love to you. His arms are extended that he may embrace you. His whole body is displayed for your redemption. Ponder how great these things are. Let all this be rightly weighed in your mind: as he was once fixed to the cross in every part of his body for you, so he may now be fixed in every part of your soul.
12th Station: Jesus dies on the cross
“It is finished.” His suffering is over. The torment has stopped. The prophecy fulfilled. For the first time in your life, you are so overtaken by emotion that you can barely breathe. Each breath is excruciatingly painful as you stand beneath the cross upon which they crucified your Son.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6,)
13th Station: The body of Jesus is taken down from the cross
You are holding the lifeless body of your son. With your veil, you wipe blood from His face and body. You don’t want to let go for you know that this is the last time you will hold Him until you reunite in heaven. Pain runs through every vein in your body. Your heart is shattered and your weeping is heard throughout the earth. Mother, Our Mother, the suffering you have endured is far beyond anything we, on our human level, can comprehend.
“Then He was taken down from the cross and I received His body onto my lap. He looked like a leper, and was completely covered with bruises and blood. His eyes were lifeless and filled with blood, His mouth as cold as ice, His beard like string, His face paralyzed, and His hands were so stiffened that they could not be bent over His chest, but only over his stomach, near the navel. I had Him on my knee just as he had been on the cross: stiffened in all his limbs.”
~Mary to Saint Bridget~Revelations of Saint Bridget of Sweden~
14th Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb
John stayed with you. He would be with you from this time forward.
Now your Son was laid in the tomb. Laid peacefully in what they believed would be His final place of rest. But you, Mother, knew differently. Your faith told you otherwise and you followed your faith to the next chapter; His resurrection.
In order to show me close up how ardently Thou lovest me, Thou comest from the purest delights of Heaven down to this dirty, miserable earth, spend Thy life in poverty, adversities, and sufferings – finally to hang, despised, ridiculed and overwhelmed with pain, between two thieves on the shameful gibbet. By sacrificing Thyself in this horrible way, Thou hast redeemed me, O God of love! Who could have imagined it?
But that was not enough. Thou saw that, from the time when Thou pourest out these proofs of Thy immense love, nineteen centuries would pass before I appeared on this earth. Thy heart could not tolerate the thought that I should have to nourish myself solely on memories of Thy great love. Thou remained here on this small earth in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the altar and Thou come and unite Thyself with me – truly, under the form of food………and Thy Blood flows in my veins, Thy soul, O incarnate God, permeates my soul, strengthens and nourishes it. What a miracle! Who could ever have imagined such a thing? What more could Thou hast given me, O God, than Thyself to be my own possession?
~ Saint Maximilian Kolbe ~
Marilyn Nash http://www.Gardenias4Lina.com