“Mary, Did You Know ….!” – Luke 2:33-35†


 

Today is the Feast of “Our Lady of Sorrows”

 

By tradition, the Catholic Church dedicates each month of the year to certain devotions.  This month, it is “Our Lady of Sorrows.” The Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows takes place today, the day after the “Feast of the Triumph of the Cross.” We are to remember the suffering Mary endured as she stood at the foot of the Cross and witnessed the humiliation, torture, and death of her Son.

  

            †

 

Yesterday, (and 1 week shy of six months of trying), I weighed myself and officially passed the “century” mark by a half-pound.  100 Lbs lost in 51 weeks has actually been fairly easy for me.  My mind set is healthy living, and never using that four letter word that is not even allowed to be uttered in my house – “DIET!”  After all, “DIET” is 75% “DIE.”  I am on a “LIVING” plan with God’s help (and yours).

Basically, All I have done is to stop eating processed foods and deep-fried items.  I eat whole grains, low-glycemic veggies and fruit, a lot of fish and chicken, a little pork, and very little beef.  Also careful of any sauces and all sodium levels.  Along with exercise (I love swimming) and journaling all food and exercise, I pray a lot!!

 

Today in Catholic History:

 
    
†  608 – St Boniface IV begins his reign as Catholic Pope
†  1352 – Death of Ewostatewos, Ethiopian monk and religious leader (b. 1273)
†  1803 – Death of Gian Francesco Albani, Italian Catholic cardinal (b. 1719)
†  1859 – Death of John LA Luyten, Catholic Member of Dutch 2nd parliament, dies at 72

 

(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
otday.wordpress.com) &/OR
“Today in Catholic History”
http://www.historyorb.com)

 

 

Quote or Joke of the Day:

 

Suffering with truth decay?  Brush up on your Bible.

  

 

Today’s reflection is about Mary’s sorrows for Jesus, and for all of us in need.

 

33 The child’s father [Joseph] and mother [Mary] were amazed at what was said about him [Jesus]; 34 and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted 35 (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”    (Luke 2:33-35)

 

On this upcoming December 1st, my wife and I will be celebrating our twentieth wedding anniversary.  I can still remember kneeling next to her on the altar, holding her beautiful hands, and vowing to God that I will “love, cherish, and keep her in sickness and in health ….”  God also said the same vows that day to both of us.  My covenant with Jeanine is also a covenant with God – the ultimate, and only papal approved, love triangle.

My love has yet to cease increasing in intensity for her with each and every day.  I still consider us in our honeymoon period!  But boy, was I naïve on that happy day!  Our day-to-day relationship has also had some serious setbacks, disappointments, and challenges that had to be mutually surmounted.  Marriage, though wonderful and exciting it its own nature, is also extremely hard work – something I could not truly realize twenty years ago!  True love is patient, kind, generous, and triumphs through, and over, all the bad times.

I do not believe it would be wrong to state that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the most blessed and honored person to come from God – the “twinkle” in His eye!  It is hard for me to even picture in my mind the extreme joy and glee Mary had in the role of being God’s mother, and the challenges for her that this role also encountered.  Mary had to frequently contemplate and wonder about both hers and Jesus’ life, but also treasured the words and actions she saw unfolding before her very eyes as Jesus grew to adulthood and throughout His public ministry.

She also experienced the deepest and most profound of human sorrows.  Mary was not untouched by the various reactions and consequences in the role of being Jesus’ mother.  Her blessedness as mother of the Lord was challenged by her son Jesus who describes true blessedness as “hearing the word of God and observing it.”  In Luke 11:27-28, a woman in the crowd called out to Jesus saying, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.”  His reply, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”  

This saying by Jesus Christ, a true beatitude, should in no way what-so-ever be inferred as an admonishment of His mother. Rather, it emphasizes that attention to God’s word is more important than any biological relationship to Him: Jesus.  This is what is meant in verse 35, “(and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” 

In Luke 8:20-21, Jesus was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you.”  His reply, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”  The universal (Catholic) family of Jesus does not necessarily involve a physical relationship with Him but as one of obedience to the word of God.  Luke softened Mark’s genealogical picture of Jesus’ family, I think because Mary had already been presented as the “obedient handmaid of the Lord” who fulfilled the requirement for belonging to the eschatological family of Jesus (Luke 1:38).

Mary embraced her role in salvation that God had laid out for her, and throughout her entire life continued to live by a total and unconditional love and faith in God.  She never lost her virtue-laden gifts of joy and hope, even during the darkest times of hers and Jesus’ life.

Mary is NOT “Our Lady of Sorrows” solely because of all the horrific and dreadful times she went through, but also because she allowed and encouraged her heart and soul to be intertwined with the heart and divinity of God.  Mary understood how truly intensive God’s heart and desire is for all His creation.  God is aching and pining with an un-measurable love for His wayward people. 

Mary’s heart was pierced by the sight of Jesus’ suffering AND by all the suffering in the world!  Her heart is still pierced yet today!  She continues to weep over all the devastating, overwhelming, and severe needs of this world.  And even today, she still intercedes with her Son in heaven.  Mary IS the mother of anyone who suffers in any way.  She IS OUR mother, and she loves us all as only a mother can!

 

“To the Mother of Sorrows”

 

“Most holy Virgin and Mother, whose soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow in the Passion of thy divine Son, and who in His glorious Resurrection was filled with never-ending joy at His triumph; obtain for us who call upon thee, so to may be partakers in the adversities of Holy Church and the sorrows of the Sovereign Pontiff, as to be found worthy to rejoice with them in the consolation for which we pray, in the charity and peace of the same Christ our Lord.  Amen.”

 

Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO

 

*****

 

A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day:  Our Lady of Sorrows

 

For a while there were two feasts in honor of the Sorrowful Mother: one going back to the 15th century, the other to the 17th century. For a while both were celebrated by the universal Church: one on the Friday before Palm Sunday, the other in September.

The principal biblical references to Mary’s sorrows are in Luke 2:35 and John 19:26-27. The Lucan passage is Simeon’s prediction about a sword piercing Mary’s soul; the Johannine passage relates Jesus’ words to Mary and to the beloved disciple.

Many early Church writers interpret the sword as Mary’s sorrows, especially as she saw Jesus die on the cross. Thus, the two passages are brought together as prediction and fulfillment.

St. Ambrose (December7) in particular sees Mary as a sorrowful yet powerful figure at the cross. Mary stood fearlessly at the cross while others fled. Mary looked on her Son’s wounds with pity, but saw in them the salvation of the world. As Jesus hung on the cross, Mary did not fear to be killed but offered herself to her persecutors.

 

Comment:

John’s account of Jesus’ death is highly symbolic. When Jesus gives the beloved disciple to Mary, we are invited to appreciate Mary’s role in the Church: She symbolizes the Church; the beloved disciple represents all believers. As Mary mothered Jesus, she is now mother to all his followers. Furthermore, as Jesus died, he handed over his Spirit. Mary and the Spirit cooperate in begetting new children of God—almost an echo of Luke’s account of Jesus’ conception. Christians can trust that they will continue to experience the caring presence of Mary and Jesus’ Spirit throughout their lives and throughout history.

Quote:

“At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.
Through her heart, his sorrow sharing,
All his bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword has passed.”
(Stabat Mater)

Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.;
revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
(From
http://www.americancatholic.org website)

    

Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #’s 15 & 16 of 26:

 

15.  Let them individually and collectively be in the forefront in promoting justice by the testimony of their human lives and their courageous initiatives. Especially in the field of public life, they should make definite choices in harmony with their faith.

 

 

16.  Let them esteem work both as a gift and as a sharing in the creation, redemption, and service of the humancommunity.

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