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[CATHOLIC/ORTHODOX CAUCUS] Spirituality: Our Lady of Sorrows
Word on Fire ^ | 9/15/2010 | Fr Steve Grunow

Posted on 09/15/2010 7:05:01 PM PDT by markomalley

Today is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. Read below for Father Steve's very important reflection on this depiction of Mary.

The poet Wendell Berry reflects that for parents, the only way is hard.  We who give life give pain.  There is no help.  Yet we who give pain give love; by pain we learn the extremity of love…  In other words, it may be different in another world, but in this world, all love requires a sacrifice, and with that sacrifice there is inevitable pain.  To reject sacrifice as the condition for the possibility of love is to live an essentially loveless existence.  

Berry continues his reflection with this insight: I read of Christ crucified, the only begotten Son sacrificed to flesh and time and all our woe.  He died and rose, but who does not tremble for his pain and loneliness, and the darkness of the sixth hour?  Unless we grieve like Mary at his grave, giving him up as lost, no Easter morning comes…
The great mystery of the Incarnation is that God so desires communion with us that he allows himself to enter into the saddest and most difficult events of life.  God in Christ does not exempt himself from the painful experiences of human existence.  The Incarnation is a real event that happens in real flesh and blood, rather than in myth or metaphor.  It involves real love and therefore very real pain.  The implications of this are vast and saints and theologians have racked their brains for centuries exploring all its possibilities.  Not only this, but many have been so moved by a God who would accept a human nature out of love for his creatures that they have been moved themselves to imitate his descent into our condition- seeking to serve his presence in those who represent his sufferings in their own afflictions.

The Incarnation demanded the cooperation of human agents to make it possible.  If Christ was to be born into our flesh, he would have to have a mother.  It is our faith that the Mother of God accepted the gift of the Incarnation in a way that was wholly singular and unique.  God in Christ entered into her life with a depth and intimacy that not even those angels closest to the throne of God have known.  To the worldly minded, such proximity to divine power should mean power, privilege and personal glory.  But none of these things were offered, and none would have been accepted, such was the humility of the one who would be the Mother of God.  
What the Mother of God did accept was the gift of being able to love God as a mother loves her only beloved Son.  But this would mean, as it does for all mothers, a sacrifice- such love would engender pain.  To give God his flesh from her flesh would mean that God would make his way into our world as vulnerable as we are.  His joy would be her joy. But his suffering would be her suffering as well.  She could not protect him from the suffering and death that would be his mission.

This is essentially the meaning of the presentation of the Mother of God as Our Lady of Sorrows.  It is a dramatic display to us of the full implications of the Incarnation for the woman who loved him most in all the world.    
We make a mistake if we think that because Mary is the Mother of God that this somehow meant that she escaped the more painful experiences of life.  In fact, it is better to think that because of the depth of her relationship with Christ, the sad facts of life were enhanced for her rather than dulled.  She experienced life knowing the full cost of humanity’s refusal to love, and saw for herself the terrible cost in the manner that her beloved Son suffered and died.  
All the while in the midst of the pain filled way of the cross she trusted that God was present, even if such a presence could not be felt or offered little in the way of relief or consolation.

Each of us will at some point of our lives experience a similar desolation.  Like the Mother of God, the events and circumstances of life will offer us not only love, but sorrow.  In these moments the witness of the Mother of Sorrows will demonstrate to us that genuine faith is not a merely a comfort, a crutch or a diversion.  Faith in Christ does not bring with it exemption from the reality of our existence but grants us access to the divine life in all things- even suffering and even death and it is through precisely these experiences that we learn the extremity of true love.

TOPICS: Catholic

1 posted on 09/15/2010 7:05:03 PM PDT by markomalley
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To: markomalley; stfassisi

“Free from pain, my Child,
I alone of all women bore Thee”
said Thy modest Mother with humble voice.
“Now Thy passion brings more pain than I can

“Torn apart am I,
and my womb, O Word, is wrenched within me
as Thine unjust slaughter assaults mine eyes”,
cried the Mother to her Son through bitter tears.

From the Second Stasis of the Lamentations before the Holy Sepulcre which we chant on Great and Holy Friday.

2 posted on 09/15/2010 7:37:30 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: markomalley

Mater Dolorosa - Sorrowing Mother
Rogier van der Weyden - Deposition (detail) -- c. 1435 (Oil on oak panel)
Museo del Prado, Madrid

Stabat Mater Dolorósa
Sequence Hymn


Stabat Mater dolorósa
iuxta crucem lacrimósa,
dum pendébat Fílius.

Cuius ánimam geméntem,
contristátam et doléntem
pertransívit gládius.

O quam tristis et afflícta
fuit illa benedícta,
mater Unigéniti!

Quæ mærébat et dolébat,
pia Mater, dum vidébat
Nati poenas íncliti.

Quis est homo qui non fleret,
Matrem Christi si vidéret
tanto supplício?
Quis non posset contristári,
piam Matrem contemplári
doléntem cum Fílio?

Pro peccátis suæ gentis
vidit lesum in torméntis,
et flagéllis súbditum.

Vidit suum dulcem Natum
moriéndo desolátum,
dum emísit spíritum.
Eia, Mater, fons amóris
me sentíre vim dolóris fac,
ut tecum lúgeam.
Fac ut árdeat cor meum
in amándo Christum Deum,
ut sibi compláceam.
Sancta Mater, istud agas,
Crucifíxi fige plagas
cordi meo válide.
Tui Nati vulneráti,
tam dignáti pro me pati,
poenas mecum divide.
Fac me tecum pie flere,
Crucifíxo condolére,
donec ego víxero.

Iuxta crucem tecum stare,
ac me tibi sociáre
in planctu desídero.
Virgo vírginum præclára,
mihi iam non sis amára,
fac me tecum plángere.
Fac ut portem Christi mortem,
passiónis fac me sortem,
et plagas recólere.
Fac me plagis vulnerári,
cruce hac inebriári,
et cruóre Filii.
Flammis urar succénsus,
per te, Virgo, sim defénsus
in die iudícii.
Fac me cruce custodíri,
morte Christi præmuníri,
confovéri grátia.
Quando corpus moriétur,
fac ut ánimæ donétur
Paradísi glória.


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 lenght the sword had passed.

Oh, how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother highly blessed,
of the sole-begotten One!

Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying, glorious Son.
Is there one who would not weep,
'whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ's dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother's pain untold?
Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
she beheld her tender Child
All with scourges rent.
For the sins of His own nation,
saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.
O sweet Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord.
Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ, my Lord.
Holy Mother! pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Savior crucified.
Let me share with thee His pain,
who for all our sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.
Let me mingle tears with thee,
mourning Him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live.
By the Cross with thee to stay,
there with thee to weep and pray,
is all I ask of thee to give.
Virgin of all virgins blest!,
Listen to my fond request:
let me share thy grief divine;
Let me, to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying Son of thine.
Wounded with His every wound,
steep my soul till it hath swooned,
in His very Blood away;
Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
lest in flames I burn and die,
in His awful Judgment Day.
Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
by Thy Mother my defense,
by Thy Cross my victory;
While my body here decays,
may my soul Thy goodness praise,
safe in paradise with Thee. Amen.

3 posted on 09/15/2010 8:05:56 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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