September 12 – Septenary in Honor of Our Lady of Sorrows
Every model is a teacher, imparting knowledge by way of action if not by word. The Mother of Sorrows impresses her lessons on the souls of Passionists who contemplate her standing beside the cross of Christ. We are to be citizens of Golgotha; we make our home on Calvary in the company of Mary and John, the beloved disciple, and the holy women who remained faithful to Jesus when all others abandoned him. Here we desire to learn the wisdom of the cross, from Mary who, as St Bernard says, “penetrated beyond all belief into the deepest abyss of divine wisdom.”
We hail Mary as the Seat of Wisdom, and the liturgy often applies to her texts from the wisdom books of the Old Testament. Mary, the Mother of Sorrows, is indeed an overflowing fountain of this wisdom who is Christ and him crucified. Passionists can learn this divine wisdom by listening in prayer to her instruction, by watching daily in meditation this Model whom God has given us on Calvary, and by following the ways of her example. Mary is the best teacher of the wisdom hidden in the wounds of Christ.
Pope St. Pius X taught: “No one has known Christ more intimately than Mary….No one is better able to be our guide and teacher in this knowledge of Christ than she….Through the Virgin and chiefly through her, a way has been opened for us to acquire the knowledge of Christ.” The wisdom of the cross cannot be grasped without the help of one who has gone before us on the path of truth. Mary can point the way, because she followed Christ on the first way of the cross, mingling her tears with his blood. Therefore, we must go to the Seat of Wisdom, to penetrate the darkness of Calvary and to learn the mystery of redemption.
This grace is very personal to Mary, flowing from within her very heart. This grace reproduces the mysteries of her life in souls, who thus become faithful copies of their Model. Few of our Lady’s mysteries were more personal to her than that of standing beside the cross in her communion of pain and sorrow with her Son. This compassion was a grace she could claim as her own by every right. This profound understanding of Jesus’ sentiments of mind and heart was so intimate and personal to his Mother that it can be said to flow from within her very Heart. When Mary dispenses graces like this to us, she is opening her Heart to us, revealing and sharing the inmost secrets of her Heart.
Mary has called our Congregation into existence to associate us with herself in this mystery which is so personal to her. She wants to reproduce it in our souls, to share with us her union of pain and sorrow with her Divine Son. We are to become one heart and soul with her in this.
Passionists need to contemplate the Passion. The grace by which we are given to appreciate the mystery of the cross and to know the surpassing love of Christ is one of the deepest secrets of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is undoubtedly one of her choicest graces. The vocation to receive a confidence so personal to her is a most solid reason for claiming Mary as our Queen by special right. This reproduction of her compassion in our hearts is the fulfillment of her role as the perfect Model for our contemplation of the Passion.