September 13 – Septenary in Honor of Our Lady of Sorrows
Having considered Our Mother of Sorrows as the overflowing fountain of the wisdom who is Christ crucified, and also having considered her as the perfect Model for our contemplation of his Passion, let us this evening reflect on the manner by which she dispenses these graces to our souls and how she exercises her influence upon us.
Mary’s instrumentality in grace is totally maternal, for she forms us to her likeness as a mother does. The reproduction of her compassion for Jesus in our hearts is imparted to Passionists who learn to hide themselves within the heart-womb of this Mother of Sorrows. In treating of Mary’s part in the Passion of her Son, St. Albert the Great wrote: ‘She received in her heart the wounds that he received in his body.’ And so we ask Mary in our Consecration to ‘Hide us in your heart.’ Why? The answer lies in the further plea: ‘Make our hearts like yours.’ In the Heart of Mary pierced and wounded by the sufferings of Christ, our hearts will be in line for a similar grace. Her Heart is, as it were, a mold in which our hearts can be formed to her likeness.
Assuredly there is no question here of an actual presence in the Heart of Mary. These are bold symbols and the language of desire. But they are founded on the sound psychology of St. Thomas. If Mary’s causality in grace is maternal, it is because of her incomparable motherly love, of which her Heart is the best symbol. In God’s providence, this love of Mary holds within its power the determination and distribution of all graces to our souls. We beg entrance within the shelter of her love, that by the power of her intercession, she might mold our hearts to the image of her own. Hiding thus within her Heart, we admire the peerless example of our Model in her consortium with Christ. We ask of her: ‘Impress the wounds of Jesus and your own sufferings upon our hearts.’ This grace is actually that “fellowship in Christ’s sufferings”that St Paul longed for so ardently. It is that association in the Sacred Passion that the Stabat Mater sings about:O thou Mother, fount of love, Touch my spirit from above, Make my heart with thine accord. Make me feel as thou has felt, Make my soul to glow and melt With the love of Christ my Lord.
Mary’s intercession with God is charged with divine power, acting upon us in an efficacious way to produce supernatural effects in our souls. Wisely therefore, do we Passionists seek refuge in Mary’s love symbolized by her Heart. There, as a child in the womb of its mother, we are formed to the likeness of our Mother and Model. “Make our hearts like yours. Make us love prayer, solitude, and poverty. And above all, impress the wounds of Jesus and your sorrows on our hearts so that by word and example we may be able to reawaken in our Christian people the devout remembrance of them.”
According to our Holy Founder, devotion to the Passion of Jesus and devotion to the Sorrows of Mary go hand in hand. To his own meditation on the sufferings of Christ, Paul was accustomed to join the consideration of the Sorrows of His Mother. He begged for a share in her spirit of compassion, and exhorted others to think constantly on the Passion of Jesus and on her own sharp and unfathomable griefs. “Allow yourself to be penetrated by the sufferings of Jesus and the sorrows of Mary,”he advised. Paul looked upon the Mother’s sorrows as the atmosphere in which to contemplate the suffering of Jesus. During this Septenary, let us pray for the grace to contemplate the Passion through the eyes of Mary and within her Heart.