On this vigil of our principal Marian feast, the feast of Our Mother of Sorrows, we will consider Mary as the directress of the mission of the Passionist Congregation.
The Mariological principle of consortium cannot be overemphasized. St. Albert the Great wrote:
The Blessed Virgin was drawn by Our Lord not into ministry, but into consortium as a helpmate. Her role is not vicarious. She is a co-worker and companion, a sharer in the kingdom as she was sharer in the sufferings for the human race….
Here on Calvary we have the principle of consortium at its climax. Towards this all the events in the lives of Jesus and Mary have led. Mary’s association with her Son in all his mysteries was directed to this supreme communion of pain and sorrow.
In consequence of this union with Christ in the Passion, Mary in heaven is forever associated with her Son as the principal dispenser of His grace. It is from her queenly throne that she directs the distribution of grace. The saints and doctors of Mariology insist that ‘every grace is communicated to the world in three steps: for it is dispensed in the most orderly fashion from God to Christ, from Christ to the Virgin, and from the Virgin to us.’ St. Bernadine taught that ‘all the gifts, all the virtues and all the graces of the Holy Spirit are distributed through her hands, to whom she wills, when she wills, as she wills, and as much as she wills.’
Every apostolate therefore must be exercised within this framework. The rebirth, sanctification and salvation of every soul is under the direction of Mary, Mother of Divine Grace. From the heart of the beatific vision she sees each of her children, and seeing their needs, provides for them. She watches over and protects the faith of the Church. St. Germaine once wrote this prayer to Mary: “Hail, fountain from which flow the rivers of divine wisdom in waves of the purest and clearest orthodoxy, and dispel the current of error.”
When the Mother of Sorrows came to Paul Daneo to ask him to found the Congregation, she was calling a new religious institute into being, a group of consecrated souls with whom she would share her choicest graces. This new institute was to make a life work of contemplating and preaching the sufferings of her Son.
Mary wanted our Congregation to be a channel of grace for dispensing the riches her Son and she had won on Calvary. It was really a co-redemptive work that Mary had in mind; co-redemptive in the sense of carrying out the work of redemption. Mary had stood by the cross of Jesus, co-redeeming in spiritual maternity, and she wants us to help her in this work. Mary is Queen of Apostles in every age, but she performs her work especially in and through those closest to her. Looking constantly to her for direction, we will be more docile instruments in her hands.
What words can express the sentiments that fill our hearts, seeing Mary’s predilection for our Passionist Congregation? Tonight we end these reflections with words from our Consecration to her Immaculate Heart:
“With most lively gratitude, O Mary, we thank you for so many benefits; particularly for having called us to form part of this Institute. In order that we may better correspond to our vocation and grow in your love and more effectively obtain your powerful aid amid present threatening necessities and perils, we confide and consecrate to your Immaculate Heart ourselves, our houses, our ministry and our sufferings. Deign to regard us henceforth as your property. Dispose of us and of all that belongs to us as you please, according to the desires of your Divine Son, Jesus…
I wish each of you abundant feastday graces and blessings as we celebrate tomorrow the feast of the Mother of our Passionist Congregation—Mary, Our Mother of Sorrows.