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제목 The Road to The Cross - Our Lady of Compassion(2015-03-31)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2015-04-03

 


Our Lady of Compassion(31th March 2015)



My dear Brethren,
One of the best ways to pray the Holy Week, to meditate on the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, is to accompany Our Lady. No one has accompanied our Lord Jesus Christ as deeply as the Blessed Virgin Mary did; no one has participated more fully in the Passion of Our Lord. Hence the Church celebrates on the Friday before Palm Sunday, one week before Good Friday, the feast of our Lady of Compassion.

Let us recall the events. Our Lady was not in the Cenacle, since there were only the Twelve at table with Our Lord as the Gospel recalls (Mt. 26:20, Mk. 14:17, Lk. 22:14), Judas left before the end of the meal; then Jesus went with the Eleven to the Garden of Olives. There, Our Lord was arrested, and the Gospel says: “Then the disciples all leaving him, fled” (Mt. 26:56). Where did they go? St Peter tried to follow Jesus from afar; St John most likely did the same because he mentioned that he “was known to the high priest” and entered into the High Priest’ court and let St Peter in after him(Jn. 18:15-16). Bishop Fulton Sheen suggested that the “Zebedee Fishing Company” might have been a known provider for the high priest’s cooks! Then the next place we see St John is at the foot of the Cross with Our Lady.

So we can guess that after the condemnation of Jesus by the high priests, St John went to let Our Lady know what was going on. Far from running away, Our Lady must have told him and the holy women that certainly were with her: “Let us go to be with Him!” Then, the Blessed Virgin, St John and the holy women went all together to the tribunal of Pilate. St John recalls in great detail this trial: he was an eye witness. Our Lady saw at last our Lord Jesus Christ, when Pilate showed him to the crowds: “Behold the man!” What must have she felt at seeing him crowned with thorns! She certainly noticed the blow on his cheek, and the spittle of the soldiers which manifested the ordeal He had gone through. She could see the heightened hatred of the Pharisees. How did our Lady feel when she heard the horrible shouts: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” These shouts were like swords piercing her heart!

Our Lady then witnessed the cowardice of Pilate, washing his hands, and Our Lord being loaded with the heavy Cross. She directed her little group to go and meet him on the way. There is still in Jerusalem a spot on the way to Calvary called the “fainting of Our Lady”: she saw the cross coming closer to her above the crowds: at last she will see her Jesus from close, but suddenly the Cross disappeared: He had fallen! Then she saw him from close, and was overwhelmed with sorrows. But far from running away, she exhorted her friends to go on and follow him to the last, and was the first at the foot of the Cross as St John recalls.

When they arrived close to the cross, they saw that He had been stripped of all his garments, and they could see the extent of the flagellation, the whole body had been lacerated by the leather whips and was but a huge sore, as Isaias had prophesised: “From the sole of the foot unto the top of the head, there is no soundness therein: wounds and bruises and swelling sores: they are not bound up, nor dressed, nor fomented with oil” (Is. 1:6). They could see the nails, and how His holy body was hanging on these nails, and how each effort to breathe was painful.

Now that was not the first time that Our Lord was making Our Lady suffer: it happened earlier, when at 12 years of age our Lord Jesus Christ parted company with his Mother and St Joseph: they lost him and for three days were searching for him in deep sorrow. When they found Him in the temple, the Blessed Virgin said to her Son: “Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing” (Lk. 2:48). Now if a son is condemned as a criminal to death, would not a mother feel the shame on the family and say to him: “why hast thou done so to us?” But Our Lady does not ask Our Lord a second time that question; she knows He is perfectly innocent; and she knows that He would give the same answer: “I must be about my father's business!” (Lk. 2:49)

There He is, hanging on the Cross, “dedicated to His Passion” as the hymn on Good Friday says, dedicated to His Father’s business: and His Father’s will is that He saves the world by His Sacrifice on the Cross! Indeed, as St Ignatius says, Christ WANTS TO SUFFER, because He wants to save us: and this is the Commandment that He received from His Father, that He should lay down His life for us: “No man taketh [my life] away from me: but I lay it down of myself, and I have power to lay it down: and I have power to take it up again. This commandment have I received of my Father” (Jn. 10:18). And He was obedient to this commandment of His Father, “obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8).

St Augustine beautifully says that Christ did not pay so much attention to the fact that He was suffering BY THEM, by the Pharisees, by the Romans, by us, but He paid attention to the fact that He was suffering FOR THEM, for the conversion of the Romans, of all of us, and even of the Pharisees. This was the purpose for which He came down from Heaven, “The Son of man came not to destroy souls, but to save!” (Lk. 9:56). This was “His hour” (Jn. 12:27), the summit of the whole history of mankind and of the whole world: the moment of the offering of the supreme Sacrifice of adoration, thanksgiving, reparation and impetration, the moment of the Redemption of souls, the supreme victory of good over evil, the Son of God not rendering evil for our sins, but paying Himself for them and meriting all the graces that He would grant to souls.

This was His Father’s business: “did you not know, that I must be about my father's business?” (Lk. 2:49). She had not forgotten that; she had meditated on this answer for a long time; now she knew: here He was, fulfilling perfectly the Father’s Will, accomplishing His Father’s business in a perfect way, redeeming the world! Our Lady certainly understood this mystery of Redemption, and fully agreed, accepted this tremendous suffering for her too. She did so better than Abraham whose arm God stopped at the last minute: but at Calvary there would be no angel who would stop this Sacrifice, because here was the perfect Lamb of God, the one who takes away the sins of the world! And that Lamb had to be immolated for our salvation.

My dear brethren, let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to help us to understand that great mystery of salvation, of our redemption, and not only to understand it but also to enter deeply into it as She did. We enter into that mystery when we die to ourselves, when “we die to sin in order to live unto God” (Rom 6:11), when we become one victim with Jesus in order to be raised again with Him: we are “heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him” (Rom. 8:17). Let us ask her “to feel as she has felt” as we say in the Stabat Mater.

My dear brethren, we must never forget this most important moment of human history: that the Son of God died on the Cross for our salvation! And that He rose again the third day. This is how much He cares for us; this is how “dear” we are to His heart: “you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:20). “You were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver, from your vain conversation of the tradition of your fathers: But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled” (1 Pet. 1:18-19).

If we would keep the Cross of our Lord always in front of our eyes, the eyes of our mind, then we would not sin. How could we dare to offend such a good God, who loved us to the point of paying for our sins? How could we dare to add to His sufferings? The neglect of such great grace is the cause of the all desolations, as Jeremiah says: “With desolation is all the land made desolate; because there is none that considereth in the heart” (Jer 12:11).

The importance of the Cross is the deep reason for the importance of the Mass. The holy Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on His Cross was the very summit of the whole human history, of the whole of Creation: it returns to God, to the Holy Trinity, through the perfect Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Sacrifice of the Cross – which is offered at every Mass. Hence one sees how important each Mass is; even a low Mass without all the beautiful ceremonies of a solemn high Mass, is truly and substantially one with the Sacrifice of the Cross: it gives infinite glory to the Holy Trinity and applies to our souls all the merits of the Sacrifice of the Cross; it unites us with Jesus crucified in order to unite us with Him glorified in the next world.

 One sees therefore very clearly the harm done to the Church when the sacrificial character of the Mass is hidden, is neglected, and sometimes even denied. All the changes in the Liturgy have diminished the manifestation of the Sacrifice: they make the Mass appear as a meal, a community meal and no longer as the holiest Sacrifice of expiation, of propitiation, of adoration and thanksgiving. Then the souls no longer receive grace in abundance, because the source has been hidden. The devil knew what to attack when he attacked the Mass: he knew that he had been defeated by the Cross; he cannot stand the Sacrifice of the Cross; he is the arch-“enemy of the Cross of Jesus” (Phil. 3:18). One sees in the changes of the Mass his signature.

Let us pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to Our Lady of Compassion, that she may give us the deep understanding and devotion to the holy Sacrifice of the Cross, to the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ! Let us ask her for a great love, always greater, for Jesus crucified, that we be really “friends of the Cross” as St. Louis Marie Grignon the Montfort says, true friend of Jesus!    Amen. 


  Fr. Laisney (sspxasia)