Gospel John 19:25-27
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
“Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother…” Can you imagine the deep sorrow Mother Mary felt as she looked up at the torn flesh and bruised and beaten face of her innocent Son, the Son of God? The executioners, the Jewish elders, the crowd left Him there to die, but not alone. His mother would not leave Him to die alone.
St. Jerome said, “Every torture inflicted on the body of Jesus, was a wound in the heart of His Mother.” St. John Chrysostom said, “Anyone who had been present then on Mount Calvary, would have seen two altars on which two great sacrifices were being offered: the one in the body of Jesus – the other in the heart of Mary.”
The Catholic Church shows the close connection between the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. These two celebrations are one day after the other showing that the Passion of Christ and His Mother’s interior martyrdom cannot be separated. Just like Mother Mary could not separate herself from the foot of her Son’s cross. Our Mother Mary’s compassion has been meditated on as early as the fifth century and her sorrows since the fourteenth century. The first devotions to Mary’s sorrows began with five sorrows but then became a devotion of seven sorrows and are all Scripturally supported.
1. The prophesy of Simeon (Luke 2: 34-25)
2. The flight into Egypt (Mt. 2:13-21)
3. The loss of Jesus for Three Days (Luke 2:41-50)
4. The ascent to Calvary (John 19: 17)
5. The crucifixion and death of Jesus (John 19:18-30)
6. Jesus taken down from the cross (John 19: 39-40)
7. Jesus laid in the tomb (John 19: 39-42)
Mary was an example of how her sacrifice and patience could endure evil and prove her deep love for her Son.
“Eternal Father look upon the Face of Christ, and for the love of Him have mercy on your priests.” This is the beginning of our PAPA Prayer for Priests. We end our prayer by asking three times, “O Mary, Queen of the Apostles. Make you priests holy.”
Jesus built His church on an apostolic foundation and His Mother watches over it.
Let us pray for all Priests to have the virtues of zeal and holiness in their ministry.
God bless you all!