With today being the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, in both the East and West, I found it fitting to provide you with the previous “Mondays with Mary” that I have written regarding Mary at the Foot of the Cross, her suffering at the Cross, and her role as Our Lady of Sorrows, which is celebrated by the Latin Church on September 15. However, before we get to the previous posts, I want to share with you the words from Pope Benedict XVI. This is from his Angelus following the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows on September 17, 2006.
“Now, before the Marian prayer, I would like to reflect on two recent and important liturgical events: the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, celebrated on 14 September, and the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, celebrated the following day.
These two liturgical celebrations can be summed up visually in the traditional image of the Crucifixion, which portrays the Virgin Mary at the foot of the Cross, according to the description of the Evangelist John, the only one of the Apostles who stayed by the dying Jesus.
But what does exalting the Cross mean? Is it not maybe scandalous to venerate a shameful form of execution? The Apostle Paul says: “We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (I Cor 1: 23). Christians, however, do not exalt just any cross but the Cross which Jesus sanctified with his sacrifice, the fruit and testimony of immense love. Christ on the Cross pours out his Blood to set humanity free from the slavery of sin and death.
Therefore, from being a sign of malediction, the Cross was transformed into a sign of blessing, from a symbol of death into a symbol par excellence of the Love that overcomes hatred and violence and generates immortal life. “O Crux, ave spes unica! O Cross, our only hope!”. Thus sings the liturgy.
The Evangelist recounts: Mary was standing by the Cross (cf. Jn 19: 25-27). Her sorrow is united with that of her Son. It is a sorrow full of faith and love. The Virgin on Calvary participates in the saving power of the suffering of Christ, joining her “fiat”, her “yes”, to that of her Son.
Dear brothers and sisters, spiritually united to Our Lady of Sorrows, let us also renew our “yes” to God who chose the Way of the Cross in order to save us. This is a great mystery which continues and will continue to take place until the end of the world, and which also asks for our collaboration.
May Mary help us to take up our cross every day and follow Jesus faithfully on the path of obedience, sacrifice and love.”
Now that we have read the beautiful words from Papa Benedict, let us turn towards some of my previous blog posts –
Today, as we remember the suffering Our Lord endured on the Cross, let us also be reminded of the pain and anguish the Blessed Virgin Mary also endured, and pray that we can embrace our own suffering that comes from carrying our daily crosses as followers of Jesus Christ.
In case you haven’t heard, my first book was published last week – Understanding Catholic Teaching on the Blessed Virgin Mary. I hope you can purchase it and share with others.