“Mondays with Mary” – The Blessed Sorrowful Mother at the Cross through the words of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

For this week, I want to suspend my Mary in the Old Testament series I have been writing on over the past few weeks in order to provide you with two important reflections on Mary and her connection with Christ at the Cross. I am doing this since I don’t think I will get another chance before Lent ends since I am focusing on the aforementioned series. Next week, we will return to that series and focus on Marian symbols.

I have written on this week’s topic numerous times before over the years, most especially during the Season of Lent, when we focus on our own sufferings, crosses, and penitential offerings. Today’s two reflections come from the great mind of the 20th century United States Archbishop –  Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. These two excerpts are from a book compiled by Henry Dieterich, titled, Through the Year with Fulton Sheen.

I hope that you enjoy them and will reflect on them this week and in the weeks to come as we approach the High Holy Days of Lent, otherwise known a the Triduum.

The first reflection is titled – Mary and Christ’s Suffering

“Mary’s participation in Christ’s suffering began with the annunciation, when she was asked to give God a human body, more properly, a human nature. In other words, will you make God capable of suffering? God though he was, he learned obedience in the school of suffering. God could know experimentally what suffering was only by taking a body. So the Blessed Mother is asked, ‘Will you make it possible for your creator to suffer?’ Think of a mother, for example, who give to a young son or daughter an automobile at the age of nineteen, which a short time afterwards is the cause of a wreck and permanent injury. Would the mother ever forgive herself? And here Mary has to say yes, I will let him suffer.”

Our Lady of Sorrows by Carlo Dolci

The second reflection is titled – Mary and John

“On the cross we no longer have Christ and his mother, or Jesus and Mary. I know we speak of the sorrowful mother at the foot of the cross, but I don’t think she was sorrowful, I think she was suffering. I cannot imagine the mother of the Maccabees as being sorrowful when she sent her seven sons to death. There must have been a certain joy in the mother’s heart as she gives her son. But there’s something different here. At this moment on the cross we no longer have Jesus and Mary. We have the new Adam and the new Eve. Our Lord on the cross is the new Adam, the Blessed Mother at the foot of the cross is the new Eve. And we’re going to have the consummation of a marriage, and out of the consummated marriage of the new Adam and new Eve is going to begin the new church of which John will be the symbol. And so the new Adam looking down to the woman, says: ‘Woman, your son.’ And to the son, he did not say ‘John’ (he would have then been only the son of Zebedee), but ‘Son, your mother.’ Here is the beginning of a new life. The Blessed Mother becomes the symbol of the church. And as Eve was the mother of the living, so Mary becomes the mother of the new living in the order of grace.”

To read more about this topic, I would suggest reading my other articles –

“Mondays with Mary” – The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ and Mary at the Foot of the Cross  

“Mondays with Mary” – Mary, Our Guide Through Lent

“Mondays with Mary” – The Method of Praying the Rosary of the Mater Dolorosa 

“Mondays with Mary” – The Suffering of Mother Mary 

“Mondays with Mary” – Pope St. John Paul II on the Suffering of Mary 

O Blessed Mother, Sorrowful and Suffering…Pray for Us.

“Mondays with Mary” – The Suffering of Mother Mary

We live in a world and in a culture that seems to want to live forever, and never ever talk about suffering or death. But for the Christian, these are two ideas we must embrace for Christ himself told us to pick up our cross and follow him. If you don’t know already, picking up crosses, carrying crosses, is hard work, work that endures pain and suffering. However, if we suffer with Christ, then we will rise with Christ as well. Nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus say – if you follow me, life will be a bed of roses. It’s just not the case. Although there is great joy and hope in being a Christian and following Christ, we must also know that pain, suffering, and eventual death awaits us.

I often think to myself that people on social media, specifically Facebook, seem to be doing so well all the time. It seems most of the time you see people getting engaged, getting married, or having babies. However, if you look more closely and you follow your Facebook “friends” more closely, you realize that there is a lot of suffering that happens in the lives of these friends. In the past three days I have learned about some friends losing a parent, which is not easy let me tell you, as well as friends learning that their young child has cancer.

It is in these times where we must trust in our Lord Jesus Christ that all will be in according to the divine economy of God. It is in these times when we must trust, when we must hope, and when we must look to the Blessed Virgin Mary. If there is one woman, one mother, who suffered more for her child, it is Mary of Nazareth. She endured much pain and suffering being the Mother of Jesus Christ, and I am not only talking about watching him be crucified on Calvary.

Our Lady of Sorrows by Carlo Dolci

Our Lady of Sorrows by Carlo Dolci

Bearing Mary’s suffering, for today’s “Mondays with Mary”; I draw upon the words of Mother Angelica as she explains what Mary endured as the Mother of God. If you know someone who is struggling right now to understand suffering, or you know someone that is suffering some type of pain, you might want to share this post with them, since Mother’s word’s bring great peace and consolation. The great Poor Clare says,

“Look at Our Lady, that magnificent woman. Is there anyone you ever heard of who suffered as much as she has? Having to run from a tyrant, having your Child born in a stable, finally presenting that Child in the temple and having the High Priest say, ‘This Child is destined for the fall and rise of many’ (Luke 2:24). Whew, what mother would love to hear that? Losing Him for three days, finding Him for so many years, and then seeing Him humiliated by those who should have known Him and accepted Him and loved Him – seeing Him ostracized by His own. Finally, seeing His apostles run in fear, betray Him, and deny Him, and then to watch Him die on a cross. What woman suffered as much as she did? Who dares call pain evil?

Our Sweet Mother went through the darkness in the valley of the shadow of death over and over as an example for you and me. That’s the kind of faith the Lord expects of us, that kind of total abandonment.

Our Lady suffered with her Son. You’ve got to suffer with her Son too, and so do I. Jesus says, ‘Take up your cross upon yourself, and I will help you with it. Learn from Me.’ We don’t often think of God trusting us. When we have crosses and more crosses on top of them, He is trusting us. If you accept them obediently and go forward with His help, your soul is being purified bit by bit and becomes beautiful before the Lord.”

To read more about the Suffering Mother, I would suggest you check out a recent “Mondays with Mary” I wrote back in March, titled, Jesus, Mary, and the Cross. In this post, it has other blog posts that speak about the suffering Our Lady endured as the Mother of Jesus Christ.

Our Lady of Sorrows…Pray for Us.

Mother Angelica…Pray for Us.

“Mondays with Mary” – Jesus, Mary, and the Cross

In his book written with Adrienne Von Speyr, To the Heart of the Mystery of Redemption, the great Swiss theologian, Hans Urs Von Balthasar, says the following in relation to Mary and the Cross of Christ,

“If Christ, in Luke, commands us to carry our cross every day, he implies very precisely that this dull, ordinary cross consists in perseverance at every moment in the Marian Yes, which transforms everyday mishaps as much as possible into situations that are fruitful in Christian terms…It is always Christ who gives a share in his Cross, but the form of this participation always remains ecclesial and, thus, Marian, in priests and religious no less than in the ordinary faithful…”

“If it is true that the grace of Mary’s preredemption derives from the Cross and that Mary has, in a certain sense, collaborated in the Cross through her Yes, it is nevertheless absolutely impossible for Mary to have collaborated in her own redemption. The Marian and ecclesial Yes is always response, consent, never the first action…Likewise, the Yes of Mary, even if it was prior to the Incarnation, was a response subsequent to a divine word, which in itself contained the entire redemption plan, including the Cross, and all that it encompassed.”

Now that we have entered Holy Week, I wanted today’s “Mondays with Mary” to focus on the important relationship between, Jesus and Mary, as Our Lord along with his Mother, makes his way to cross at Calvary. If you remember, the walk to the Calvary began with the first miracle of Jesus at the Wedding Feast of Cana. Just as Mary is present there; so too is she present at the foot of the Cross.

Crucifixion of Jesus Christ

Since I have written on this topic in past, that is Mary’s role in the Cross of Christ, I want to share with your 5 blog posts that will help you understand a little more how important the Blessed Mother is in the redemption, passion, and death of Jesus Christ –

“Mondays with Mary” – Six Words of Pope John Paul II on Mary at the Cross

“Mondays with Mary” – The Encounter of Jesus with His Blessed Mother as He Carries the Cross

“Mondays with Mary” – The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ and Mary at the Foot of the Cross

“Mondays with Mary”: The Descent from the Cross, and Jesus in the Arms of His Most Blessed Mother

“Mondays with Mary” – Mary Under the Cross

Our Lady of Sorrows…Pray For Us.

“Mondays with Mary” – Mary Under the Cross

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.”

The Crucifixion - Matthias Grünewald

The Crucifixion – Matthias Grünewald

Now that we have read the beautiful words from Papa Benedict, let us turn towards some of my previous blog posts –

“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Sorrows

“Mondays with Mary” – Blessed John Paul II on the Suffering of Mary

“Mondays with Mary” – 7 Quotes by Pope St. John Paul II on Our Lady of Sorrows

“Mondays with Mary” – Six Words of Pope John Paul II on Mary at the Cross

“Mondays with Mary” – The Method of Praying the Rosary of the Mater Dolorosa

“Mondays with Mary” – The Encounter of Jesus with His Blessed Mother as He Carries the Cross

“Mondays with Mary” – The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ and Mary at the Foot of the Cross

“Mondays with Mary” – The Descent from the Cross, and Jesus in the Arms of His Most Blessed Mother

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.