Fifth Week of Lent: Friday
Feast of the Dolours of our Blessed Lady
1st Prelude. Imagine you see Our Blessed Lady standing at the foot of the cross.
2nd Prelude. Ask the grace of tender compassion towards our dearest Mother in her bitter sorrow, and to understand how much, in what manner, and wherefore she suffered.
POINT I. How much she suffers.
CONSIDERATION. Let us enter into the spirit of the Church this day, and fix, as She does, our thoughts exclusively upon our Lady's sufferings; she suffers on our account and for us. To understand in some measure how much she suffers, we must conceive the idea of a mother, the tenderest of mothers, who loves nothing so much as her son, her only son; this Son, the greatest of the children of men, she is forced to see die in the prime of His days, by no natural death, but by the hand of the executioner, surrounded by an angry mob, nailed living on a cross, after having been covered with wounds from head to foot, crowned with thorns; to behold Him struggling with death for three long hours, without being able in the least to assuage His agony! Did ever mother suffer such a martyrdom? But what passes our comprehension is, that we may truly say that she endured this martyrdom for thirty-three years, knowing, to the smallest particular, all that awaited her from the hour of Simeon's prophecy. Well does the Church style her Queen of Martyrs, and apply to her the words of the Psalmist, "My life is wasted with grief, and my years in sighs."
APPLICATION. Let us think of this when thus gazing on the picture of our Lady at the foot of the cross, and we shall find our hearts filled with love, compassion, and childlike devotion; we shall account our sufferings but trifles, and gain courage to bear or surmount them.
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT 2. In what manner she suffers.
CONSIDERATION. How did our Lady endure so many and so great sufferings? 1st, with perfect resignation and without a word of complaint; 2ndly, with admirable conformity to all the designs of Almighty God in the cruel and ignominious death of her Son; 3rdly, with generosity apparently impossible in a mother; 4thly, with constancy beyond heroism, standing beneath the cross till Jesus breathed His last sigh; lastly, with invincible sweetness and charity, joining her Divine Son in praying for His murderers.
APPLICATION. Mary is here the Queen and pattern of martyrs; see how far you are conformed to her example in the slight sufferings you endure.
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT III. Wherefore she suffers.
CONSIDERATION. Wherefore did God will that Our Lady's whole life should be passed in suffering, who had nothing to expiate like the rest of mankind? The Fathers of the Church reply that, to merit the title of Queen of Saints, she was obliged to surpass them all in her resemblance to her Son, so pre-eminently the Man of Sorrows; in love to God, which is proved by suffering for Him; in merit, which is gained also by suffering; and in sacrifice, for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls.
APPLICATION. If God, wishing to bestow a mark of His peculiar love upon our Lady, could not find anything more precious than the cross, ought we to consider ourselves miserable when He gives us a share in it also, even should He decree that we carry it to the end? If so, He only treats us as He did her whom He loved best; let that thought console us, and let us carry our cross willingly after our dearest Mother.
COLLOQUY with our Blessed Lady.