The Happy Priest Reflects on Good Friday and Mary at the Cross
Stood the Mother weeping: Through her pilgrimage of faith, she walked into the night of faith.
I differ with those who assume that the Blessed Mother stood at the Cross of Jesus in a stoic manner without expressing profound emotion. Years ago, many were the critics who disagreed with Franco Zeffirelli's depiction of an inconsolable Mary at the foot of the Cross in his celebrated film "Jesus of Nazareth." I concur with Zeffirelli.
The death of my maternal grandfather gave me my first glimpse into the suffering of a mother; in this case the suffering of my own mother. Her tears at her father's funeral helped me understand, although imperfectly, the suffering of a mother, the suffering of a woman. Only a woman who has lost a spouse, a parent, or a child can begin to really penetrate into the suffering of Mary at the foot of the Cross.
"Stabat mater dolorosa juxta Crucem lacrimosa dum pendebat Filius."
Sometimes people seem to have difficulty identifying with Mary's steadfast faith and fidelity. They have the impression that everything was very easy for Mary because she was conceived without Original Sin.
Not everything was clear for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Just as in any manifestation of the divine, each profound moment of light is followed by long and trying times of darkness. Yes, Mary was enveloped in the light of God's presence during the Annunciation. However, this brilliance of clarity was followed by the night of faith. She fulfilled her unconditional "yes" by embracing the many trials and difficulties of her journey towards eternity. The Passion of Jesus Christ was the greatest trial of them all. Mary's fidelity was heroic because her faith was heroic.
"When everything seemed absurd, she responded 'Amen' to what was so absurd and the absurdity disappeared. To the silence of God she answered, 'Let it be," and silence was transformed into presence. Instead of demanding a guarantee of veracity, Mary clung indefatigably to the will of God; she remained in peace, and doubt turned into sweetness" (Ignacio Larrañaga, The Silence of Mary, p. 92).
"Stabat mater dolorosa juxta Crucem lacrimosa dum pendebat Filius." The Mother standing at the foot of the Cross seems absurd and incomprehensible. How could the Father permit such suffering? "To believe is to trust. To believe is to let go. To believe, above all, is to adhere, to surrender. In a word, to believe is to love" (Ignacio Larrañaga, The Silence of Mary, p. 63).
It is precisely in difficult and challenging times that we must look to the witnesses of faith. Mary is the greatest of them all. Through her pilgrimage of faith, she walked into the night of faith. Not everything was clear for Mary, but she continued to trust and she continued to obey. She abandoned herself entirely into God's loving and providential care. Full understanding only came to her at Pentecost. It was there that she understood all the things that she had cherished in her heart.
"Stabat mater dolorosa juxta Crucem lacrimosa dum pendebat Filius." On this Good Friday let us turn to Mary, our Mother most Sorrowful. Let us allow her to embrace us with her love. Let us run to her and seek in her the maternal strength and consolation that we all need to walk through the things in our lives that seem absurd and incomprehensible. Let us find in Mary the help that we need to journey toward the eternal Easter without becoming discouraged or tired.
As we journey through the difficulties of life, let us turn to Mary and pray a beautiful prayer that has provided consolation and strength to millions of Catholics throughout the centuries: "Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!"
Visit Father James Farfaglia, the Happy Priest, on the web and sign up to be notified when his new book is released. Click here for the audio podcast of this homily which will be posted on Good Friday evening.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports: That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Lent / Easter News
- 4th Sorrowful Mystery: The Carrying of the Cross
- 3rd Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns
- Good Friday Reflection on the Nature of Sin
- Lent is almost over, but have YOU kept this Commandment?
- 5th Sorrowful Mystery: The Crucifixion
- Holy Thursday: Take Up the Basin and Towel. Love is a Verb.
- Holy Thursday: He Loves to the End
- 2nd Sorrowful Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar
- The Precious and Life-Giving Cross of Christ
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?
More Easter / Lent
'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead' - Luke 24:46
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption. continue reading
Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four canonical Gospels. (Mark 11:1.11, Matthew 21:1.11, Luke 19:28.44, and John 12:12.19) ... continue reading
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by crowds worshiping him and laying down palm leaves before him. It also marks the beginning of Holy Week... continue reading
HOLY THURSDAY is the most complex and profound of all religious observances. It celebrates his last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover ... continue reading
On Good Friday, each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Holy Week we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord ... continue reading
Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter. It is the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year ... continue reading
For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the United States as elsewhere. Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed (Lk. 5:35). continue reading
Everything answered from when does lent end, ashes, giving something up, stations of the cross and blessed palms. The key to understanding the meaning of Lent is simple: Baptism... continue reading
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. First Station: Jesus is condemned to death... pray the stations now
What did you give up for Lent?
From the humorous to the bizarre, people have had interesting Lenten experiences. Tell us about what you are going to give up for this Lenten Year.
What others gave up »
Jennifer Hartline - Catholic Online, 4/18/2014
This Sorrowful pilgrimage now brings me here to this lonely hill. All the agony, the beatings and the bleeding have led me somewhere I do not want to go; somewhere I resist going with all my ...Continue Reading
Jennifer Hartline - Catholic Online, 4/18/2014
I wonder if perhaps it was tempting for Jesus to just lie down on the dirt road and die right there. Completely sapped of strength and in agonizing pain, I wonder if He was tempted by the ...Continue Reading
Jennifer Hartline - Catholic Online, 4/18/2014
Humiliation, in one form or another, is part of the package. It is only avoidable if we decide to deny Christ. WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - 3rd Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning ...Continue Reading
Michael Terheyden - Catholic Online, 4/18/2014
The Passion of Christ represents the most atrocious miscarriage of justice in all of human history. So when we come face to face with the crucified Christ on Good Friday, it is only natural for us to ...Continue Reading
On Good Friday, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption.
In the symbol of the Cross we can see the magnitude of the human tragedy, the ravages of original sin, and the infinite love of God. Learn More
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.
The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. Learn More
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion.
ACT OF CONTRITION. O my God, my Redeemer, behold me here at Thy feet. From the bottom of my heart... Pray the Stations
'Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed' Lk. 5:35
Abstinence. The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted.
Fasting. The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday (Canon 97) to the 59th Birthday (i.e. the beginning of the 60th year, a year which will be completed on the 60th birthday) to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal.
Learn More »
Quite a surprise!
Authorities find caged tiger in Mexican home
South Sudan woes
World's newest nation faces mass starvation
ISIS begins persectuion of Iraqi christians
Speaks out at the Napa Institute Conference
New American with Ebolal
Both Americans in stable but serious condition
Vaccine with a bang
Vaccine for Japanese encephalitis to debut by 2015
Given the sword
Graphic photos of ongoing persecution by ISIS
Bishops say Obama's order discriminates
A lump of coal
Coal companies driven to bankrutpcy
Brain fever rages on
Epidemic in India growing in impoverished areas
Kerry hotly criticized
Israel finds much fault with Secretary of State
Pope pops into Vatican cafeteria to meet workers
Taking it easy
President Obama lackadasical lately in office
Poor grow poorer
More than a third of households doing a third less
Spanish father dances flamenco during services