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The Happy Priest: Good Friday and the Sufferings of Mary

The Mother of the Lord was there

The Mother standing at the foot of the Cross seems absurd and incomprehensible.  How could the Father permit such suffering?Stabat mater dolorosa juxta Crucem lacrimosa dum pendebat Filius."  "At the Cross her station keeping, stood the mournful Mother weeping, close to her Son to the last."


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - "Stabat mater dolorosa juxta Crucem lacrimosa dum pendebat Filius."  "At the Cross her station keeping, stood the mournful Mother weeping, close to her Son to the last."

This 13th century Catholic hymn, sung between the Stations of the Cross and as the Sequence for the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, expresses the sentiments of the saddest moment in the history of salvation.  "Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother." (John 19: 25). 

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."

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.
 
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Father James Farfaglia is the Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, TX.  Visit him on the web to learn more about his books, homilies and audio podcasts.

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Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.

Keywords: Holy Week, Sacred Triduum, Father James Farfaglia, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter, Easter Sunday



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1 - 5 of 5 Comments

  1. Martha
    2 years ago

    My son was only two when we had to endure 4 root canals. I had searched desperately for a dentist that would let me stay in the room. This one said they would, only to have me wait just outside. No tears, no trauma....except in my heart. I was absolutely beside myself....thinking he would never trust his mama again. I have to say, it sounds like nothing, but in those hours my heart was united with Mary's! I prayed the rosary over and over, acknowledging that OF COURSE Jesus's pain was so much more....praying that this would be the worst for him for his lifetime. I know this whole post sounds silly....but a mama that loves her baby boy can really tap into Mary. She was also the one I instanteously prayed to when my father went into arithemia...."Mother Mary please hold my Dad!". On my knees instantly (without really thinking) in view of my protestant brother. She really is our Mother!! Thank you Mother Mary for your love!! Thank you God for letting me know a mother's love. I love my kids here and the one in heaven (Angela xoxo)!! Happy Easter Everyone!

  2. Diane
    2 years ago

    Simeons prophecy was that a sword would pierce the heart of the Blessed Mother and the thoughts of many would be laid bare. I think this is the gift of reading hearts which by His nature belongs to God. I believe she was given that gift at Calvary by His grace, and like her divine Son was able to see even our hearts at that moment on Calvary. I believe the Blessed Mothers tears were mostly for many of us. She saw those who would reject the saving act of His sacrifice and wept for their loss. She also saw those of us who would accept it and was consoled. We are saved by the Blood of Jesus Christ and with it her tears which are mingled with it. She shows us the Glory and Grace of God which rolled forth from Heaven at His death. Take the Sorrowful Mother into you heart in order to spend the rest of your life making up for every tear you caused her on Calvary and she will reveal all this to you. You will be given the Grace by her to always choose the Crucified Christ.

  3. Bill Sr.
    2 years ago

    By all means, Who Suffered with Jesus
    Have you ever thought how you might have felt if you had to watch the Crucifixion knowing Jesus was YOUR son? Try to think about that for a few minutes. We normally only consider the spectacle from the stand point God the Father, who no one witnessing the brutality seemed to be giving a thought of as he was not visibly present, was the only parent intimately involved with Christ's suffering and sacrifice. Not true!
    We should not forget or overlook the FACT that Jesus’ mother was there through it all having to watch the son they shared which she carried in her womb and lovingly raised and adored along with Joseph at their side being brutally destroyed. One can not doubt, as scripture gives us reason to believe, Mary and Jesus over those 33 years of living and loving together had mutual knowledge of this day and had so bound together their wills to be a part of the Fathers plan of salvation accepting its traumatic conclusion that neither wished to interfere with this degradation of divinity and jointly chose to suffer the pain in union with Him for the redemption of mankind. No ordinary woman was Mary, our mother, and in truth the mother of Christianity who shared intimately the passion of Christ for all of us. Mary, the chosen one of God, the very first and most blessed of all Christians.

  4. abey
    2 years ago

    The sword which pierced the heart of Mary to her suffering in silence as the Bible says of the manner "She kept things of Him deep in her heart" the understanding of The Christ & his redemption, the humble woman who considered herself as The Hand Maid of the Lord, true to her self & being, kept silent all the way unto the end, which is the beginning of this new Eve in the Christ. She does tell mankind somethings.

  5. Martha Wiggins
    2 years ago

    Thank you, Fr. Fargaglia. Your commentary serves as reaffirmation of a recent article I posted.on Mary. It all comes down to TRUST...
    http://marthasorbit.com/dailyblog/2012/04/04/his-mother-mary-was-there/

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