The Happy Priest Reflects on Good Friday and Mary at the Cross
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 Larrańaga, 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 Larrańaga, 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.
Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for JANUARY 2018
Religious Minorities in Asia. That Christians, and other religious minorities in Asian countries, may be able to practise their faith in full freedom.
More Lent & Easter
'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead'
Easter / Lent News
While Easter is a Solemnity and an octave feast, it is also a 50 day season until Pentecost.The Season of Easter is not just about His ... continue reading
What lesson is the Lord teaching us by keeping his wounds intact? Perhaps we can better answer this question by turning to our own wounds. ... continue reading
As a teenager I ran into someone who introduced me to the finer points of the occupation. We fell into the tried and proven method of ... continue reading
Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence ... continue reading
Today as we contemplate the Passion we also plumb the mystery and meaning of the Church. We are members of His Body. She was born ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Daily Reading for Thursday, January 18th, 2018 HD Video
- Annual National Prayer Service Unites Christians
- St. Anthony the Abbot: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, January 17, 2018
- CDC: Swine flu joining killer influenza outbreak, expected to become ...
- Now more than 215 million persecuted Christians worldwide
- Eminem speaks about his experience with abortion
- Daily Readings for Wednesday, January 17, 2018
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, January 17th, 2018 HD
- Twitter Ban: Censorship on "a way of talking" -- does that include Christian speech? HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, January 16th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Monday, January 15th, 2018 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way