Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. James Farfaglia

4/22/2011 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Stood the Mother weeping: Through her pilgrimage of faith, she walked into the night of faith.

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. I differ with those who assume that the Blessed Mother stood at the Cross of Jesus in a stoic manner.

Highlights

By Fr. James Farfaglia

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/22/2011 (3 years ago)

Published in Lent / Easter

Keywords: Cross, crucifixion, stabet mater, Fr James Farfaglia, Mary, Mother of Sorrows


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."  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. 

---


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


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Lent / Easter

5th Sorrowful Mystery: The Crucifixion

Image of

By Jennifer Hartline

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 might.The bitter truth is this: I really don't want to die. WASHINGTON, ... continue reading


4th Sorrowful Mystery: The Carrying of the Cross

Image of

By Jennifer Hartline

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 thought, "I can't take another step." WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


3rd Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns

Image of

By Jennifer Hartline

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 with Thorns"They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown ... continue reading


Good Friday Reflection on the Nature of Sin Watch

Image of

By Michael Terheyden

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 reflect on the nature of sin. KNOXVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - The ... continue reading


Lent is almost over, but have YOU kept this Commandment? Watch

Image of Love thy neighbor means to take action to show you love. It's more than just words, it's a commandment.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The time has finally come. We've sacrificed, struggled, and prayed our way to the end of Lent. Easter is about to begin. Hopefully, Lent has not been just about us as individuals and our struggles against chocolate or other forms of trivial temptation. Hopefully Lent ... continue reading


Holy Thursday: Take Up the Basin and Towel. Love is a Verb. Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Vigil Mass of Holy Thursday is meant to deepen our understanding of the self emptying of Jesus Christ. It is also meant to open up for us a deeper understanding of the meaning of our own lives. He, who is Lord and Master, King of Kings, took off His Cloak of ... continue reading


Holy Thursday: He Loves to the End Watch

Image of

By Deacon F.K. Bartels

Jesus Christ has loved us to the very end. There is great spiritual profit to be found in meditating on those words. They might give the impression that Christ has loved us, and now that he has done that, it is over. But it is not over. It is not simply that ... continue reading


2nd Sorrowful Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar Watch

Image of

By Jennifer Hartline

"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:5 WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - 2nd Sorrowful Mystery:  The Scourging at the ... continue reading


1st Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden Watch

Image of

By Jennifer Hartline

What grieves Jesus more - that we sin, or that we try to cover our sin, make light of it, and even delight in it? How can we have true contrition if we are not convinced we have sinned? WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - 1st Sorrowful Mystery:  The Agony in the ... continue reading


The Precious and Life-Giving Cross of Christ

Image of The cross is the glory of all the apostles, the crown of the martyrs, the sanctification of the saints. By the cross we put on Christ and cast aside our former self. By the cross we, the sheep of Christ, have been gathered into one flock, destined for the sheepfolds of heaven.

By Saint Theodore the Studite

How precious the gift of the cross, how splendid to contemplate! In the cross there is no mingling of good and evil, as in the tree of paradise: it is wholly beautiful to behold and good to taste. The fruit of this tree is not death but life, not darkness but ... continue reading


All Lent / Easter News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 11:4-12
4 These are the two olive trees and the two lamps in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 20:27-40
27 Some Sadducees -- those who argue that there is no ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Cecilia
November 22: In the fourth century appeared a Greek religious romance on the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter