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Of Joy and Sorrow

Gospel Commentary Luke 2:33-35

The Presentation in the Temple is the fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary but that joy came with the first of the Seven Dolors. As a Jew, the baby Jesus being presented at the temple was a joyous occasion and the high priest Simeon, who had prayed that he would see the Messiah before he died, knew right away who Jesus was.

Simeon told Mary that Jesus was destined for the rise and fall of many in Israel. But he also told Mary that a sword would pierce her heart so that the thoughts of many hearts would be revealed.

Simeon was telling Mary that as the mother of Jesus, her blessedness would be challenged. This meant that her very faith would be challenged and that she would experience her Son's pain.

But the devil did not attack Mary directly. Instead, he attacked her through her Son’s pain. Every pain that Jesus endured in fulfilling His mission of saving us, Mary felt. To this day, Jesus is hurt by our sins and Mary feels His pain.

Because Mary is the Mediatrix of All Grace, the grace bestowed on us by God’s mercy and forgiveness passes from the Son through Mary and Mary feels that joy and shares it with her Son. This is the joy which the father has in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. But likewise, the pain that we cause God to experience with our sins; passes through Mary to the Son and the Father.

No one wants to bring pain on his or her mother. So this is a day for us to remember that when we sin, we not only disobey God’s commands, we also bring pain that passes through our mother in heaven.

This is what Simeon’s prophecy to Mary was all about. Mary may not have known and understood the full extent of Simeon’s prophecy but by the time that Jesus took our sins to the cross, I’m sure that she did. Therefore, this is also a special day to say, “Thank you, Mary.” We honor Mary and we are devoted to her and we show our gratitude to her because she is the New Eve and without her, and her complete faith in God which gave her the strength to stand up to the challenge and endure the pain, Jesus would never have been born.

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Sequence (Stabat Mater)

At the cross her station keeping, Stood the mournful Mother weeping, Close to Jesus to the last.

Through her heart, his sorrow sharing, All his bitter anguish bearing, Now at length the sword had passed.

Oh, how sad and sore distressed Was that Mother highly blessed Of the sole begotten One!

Christ abobe in torment hangs, She beneath beholds the pangs Of her dying, glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep, 'Whelmed in miseries so deep, Christ's dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain From partaking in her pain, In that mother's pain untold?

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled, She beheld her render Child, All with bloody scourges rent.

Ror the sins of his own nation Saw him hang in desolation Till his spirit forth he sent.

O sweet Mother! font of love, Touch my spirit from above, Make my heart with yours accord.

Make me feel as you have felt: Make my soul to glow and melt With the love of Christ, my Lord.

Holy Mother, pierce me through, In my heart each wound renew Of my Savior crucified.

Let me share with you his pain, Who for all our sins was slain, Who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with you, Morning him who mourned for me, All the days that I may live.

By the cross with you to stay, There with you to weep and pray, Is all I ask of you to give.

Virgin of all virgins blest! Listen to my fond request: Let me share your grief divine.

Let me to my latest breath, In my body bear the death Of that dying Son of yours.

Wounded with his every wound, Steep my soul till it has swooned In his very Blood away.

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh, Lest in flames I burn and die, In his awful judgment day.

Christ, when you shall call me hence, Be your Mother my defense, Be your cross my victory.

While my body here decays, May my soul your goodness praise, Safe in heaven eternally.

Amen. (Alleluia)

Gospel          Luke 2:33-35

Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

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Our Lady of Sorrows

Simeon said to Mary, "Behold, this child is destined for the ruin and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign of contradictions; and your own soul a sword will pierce."

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary;
without dying you won the martyr’s crown
beneath the Cross of the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

The Prophecy of Simeon

The Flight out of Egypt

The Loss in the Temple

Mary Meets Jesus Carrying Cross

Jesus Dies on the Cross

Mary Receives Jesus

The Burial of Jesus

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