Tuesday, September 12, 2006

"On the Fifth Dolour - Of the Death of Jesus"
fragments from "The Glories of Mary" by St. Alphonsus Liguori

We have now to witness a new kind of martyrdom - a Mother condemned to see an innocent Son, and one whom she loves with the whole affection of her soul, cruelly tormented and put to death before her own eyes: "There stood by the cross of Jesus His Mother." Jn. xix.25 Saint John believed that in these words he had said enough of Mary's martyrdom. Consider her at the foot of the cross in the presence of her dyeing Son, and then see if there be sorrow like unto her sorrow. Let us remain for a while this day on Calvary, and consider the fifth sword which, in the death of Jesus, transfixed the heart of Mary.
As soon as our agonized Redeemer had reached the Mount Calvary, the executioners stripped him of His clothes, and piercing His hands and feet with 'not with sharp but with blunt nails' as Saint Bernard says, to torment Him more, they fastened Him on the cross. Having crucified Him, they planted the cross, and thus left Him; but not so Mary. She then draw nearer to the cross to be present at His death: "I did not leave Him' (thus the Blessed Virgin revealed to Saint Bridget), 'but stood nearer to the cross.'Rev.1.i.c.35. 'But what did it avail thee, O Lady,' says St. Bonaventure, 'to go to Calvary , and see this Son expire? Shame should have prevented thee; for His disgrace was thine, since thou wert His Mother. At least, horror of witnessing such a crime as the crucifixion of a God by His own creatures, should have prevented thee from going there.' But the same Saint answers, 'Ah, thy heart did not then think of its own sorrows, but of the sufferings and death of thy dear Son,' and therefore thou wouldst thyself be present, at least to compassionate Him. 'Ah, true Mother, says the Abbot William, 'most loving Mother, whom not even the fear of death could separate from thy beloved Son.' But, O God, what a cruel sight as it there to behold this Son in agony on the cross, and as its foot this Mother in agony, suffering all the torments endured by her Son! Listen to the words in which Mary revealed to Saint
Bridget the sorrowful state in which she saw her dying Son on the cross: 'My dear Jesus was breathless, exhausted, and in His last agony on the cross; His eyes were sunk, half-closed, and lifeless; His lips hanging, and His mouth open; His cheeks hollow and drawn in; His face elongated, His nose sharp, His countenance sad: His head had fallen on His breast, His hair was black with blood, His stomach collapsed, His arms and legs stiff, and His whole body covered with wounds and blood.' Rev. lib. i. cap. 10, lib. iv. cap. 70.....But if Mary's lips were silent, her heart was not so, for she incessantly offered the life of her Son to the Divine Justice for our salvation. Therefore we know that by the merits of her dolours she cooperated in our birth to the life of grace; and hence we are the children of her sorrows.


Ah, Mother of Mercy, I hope, first, through the death of my Redeemer, and then through thy sorrow, to obtain pardon and eternal salvation. Amen.