Saturday, August 02, 2008

Saturday - Day of Our Lady

The Purification

I did not need purification, like other women, because my Son who was born of me made me clean. Nor did I contract the least stain, who bore my most pure Son without any stain. Nevertheless, the law and the prophecies might be fulfilled, I chose to live according to the law. Nor did I live like wordly parents, but humbly conversed with the humble. Nor did I wish to show anything extraordinary in me, but loved whatever was humble. On that day as today was my pain increased. For though, by divine inspiration, I knew that my Son was to suffer, yet this grief pierced my heart more keenly at Simeon's words, when he said that a sword should pierce my soul, and that my Son should be set for a sigh to be contradicted. And until I was assumed in body and soul to Heaven, this grief never left my heart, although it was tempered by the consolation of the spirit of God. I also wish you to know that from that day my grief was sixfold. The first was in my knowledge: for every time that I looked upon my Son, wrapped Him in His swaddling clothes, or gazed upon His hands and feet, so often was my soul swallowed up, as it were, by fresh grief, for I thought how He was to be crucified. In the second place, there was pain in my hearing: for as often as I heard the opprobriums heaped on my Son, the falsehood uttered against Him, the snares laid upon Him, my soul was so afflicted that I could scarcely contain myself; but by the power of God, my grief knew bounds and respect, so that no impatience or levity was seen in me. In the third place, I suffered by sight: for when I beheld my Son bound and scourged, and suspended on the cross, I fell, as it were, lifeless; but recovering myself, I stood mourning and suffering patiently, that neither my enemies nor any other beheld anything but gravity in me. My fourth suffering was in the touch: for I with others took my Son down from the cross, wrapped Him up, and laid Him in the tomb; and thus my grief increased, so that my hands and feet had scarce strength to bear me. Oh, how gladly would I then have been laid beside my Son! Fifthly, I suffered by a vehement desire of joining my Son after he ascended to Heaven, because the long delay which I had in this world, after His Ascension, increased my grief. Sixthly, I suffered from the tribulations of the Apostles and friends of God, ever feeling and grieving: fearing that they might yield to temptations and tribulations, grieving because my Son's words were everywhere contradicted. but through the grace of God persevered in me, and my will always conformed to the will of God, yet my grief was constantly mingled with consolation, till I was assumed, body and soul, to my Son in Heaven. Let not, then, this grief leave my heart, for without tribulation few would reach heaven (Lib.6, ch.57).

Picture of Our Lady was taken in the chapel of Marist Sisters Monastery in Nympsfield, Glos. UK