'It is to be a martyr, to suffer patiently, and with gratitude, the ills inseparable from our human existence, and which are common both to the just and to sinners, and we are not deprived of the glory which is attached to this title because we have not shed our blood in honour of Jesus Christ."
- St. Cyprian
Catholic Life Imprimatur 1908
There is one attribute common to all the human race, no matter what in life, age, or race they may be, and that is suffering. For such a common ill there must be palliatives, which, while not curing, render them more tolerable and meritorious. The remembrance of the patience of the Man-God in His unspeakable afflictions must always be our great solace; as also the thought that our night of suffering is the dawn of hope, and that suffering is a school in which we are taught to grow in holiness by God Himself; for the soul is purified in the furnace of affliction as precious metals are by fire. Our holy mother the Church, anxious to afford her children every help possible, proposes this month the consideration of the sorrows of our Blessed Lady, to show us that sufferings accompany the highest sanctity, and to point out to us a model for imitation. From the time of Simeon's prophecy - forty days after the birth of her Divine Son - her sufferings may be said to have lasted till her death. At times they were more intense, as when she had to fly with her Child to Egypt to save His life; when she lost Him for three days; at her meeting Him carrying His Cross; when she stood beneath the Cross and saw the soldier pierce His side with a lance; or when she laid Him in the sepulcher.
When we consider Who was the Son, who the Mother, and what the sufferings, we can easily understand why she is styled “Queen of Martyrs." Moreover, there were circumstances which increased her sufferings immensely, and which are apt to escape our notice; for example, she suffered from the thought that her sufferings were an additional cause of the pain to her Divine Son, Who loved her as no other son loved his mother; and then she was so helpless that she could not sooth His pains by such ordinary means as a cup of water or a caress. Thus, we can never consider the sorrows of Mary without coupling them with the sorrows of her Son. The two are so inseparably united that she is styled the co-redemptress of the world, and thus we can understand her deep sympathy and readiness to succour poor sinners. Only those who have suffered can measure the depths of others' woes, and sympathize with crushed and wounded hearts: and as no one, after Jesus, has suffered so much as our
Blessed Mother, so no one, after Jesus, can dry our tears, lighten our cross, or soothe our grief’s, like Mary. She will show us the value of sufferings, which detach us from the things of earth, make us desire heavenly goods, and increase our merit in Heaven by causing us to practice many virtues, especially patience, resignation, and sympathy for others. In our trials and sufferings, let us, in imitation of our Blessed Lady, perform our daily duties as if we were free from sorrow. Let us pray, making short, affectionate, frequent aspirations of resignation, love, and confidence. Let us forget our grief's by sympathizing with and helping those whose troubles are heavier than our own. "Gentle Mother, we beseech thee, By thy tears and troubles sore, By the death of thy dear offspring, By the many wounds He bore, Touch our hearts with that true sorrow Which afflicted thee of yore."
Example - St. Ignatius of Loyola
There is preserved at Saragossa, in Spain, a picture of Our Lady of Seven Dolours, which was much used by St. Ignatius. It is an ordinary print, representing Mary seated at the foot of the Cross, her heart pierced by a sword, her hands joined, and her head lowered. The features express profound affliction, combined with peace and resignation. The Saint held this picture in singular veneration. He wore it on his breast from the time of his conversion till his death, a period of thirty-five years. He assures us that he had received from God, by means of this devotion, extraordinary graces on all occasions. No wonder, then, that he was so full of tenderness for others. At the beginning of his stay in Paris, he had entrusted the little money he possessed to a young Spaniard, who, after spending part of it, ran away with the rest, leaving the Saint utterly destitute, and obliged to interrupt his studies in order to beg for his daily bread.
Some time afterwards, hearing that this youth was dangerously ill at Rouen, Ignatius instantly left Paris, and walked barefooted to that city - seventy miles - hardly stopping to rest on the way. He nursed the young man with tenderest care, collected money to pay his way home, and only left him when he was sufficiently recovered to proceed on his road towards Spain.
This Weeks Friday (Spiritual) Friday Fare
By: Thomas Aquinas Imprimatur 1937
Passion Friday - OUR LADY S SUFFERING IN THE PASSION
Thy own soul a sword shall pierce. Luke ii. 35. In these words there is noted for us the close association of Our Lady with the Passion of Christ.
Four things especially made the Passion most bitter for her. They refused Him even water, nor would they allow His His mother, who would most lovingly have given it, to help Him. Thirdly, the disgrace of the punishment, Let us condemn him to a most shameful death (Wis. ii. 20). Fourthly, the cruelty of the torment. O ye that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorroiv (Lam. i. 12).
(Serm.) The words of Simeon, Thy own soul a sword shall pierce Origen, and other doctors with him, explain with reference to the pain felt by Our Lady in the Passion of Christ. St. Ambrose, however, says that by the sword is signified Our Lady's prudence, thanks to which she was not without knowledge of the heavenly mystery. For the word of God is a living thing, strong and keener than the keenest sword (cf. Heb. iv. 12). Other writers again, St. Augustine for example, understand by the sword the stupefaction that overcame Our Lady at the death of her Son, not the doubt that goes with lack of faith but a certain fluctuation of bewilderment, a staggering of the mind. St. Basil, too, says that as Our Lady
stood by the cross with all the detail of the Passion before her, and in her mind the testimony of Gabriel, the message that words cannot tell of her divine conception, and all the vast array of miracles, her mind swayed, for she saw Him the victim of such vileness, and yet knew Him for the author of such wonders. (3 27 4 ad 2.)
Firstly, the goodness of her son, Who did no sin (i Pet. ii. 22). Secondly, the cruelty of those who crucified Him, shown, for example, in this that as He lay dying. Although Our Lady knew by faith that it was God s will that Christ should suffer, and although she brought her will into unity with God s will
in this matter, as the saints do, nevertheless, sadness filled her soul at the death of Christ. This was because her lower will revolted at the particular thing she had willed and this is not contrary to perfection. (i Dist. 48 q unica a 3.)
Meditations for Lent
By: Thomas Aquinas
Fourth Monday - CHRIST BY His PASSION MERITED TO BE EXALTED
He became obedient unto death even to the death of the cross : for which cause God hath exalted him. Phil. ii. 8.
Merit is a thing which implies a certain equality of justice. Thus St. Paul says, To him that worketh the reward is reckoned according to debt (Rom. iv. 4). Now since a man who commits an injustice takes for himself more than is due to himself, it is just that he suffer loss even in what is actually due to him. If a man steals one sheep, he shall give back four as it says in Holy Scripture (Exod. xxii. i). And this is said to be merited inasmuch as in this way the man s evil will is punished. In the same way the man who acts with such justice that he take less than what is due to him, merits that more shall be generously superadded to what he has, as a kind of reward for his just will. So, for instance, the gospel tells us, He that humbleth himself shall be exalted (Luke xiv. 1 1). Now in His Passion Christ humbled himself below His dignity in four respects : (i) In respect of His Passion and His death, things which He did not owe to undergo. (ii) In respect to places, for His body was placed in a grave and his soul in hell. (iii) In respect to the confusion and shame that He endured. (iv) In respect to His being delivered over to human authority, as He said Himself to Pilate, Thou shouldst not have any power against me, unless it were given thee from above (John xix. n).
Therefore, on account of His Passion, He merited a fourfold exaltation. (i) A glorious resurrection. It is said in the Psalm (Ps. cxxxviii. i), Thou hast known my sitting down, that is, the humiliation of my Passion, and my rising up. (ii) An ascension into heaven. Whence it is said, He descended first into the lower parts of the earth : He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens (Eph. iv. 9, 10). (iii) To be seated at the right hand of the Father, with His divinity made manifest. Isaias says, He shall be exalted, and extolled, and shall be exceeding high. As many have been astonished at thee, so shall his visage be inglorious among men, and St. Paul says, He became obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God hath exalted him and hath given him a name which is above all names (Phil. ii. 8, 9), that is to say, He shall be named God by all, and all shall pay Him reverence as God. And this is why St. Paul adds, That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth (ibid. x). (iv) A power of judgment. For it is said, Thy cause hath been judged as that of the wicked. Cause and judgment thou shalt recover (Job xxxvi. 17). (3. 49. 6.)
"No remedy can be found equally powerful to heal the wounds of conscience which human weakness daily receives through sin, or to purify the mind and inflame it with Divine Love." -Benedict XIV
Catholic Life; or Feasts, Fasts and Devotions
Stations of the Cross
Printed by Washbourne
This is a devotion instituted as a means to foster the remembrance of our dear Lord's sufferings, with a view to increase our love for Him, hatred for sin, and the practice of virtue. In all ages devout pilgrims went from all parts to visit Jerusalem and the other holy places sanctified by His Presence or sufferings. Many and great indulgences were granted to encourage them. But though great the number of pilgrims, greater still was the number who wished to make the pilgrimage, but whose circumstances did not allow them. To satisfy their earnest desires, the Church sanctioned the erection of the Stations of the Cross, and attached to the pious exercise the same privileges as are granted those who actually visit the holy places.
This devotion is most profitable to our souls. What can bring before our minds in a more vivid manner God's love for us and for the frightfulness of sin? Who can hate his neighbour when he sees Jesus pray for His enemies? Who can indulge in forbidden pleasures when he sees his Saviour's body mangled from head to foot? Who can murmur in sufferings and trials when Jesus walks before, laden with His Cross? In order to gain the great indulgences, it is necessary to go round to each station, and think piously for a short time on our Lord's sufferings. If the crowd be too large, then all that is necessary is for the priest and the acolytes to proceed from station to station, while the congregation turn towards the priest. It is customary to say a few prayers at each station.
Those found in prayer books are very suitable. Those who by illness, traveling, or other causes, are unable to make the "Way of the Cross" in a church, may get a crucifix indulgenced by a Franciscan Father, and thus gain all the privileges by saying, while holding the crucifix in the hand, fourteen Paters and Aves, followed by five Paters and Aves, in honour of the five wounds of our Lord and one Pater and Ave for the Pope's intentions.
The stations may also be made with spiritual profit by means of the folding booklet of fourteen pictures, which may be purchased for a trifle, but in this case the indulgences cannot be gained.
"Man of sorrows! wrapt in grief,
Bow Thine ear to our relief;
Thou for us the path hath trod
Of the dreadful wrath of God.
By the Cross's royal road
Lead us to the throne of God,
There for aye to sing to Thee
Heaven's triumphant litany."
Example - St. Francis De Sales
When this Saint was in his last illness he gave a noble example of calmness and resignation. Practicing what he had taught to others, he suffered the most acute pain with such patience and sweetness that he was never heard to utter the least complaint, nor to express a single desire which was not conformable to the holy will of God. There was ever written in his face the perfect serenity of a soul triumphant over suffering. He took without any apparent repugnance the most disagreeable medicines, submitted himself entirely to his medical advisers, and was constantly saying that his friends did too much for him. Thus, in sickness as in health, St. Francis followed in the steps of his Divine Master, obeying the command which He gave to His Apostles and to all Christians: "I have given you an example, that as I have done so do you also" (John xiii 15).
"Let us not speak ill of the Cross, it has been sent to us
to warn us, to detach us from the earth, to lead us to
our end. Let us leave it only to cast ourselves into God.
We have much need of suffering, let us suffer well."
~ Pere de Ravignan ~
Two more freebies for our readers! A great way to teach the order of the 10 commandments, something of conversation in our house more recently as the boys are learning them. They also seem to get reminded of certian ones throughout the day ;) What better way than to make it a game and with the special ones in our house any game that is moveable always captures the attention much better! The Matching the 10 Commandments with Moses
gives them the opportunity to use their fine motor skills and strengthen those fingers!The second printable is Ordering the Stations of the Cross- 'busy bag'. If you are aware of the busy bag craze you will know what these are about. Great simple games that can be contained in a small bag. Easy to take on the go and simple enough to entertain without too much instruction. This printable features the 14 stations of the cross on which the child places the correct number station (as marked on the clothes pin) to the correct picture and title. This one comes with an answer key so the child or the parent can check the work when it is complete. For those who can't read yet they can use the answer key to match up the pins and still have a fun, entertaining and educational time.Feel free to share the printables, if you would link back to our website or give credit in some way that would be wonderful! May God provide you a most fruitful Lenten season! God bless!Matching the 10 Commandments with Moses- Busy Bag DownloadOrdering the Stations of the Cross- Busy Bag Download
Spring time is getting near and so is the time for our new Home*School*Liturgical Year Planner! Visit here for more details and make sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter so you don't miss out on new information!
The same wonderful friend of mine who generously shares her families St. Catherine Academy's Newsletter
(UPDATE 2-2013 Our wonderful friends have their own website now over at Crusader's for Christ)
has allowed me to share her wonderful Lenten Lapbook. Created by a Catholic mother for her children using many resources. Here are a few files to help out in creating a lapbook similar to the one pictured above. Stations of the CrossSacred Heart StickersFlower Stickers
Inserts for LapbookCrown of Thorns ImageA few directions:
Use the cross to count down the days to Easter by placing a Sacred Heart sticker at the end of each day, and the crown of thorns is where they keep track of their good deeds. My Gifts for Jesus
Can you make sacrifices and acts of love for Jesus throughout the day? The thorns are reminders of Jesus' love for us, and how much He willingly and lovingly suffered. When you love someone, it overflows from your heart into action! The love we pour into each small act is precious to Jesus. At the end of each day, if you have tried your best to love Jesus during the day by being obedient, kind, and helpful, place a lovely flower sticker on a thorn (or draw and color a flower "sprouting" on a thorn). On Easter you will have a beautiful wreath(s) of flowers to give to our Risen Lord! (From a Year with God by Catholic Heritage Curricula
Under each small picture is an explanation of what takes place in the Church on that day and why. The little folder with Jesus and the Children is where they write down the sacrifices they are trying to do along with some of the bad habits they are trying to correct. The Stations of the Cross cards are for them to color. The yellow envelope contains a picture of the Resurrection to open on Easter. It is done on a purple file folder.May you have a blessed Lenten season!