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All Issues > Volume 28, Issue 5

<< Saturday, September 15, 2012 >> Our Lady of Sorrows
Hebrews 5:7-9
View Readings
Psalm 31:2-6, 15-16, 20 John 19:25-27
or Luke 2:33-35

Similar Reflections


"Near the cross of Jesus there stood His mother." —John 19:25

Martyrdom has traditionally been considered as the ultimate expression of love for the Lord. The word "martyr" means "witness," and martyrdom is the preeminent witness of faith in Jesus. It is the most perfect way of imitating the crucified Christ.

St. Bernard called Mary "more than martyr." This is an unusual expression because martyrs were so exalted in the Christian community that it would seem impossible to be "more than martyr." Yet, St. Bernard said Mary's sufferings at the foot of her Son's cross were more severe than the most brutal physical tortures.

Even if Mary is "more than martyr," what difference does it make? Maybe she did suffer more than any human being ever created, but is there a prize for suffering the most? The fruits of Mary's suffering are:

  1. Mary's greater redemptive suffering means she was a woman of greater obedience, for we learn obedience from what we suffer (Heb 5:8).
  2. Greater suffering for Jesus means a greater ministry of consolation and healing (see 2 Cor 1:5).
  3. Greater suffering with Jesus means a greater joy, for we rejoice in the measure in which we share Christ's sufferings (1 Pt 4:13).

On this feast day of Mary, the sorrowful mother, let yourself be transformed by the ministry of Mary, "more than martyr." Then choose martyrdom for yourself.

Prayer: Father, make me feel as Mary felt, "make my soul to glow and melt with the love of Christ, my Lord" ("Stabat Mater").
Promise: "You yourself shall be pierced with a sword — so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare." —Lk 2:35
Praise: Mary, the Sorrowful Mother, gave birth to a Son Who consoled her by saying: "Blest too are the sorrowing; they shall be consoled" (Mt 5:4).
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from August 1, 2012 through September 30, 2012.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 30, 2012.
The Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.
Volume 28, Issue 5
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