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Weekly Message From the Director
Dear Friend of Our Lady of Angels,
The Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15th. I share with you part of the sermon St. Bernard preached on this feast day – taken from the Office of Readings.
In St. Luke’s gospel (2:35), speaking to Mary, Simeon said: “and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword.” In his sermon, St. Bernard speaks about the martyrdom of Mary.
Truly, O blessed Mother, a sword has pierced your heart. For only by passing through your heart could the sword enter the flesh of your Son. Indeed, after your Jesus – who belongs to everyone, but is especially yours – gave up his life, the cruel spear, which was not withheld from his lifeless body, tore open his side.
Clearly it did not touch his soul and could not harm him, but it did pierce your heart. For surely his soul was no longer there, but yours could not be torn away. Thus the violence of sorrow has cut through your heart, and we rightly call you more than a martyr, since the effect of compassion in you has gone beyond the endurance of physical suffering.
Or were those words: “Woman, behold your Son,” not more than a sword to you, truly piercing your heart, cutting through to the division between soul and spirit? What an exchange! John is given to you in place of Jesus, the servant in place of the Lord, the disciple in place of the master; the son of Zebedee replaces the Son of God, a mere man replaces God himself. How could these words not pierce your most loving heart, when the mere remembrance of them breaks ours, hearts of stone and iron though they are!
Perhaps someone will say: “Had she not known before that he would die?” Undoubtedly. “Did she not expect him to rise again at once?” Surely. “And still she grieved over her crucified Son?” Intensely.
Who are you and what is the source of your wisdom that you are more surprised at the compassion of Mary than at the passion of Mary’s Son? For if he could die in body, could she not die with him in spirit? He died in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since his.
Devotedly in Our Lady of Angels,
Rev. William J. O’Brien, C.M.
P.S. Let us pray that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, will bring a just and lasting peace into our country and the world.