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Pierced with a Sword
Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
or Luke 2:33-35
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted, and you yourself a sword will pierce, so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Opening Prayer: Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us. Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us. Word of God, open my heart and become living and effective in me (see Hebrews 4:12) while I ponder your words in this passage.
- The Sword Reveals: When Jesus was an infant, Simeon told Mary that her heart would one day be pierced “so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:25). The one to whom all thoughts are revealed is Christ, the Word: “Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The sword, the word of God, pierced the heart of Mary and it pierces our hearts with the truth everytime we meditate on the Scriptures. When we read God’s word, our hearts are laid open before him. Mary’s Immaculate Heart–itself pierced with a sword–is part of God’s plan to deliver his word to us. As St. Louis de Montfort said, “to Jesus through Mary.”
- Redemptive Suffering: Mary knew Isaiah’s prophecy about the suffering servant (see Isaiah 53). She was aware that suffering was a key part of her Son’s mission and she willingly participated in his sufferings. When we encounter our own sufferings, we have the same chance to participate in Christ’s saving mission by offering God our hurts, failures, illnesses, sorrow, and grief. When we unite our suffering to Christ’s, our offering becomes meritorious for the salvation of the world. As St. John Paul II said, “Christ has raised human suffering to the level of the Redemption. Thus each man, in his suffering, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ” (Salvifici Doloris 19).
- Our Mother’s Heart: When Jesus gave John to Mary, he made all of humanity her children for eternity. How blessed we are. No one has ever had a mother with more compassion and tenderness than we do in Mary. Her Immaculate Heart is the most beautiful work of God’s creation. She is “the most excellent fruit of the redemption” (Sacrosantum Concilium 103). Mary’s maternal heart is sorrowful, yet it is marvelously full of love for God and for us. St. Jerome wrote, “Even while living in the world, the heart of Mary was so filled with motherly tenderness and compassion for men that no one ever suffered so much for their own pains, as Mary suffered for the pains of her children.”
Conversing with Christ: Immaculate Heart of Mary, my mother, lead me to your Son. Please receive my prayers and make them beautiful for Christ. Sacred Heart of Jesus, reveal my heart to yours. Open it and lay it bare in front of you. Discern and purify the innermost thoughts of my heart. Fill my heart with a love that burns with such a pure and radiant love for you that others are attracted to you by this love.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pray a rosary in honor of my mother Mary and offer some small sacrifice out of love for you.
For Further Reflection: Watch the first episode of Father Lance Harlow’s series about devotion to Our Mother Mary, True Devotion Lifestyle.
Written by Carey Boyzuck.