Thursday, 23 April 2020 06:01

At the Foot of the Cross

Written by Jiza Zito

It was the first week of the suspension of public Mass within our Diocese, and I entered the church to begin my new routine of personal prayer within a nearly empty, highly sanitized and disinfected church. New mandates were just starting to come out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was beginning to radically affect everyone’s lives. Schools and jobs were moving online, businesses were closing, social gatherings were ending, and churches were rapidly stripping down their schedules of anything that could possibly consist of more than ten parishioners. Everyone in the country came under the “10 person maximum, 6 ft. distance apart, essential business only” rule. Like many Catholics around the world, my faith was being tested and I was struggling with a plethora of thoughts and emotions as the reality of the pandemic started to unfold within our society and within our churches. 

As I knelt in prayer, my intention was to come and console Our Lord, hidden in the tabernacle. Unbeknownst to me, Mass was to be recorded and celebrated in the side chapel during that hour. When I heard Mass begin, my heart broke and I was overcome with grief. Hardly 20 feet away, I knew Heaven was about to touch earth and that I was not going to be able to take part in it and physically receive Our Lord in the Eucharist. With tear-filled eyes, I looked at the tabernacle and asked Jesus, “What are You doing? Why are You doing this right now?” I started to weep. Before it could get to the Consecration of the Host, I told God, “I can’t do this” and left. 

Bridled with sorrow, I continued to question God and His Divine Providence for that moment. It wasn’t until the next morning in prayer, however, when God laid it upon my heart - I had entered the church the night before pridefully relying on my own strength - when I should have approached Him with the heart of His mother. It was a consolation and a great reminder that it is through the Immaculate Heart of Mary that we will be able to draw the strength to remain at the foot of the Cross, especially during this time when we are unable to receive her Son in the Most Holy Eucharist. By remembering Our Most Sorrowful Mother at the foot of the Cross, we are not only consoling Christ but we are consoling Her as well. 

Do you know of the promises that Mary revealed to St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373) concerning the graces that will be given to those who honor Her and Her Son by meditating everyday on Her Seven Sorrows? 

I will grant peace to their families.
They will be enlightened about the divine Mysteries.
I will console them in their pains and will accompany them in their work.
I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.
I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.
I will visibly help them at the moment of their death- - they will see the face of their mother.

I have obtained this grace from my divine Son: that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and sorrows will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness, since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son will be their eternal consolation and joy.

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How to Meditate on the Seven Sorrows of Mary 

These seven prayers presented in this format were approved by Pope Pius VII in 1815. 

V. O God, come to my assistance
R. O Lord, make haste to help me

V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen 

(The Hail Mary is prayed a total of seven times: once after each of the seven prayers.  It is included in its entirety after the first praryer.)

The First Sorrow - The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:34-35)

I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the affliction of thy tender heart at the prophecy of the holy and aged Simeon. Dear Mother, by thy heart so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of humility and the gift of the holy fear of God

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death, Amen 

The Second Sorrow – The Flight Into Egypt (Matt. 2:13-21)

I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the anguish of thy most affectionate heart during the flight into Egypt and thy sojourn there. Dear Mother, by thy heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of generosity, especially toward the poor, and the gift of piety.

Hail Mary

The Third Sorrow – The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:43-45)

I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in those anxieties which tried thy troubled heart at the loss of thy dear Jesus. Dear Mother, by thy heart so full of anguish, obtain for me the virtue of chastity and the gift of knowledge.

Hail Mary

The Fourth Sorrow- Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary (John 19:17)

I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful in the consternation of thy heart at meeting Jesus as he carried His Cross. Dear Mother, by thy heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of patience and the gift of fortitude.

Hail Mary

The Fifth Sorrow- The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus (John 19:18

I grieve for thee O Mary, most sorrowful, in the martyrdom which thy generous heart endured in standing near Jesus in His agony. Dear Mother, by thy afflicted heart, obtain for me the virtue of temperance and the gift of counsel.

Hail Mary

The Sixth Sorrow- The taking down of Jesus’ Body from the Cross (Mk.16:43-46)

I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the wounding of thy compassionate heart, when the side of Jesus was struck by the lance and His Heart was pierced before His body was removed from the Cross. Dear Mother, by thy heart thus transfixed, obtain for me the virtue of fraternal charity and the gift of understanding.

Hail Mary

The Seventh Sorrow- The burial of Jesus (John 19:40-41)  

I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, for the pangs that wrenched thy most loving heart at the burial of Jesus. Dear Mother, by thy heart sunk in the bitterness of desolation, obtain for me virtue of diligence and the gift of wisdom.

Hail Mary

After the seven prayers, we conclude with the following:

V. Pray for us, O Virgin most sorrowful 
R. That we made be worthy of the promises of Christ

Let us Pray

Let intercession be made for us, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, now and at the hour of our death, before the throne of Thy mercy, by the Blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, whose most holy soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow in the hour of Thy bitter Passion. Through Thee, Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost lives and reigns, world without end. Amen.