Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Fourth Station

Thursday, Fifth Week in Lent
Jesus Meets His Mother on the Way to Calvary
 Where  Exactly did Jesus meet His Mother on the Way to Calvary?
From the Catholic Encyclopedia:  Since the Passion of Jesus Christ occurred during the paschal week, we naturally expect to find Mary at Jerusalem. Simeon's prophecy found its fulfilment principally during the time of Our Lord's suffering. According to a tradition, His Blessed Mother met Jesus as He was carrying His cross to Golgotha. The Itinerarium of the Pilgrim of Bordeaux describes the memorable sites which the writer visited A.D. 333, but it does not mention any locality sacred to this meeting of Mary and her Divine Son. The same silence prevails in the so-called Peregrinatio Silviæ which used to be assigned to A.D. 385, but has lately been placed in A.D. 533-540. But a plan of Jerusalem, dating from the year 1308, shows a Church of St. John the Baptist with the inscription "Pasm. Vgis.", Spasmus Virginis, the swoon of the Virgin. During the course of the fourteenth century Christians began to locate the spots consecrated by the Passion of Christ, and among these was the place was the place where Mary is said to have fainted at the sight of her suffering Son .  Since the fifteenth century one finds always "Sancta Maria de Spasmo" among the Stations of the Way of the Cross, erected in various parts of Europe in imitation of the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. That Our Blessed Lady should have fainted at the sight of her Son's sufferings, hardly agrees with her heroic behaviour under the cross; still, we may consider her woman and mother in her meeting with her Son on the way to Golgotha, while she is the Mother of God at the foot of the cross. (For reasons of length, the footnotes have been removed from this quotation, but can be found at the above website.)
Talking with the children about the Fourth Station of the Cross

Ad Jesum Per Mariam

It is a long-held and cherished tradition to place the Blessed Mother on the road to Calvary with her beloved Son.  You won't find a verse in the Bible to prove the meeting of the fourth Station of the Cross took place, but we don't need to read about it to know it had to have happened.  How do we know? It's simple: where He is, she is; where she is, He is.  The Blessed Virgin Mary is an integral character in the life of Christ and so has to be an integral character in our lives, as well.  She was chosen before time for her role in our eternity.  It's through her, the mother of our Saviour, the Mediatrix of all Grace, that we can receive the grace to save our souls.  And it's through her that we can best fill our homes with the light of grace. The greatest insurance we  can have that our children will gain heaven is to impress upon their hearts from the first moments of their life a deep and abiding love for the Mother of God.  Because her greatest pleasure is to lead them to her Divine Son. 

Last week we celebrated the Feast of St. Gabriel, whose day apropriately preceded the great feast of the Annunciation on Monday this year.  These are the "Hail Mary" days.  It would be good to pronounce slowly the words of the Angelic Salutation with our children today, to listen carefully to the words, and savor their meaning.  Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee...  The dear holy Child, the Holy of Holies, the fruit of Blessed Mary's womb, Jesus, grew up to divine manhood to carry the weight of our sins on the cross He bore to Calvary.  And on the way, He met His beloved mother.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the our of our death.  Amen.

To Jesus Through Mary
In the Words of the Saints:
+ St. Therese of Lisieux: “In trial or difficulty I have recourse to Mother Mary, whose glance alone is enough to dissipate every fear.”

+  St. Alphonsus de Liguori: "Such is the will of God that we should have everything through Mary."

+ St. Jerome: “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.”

+ St. Thomas Aquinas:  “As mariners are guided into port by the shining of a star, so Christians are guided to heaven by Mary"

+ St. Philip Neri: “Believe me, there is no more powerful means to obtain God’s grace than to employ the intercessions of the Holy Virgin.”

+ St. Louis de Montfort:  "We never give more honour to Jesus than when we honour his Mother, and we honour her simply and solely to honour him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek - Jesus, her Son."

+ St. Maximilian Kolbe: “Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”

+ Pope St. Pius X:  “Let the storm rage and the sky darken - not for that shall we be dismayed. If we trust as we should in Mary, we shall recognize in her, the Virgin Most Powerful ‘who with virginal foot did crush the head of the serpent’.”

+ St. Francis de Sales: “Let us run to her, and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence.”

* Quotes gleaned from Catholic Quotations-- a new go-to site in my favorites.

The Fourth Station (St. Alphonsus de Liguori):

Jesus Meets His Afflicted Mother

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)
R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)

V: Consider how the Son met his Mother on His way to Calvary. Jesus and Mary gazed at each other and their looks became as so many arrows to wound those hearts which loved each other so tenderly (Kneel)

R: My most loving Jesus, / by the pain You suffered in this meeting / grant me the grace of being truly devoted to Your most holy Mother. / And You, my Queen, who was overwhelmed with sorrow, / obtain for me by Your prayers / a tender and a lasting remembrance of the passion of Your divine Son. / I love You, Jesus, my Love, above all things. / I repent of ever having offended You. / Never allow me to offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)

Is there one who would not weep,
'whelmed in miseries so deep
Christ's dear Mother to behold.

Fourth Station (St. Francis of Asissi)

Jesus Meets His Blessed Mother

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
How sad and how painful must it have been for Mary to behold her beloved Son laden with the Cross, covered with wounds and blood, and driven through the streets by savage executioners! What unspeakable pangs her most tender heart must have experienced! How earnestly did she desire to die instead of Jesus, or at least with Him!
O Jesus, * O Mary, * I am the cause of the pains that pierced your hearts. * Would that my heart might experience some of your sufferings. * O Mother, * let me share in thy sufferings and those of they Son, * that I may obtain the grace of a happy death.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

Stational Church in Rome
 Wednesday, Fifth Week in Lent, San Marcello al Corso

Some of the history of the church can be found here, and some pictures here along with some Panoramio views of exactly where this church is found in Rome.

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