Why, O Lady, asks St. Bonaventure, didst thou also go to sacrifice thyself on Calvary? Was a crucified God not sufficient to redeem us, that thou, His Mother, shouldst also be crucified with Him? The death of Jesus was more than enough to redeem the world, but His good Mother, for the love she bore us, wished to help in the cause of our salvation.
St. Bonaventure, addressing this Blessed Virgin, says: “And why, O Lady, didst thou also go to sacrifice thyself on Calvary? Was a crucified God not sufficient to redeem us, that thou, His Mother, wouldst also go to be crucified with Him?” Indeed, the death of Jesus was more than enough to save the world, and an infinity of worlds; but this good Mother, for the love she bore us, wished also to help the cause of our salvation by the merit of her sufferings which she offered for us on Calvary. Therefore, Blessed Albert the Great says that, as we are under great obligations to Jesus for His Passion endured for our love, so also are we under great obligations to Mary for the Martyrdom which she voluntarily suffered for our salvation in the death of her Son. I say voluntarily, since, as St. Agnes revealed to St. Bridget, “our compassionate and benign Mother was satisfied rather to endure any torment than that our souls should not be redeemed, and be left in their former state of perdition.” And, indeed, we may say that Mary’s only relief in the midst of her great sorrow in the Passion of her Son, was to see the lost world redeemed by His death, and men who were His enemies reconciled with God. “While grieving she rejoiced,” says Simon of Cassia, “that a Sacrifice was offered for the redemption of all, by which He Who was angry was appeased.”
So great a love, then, on the part of Mary deserves our gratitude, and that gratitude should be shown by at least meditating upon and pitying her in her sorrows. But she complained to St. Bridget that very few did so, and that the greater part of the world lived in forgetfulness of them: “I look around upon all who are on earth, to see if by chance there are any who pity me, and meditate upon my sorrows; and I find that there are very few. Therefore, my daughter, though I am forgotten by many, at least do thou not forget me; consider my anguish, and imitate, as far as thou canst, my grief.” To understand how pleasing it is to the Blessed Virgin that we should remember her dolours, we need only know that, in the year 1239 she appeared to seven devout clients of hers (afterwards Founders of the Religious Order of the Servites), with a black garment in her hands, and desired them, if they wished to please her, often to meditate on her sorrows: for this purpose, and to remind them of her sorrows, she expressed her desire that in future they should wear that mourning dress. Jesus Christ Himself revealed to the Blessed Veronica de Binasco, that He is, as it were, more pleased in seeing His Mother compassionated than Himself; for thus He addressed her: “My daughter, tears shed for My Passion are dear to Me; but as I loved My Mother Mary with an immense love, the meditation of the torments which she endured at My death are even more agreeable to Me.”
Wherefore the graces promised by Jesus to those who are devoted to the dolours of Mary are very great.
(Saturday Meditation for the Fourth Week of Lent – by St Alphonsus Liguori)
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