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Lenten Journey Through the Sorrows of Mary: Jesus and Mary Meet

Statue of Mary and Jesus

February 28
The Fourth Dolor: Jesus and Mary Meet on the Via Dolorosa
The Fourth Dolor of Our Lady’s heart is tied to the Fourth Station of the Cross. Though not supported by Sacred Scripture, early legends of the Church tell us that Mary journeyed with Jesus on the Via Dolorosa, and “swooned away for anguish of heart” when she saw Him. What must it have been like to behold her Son in such a state of suffering?
Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman said this in his reflection on this dolor: Mary would rather have had all his sufferings herself, could that have been, than not to have known what they were by ceasing to be near him. ... He was now carrying the load of the world’s sins, and, all holy though he was, he carried the image of them on his very face. ... what a meeting of Mother and Son! Yet there was a mutual comfort, for there was a mutual sympathy.
For Reflection:
Read St. Luke’s account of The Way of the Cross (23:26-31). Picture yourself in the scene as one of the women along the way. Imagine the encounter between Mary and Jesus. Journal your thoughts, inspirations, insights, and emotions.
  

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Lenten Journey Through the Sorrows of Mary: Joy before sorrow

joys before sorrows

February 27
“God sends us joys before sorrows, to prepare our hearts; but the joys themselves contain prophesies of coming sorrows.”
- Father Frederick Faber
For Reflection:
Consider the main events of Mary’s life as recorded in Scripture up to this present dolor. They are the Annunciation, The Nativity, The Flight into Egypt, The Presentation, The Loss and Finding of Jesus in the Temple. What is the joy contained in each? What is the prophesy of the sorrow contained in each? For what was God preparing Mary’s heart? Do you think it could also be true that the sorrow also prepares our heart for greater joy? Why might this be the case?
  

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Lenten Journey Through the Sorrows of Mary: The virtues of the Immaculata

February 26
“Reclothe oneself, within and without, with the virtues of the Immaculata: the theological virtues and the cardinal virtues, the moral and the religious, so as to become as it were 'another Mary living, speaking, and working.'”
-Father Stefano Manelli
For Reflection:
Reread Luke 2: 43-52. As you read, jot down the virtues you see in Mary or think would have been necessary for her in this suffering. In what ways do you think Mary lived these virtues prior to this dolor? Which of these virtues do you most need to emulate? How can practicing them now prepare you for potential trials the future may bring? Is there one you need to exhibit now? Ask Mary to procure the grace you need to do so.
  

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Lenten Journey Through the Sorrows of Mary: Refer everything to God

February 25
“We must refer everything to God. It is the secret of being holy.”
-Father Frederick Faber
For Reflection:
This simple quote contains a deep and provocative message. Why do you think referring everything to God is the secret of being holy? How do we see Mary referring the pain of the third dolor of her heart to the will of God? How do you seek to live the reality of this quote? What current circumstance in your life is God asking you to refer to Him? Ponder it in your heart and journal your insights.
  

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Lenten Journey Through the Sorrows of Mary: Jesus in the Temple

February 24
The Third Dolor: The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple
During the time of Jesus, it was the custom for faithful Jews to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the celebration of the Passover. Nazareth, the home of the Holy Family, was approximately 60 miles away but the hilly topography added another 26 miles to the trip. Pilgrimages consisted of two groups – one comprised of men and the other of women. Children could travel with either. That is why it was not until evening that Mary and Joseph discovered Jesus was missing.
For Reflection:
Read Luke 2: 43-52. Imagine the panic Mary and Joseph must have felt when they discovered Jesus was missing and how it mounted as they searched for Him for three days. How does Mary’s interaction with Jesus at verse 48 show her concern? What word does she use to describe it? C. S. Lewis says that “Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has accepted, in spite of your changing moods.” How does this quote apply to Our Lady at this moment? How does she demonstrate faith in spite of lack of understanding?
  

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Lenten Journey Through the Sorrows of Mary: Living faith

February 23
“Living faith is the firm conviction that God exists, the acceptance – as truth – of all that has been revealed by God, and a loving readiness to be led by the divine will.”
-St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
For Reflection:
Mary and Joseph had “living faith” according to this definition – even being led to Egypt at the direction of an angel in a dream. On a scale of 1 to 10, one being “no faith at all” and 10 being “living faith” per the above quote, where are you? Where do you want to be? What can you do today to move you one step forward?
  

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Lenten Journey Through the Sorrows of Mary: I am no longer my own

February 22
Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle
“I am no longer my own. Whether I live or whether I die, I belong to my Savior. I have nothing of my own. God is my all, and my whole being is His.”
-St. Catherine of Genoa
For Reflection:
How do the saint’s sentiments of heart echo Our Lady’s? How does Mary exhibit this in the second dolor? In the first? To what extent can you make the same statement about yourself?
  

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Lenten Journey Through the Sorrows of Mary: Whom should I fear?

February 20
Psalm 27
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The Lord is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
When evildoers come at me
to devour my flesh,
My foes and my enemies
themselves stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
My heart will not fear;
Though war be waged upon me,
Even then will I trust…
For he will hide me in his abode
In the day of trouble;
He will conceal me in the shelter of his tent,
he will set me high upon a rock…
Wait for the Lord with courage;
be stout-hearted, and wait for the Lord.
For Reflection:
Meditate on Psalm 27 in light of the Flight into Egypt. Why would this psalm have been an apt prayer for Our Lady and St. Joseph from the time the angel bid them leave for Egypt until their return trip home? What parts of the psalm speak to you most deeply? What part would you most like to emulate?
  

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Lenten Journey Through the Sorrows of Mary: An Angel Appears to St. Joseph

February 20
The Second Dolor: The Flight Into Egypt
An angel appears to St. Joseph in a dream and tells him to take the Baby Jesus and Mary to Egypt because Herod is seeking to kill the child. Egypt had been regarded as a place of safe refuge since the time of the Maccabees.
For Reflection:
Read Matthew 2:13-15. What virtues do you see in St. Joseph’s response to the angel’s command? Though not explicitly stated, with what virtues do you think Mary responded (recall her response to the news of Elizabeth’s pregnancy)? What emotions do you think they experienced? Is there an incident in your own life with which you can compare Mary’s experience? What virtues did you exhibit? How was the presence of Christ revealed to you in that time and how did His presence encourage you?
  

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Lenten Journey Through the Sorrows of Mary: Every grace

February 19
“Every grace that this world receives is ordinarily distributed in three steps: from God to Christ, from Christ to the Virgin, and from the Virgin to us.”
-St. Bernardine of Siena
For Reflection:
How are these three steps visible in both the moment of Mary’s Annunciation as well as in Simeon’s prophesy at Jesus’ Presentation? Journal any insights or blessings you receive as you ponder this reality.
  

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