The nature of Mary's Compassion (part IV)

The Compassion of Mary was an example to the whole Church. It is part of the teaching of the four Gospels. It performs a function for all ages of the world. It is a continual source of holiness in the midst of each generation of the faithful. It is a living, grace-diffusing power among the children of God. It actually leads multitudes of souls to Jesus. It breaks the bonds of sin and evil habits. It melts cold hearts, and stimulates the lukewarm affections of the torpid and the worldly. It pours light and tenderness, and a spirit of prayer, and a love of suffering, and a thirst for penance, into countless souls, between the sunrise and sunset of each day, and in the whole breadth of the world from pole to pole. It models Saints; it animates religious orders; it is the type of a special spiritual life to individual souls. It rises up to heaven like an endless angelic song.

Everywhere in the Church there is a sound of it. Out of seven deep places it echoes everlastingly. Time and space have nothing to do with it. Simeon still prophesies, and we hear it, and a lifelong sadness runs thenceforth alongside of our perseverance in the ways of grace. Still Mary flies with Jesus into Egypt, and dwells there, and the Nile lapses by, and the shadows in our souls are the substances of grace. Still for three days does the childless Mother wander with darkened spirit, seeking for her Child, and finding Him, at last, in the temple.

Still is She meeting Him, again and again, with the heavy Cross upon His shoulders, and we the while meeting Him in her. Still is she at the foot of the Cross, alluring all Her children to Her. Still is she at the Deposition from the Cross, and at the Burial, acting over, again and again, those pathetic mysteries in the new hearts which the children of each generation give Her. Thus, her compassion is not merely her own. It authoritatively and authentically represented the whole Church on Calvary. She was present at the Passion, as it were officially, and in a double capacity, as co-operating with the Redeemer, and as representing the redeemed.

Taken from book by Father Frederick William Faber “At the foot of the Cross”


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