These two special days, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (September 14) and the Memorial of Our Lady of the Sorrows (September 15), are so appropriately scheduled in the church calendar of our Catholic faith. They both evoke love for Jesus, our Divine Redeemer, and Mary, the first disciple and example of excellence. These special days invite us to a unique closeness to Jesus her Son and Mary His Mother. Jesus and Mary extend an invitation of joining her Holy Family on a pilgrimage that involves love, sacrifice, the cross, and sorrow.
The Exultation of the Cross symbolizes Jesus’ triumph over death and the joy of His words, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself,” (John 12:32). We are drawn close to Jesus, Mary, and the Apostles on Good Friday. We echo the words, “Behold the wood of the cross, on which hung the salvation of the world.” We kneel or bow to venerate the cross–a cause of life, a means of forgiveness and reconciliation, a symbol of love, peace and mercy. When we meditate on the cross, Christ’s love urges us to follow His way and His holy will in our lives. Draw near to us, Lord, every woman and man you are inviting to be your disciples with loving trust to accept your intimate invitation as Mary committed to pilgrimage with her son, Jesus.
Our Lady of Sorrows solidifies the deep faith Mary had in her son. She journeyed with Jesus living out the words of the divine plan of Simeon’s prophecy, “and you yourself a sword shall pierce,” (Luke 2:35). In the Alleluia verse, we hear the profound words, “Blessed are you, O Blessed Virgin Mary; without dying, you won the martyr’s crown beside the cross of the Lord.” Mary’s fiat resonated in our hearts the depth of her faith and trust in God. Can we daily say “Yes” to God like our Mother, Mary?
Our Lady of Sorrows invited us in our devotion to Mary, the only Mother of our Little Company, to meditate intentionally on the seven sorrowful mysteries in her life. Each day, we can use one of the mysteries as. part of our prayer and meditation. What faith and trust Mary had in God for the sorrows she accepted and endured as a result of her Fiat.
We are pilgrim people, people of love, people of sacrifice, people of sorrow, and people of the cross. We live our pilgrimage, love, sacrifice, sorrow, and the cross remembering our past, living our present, and hoping for our future generations to love, serve, and receive the daily invitations to respond to God’s will in our lives. What is our fiat? What is your fiat?
Let us pray to be more like Jesus and Mary as we remember, meditate on, and contemplate the fullness of the Scripture readings for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. Jesus said “YES” to the Cross just as Mary said YES to the Sorrows and Exalted Discipleship.
Written by Sister Louise Busby, D.C.