From “At the Cross Her Station Keeping” to “Queen of Heaven, Rejoice, Alleluia”: Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017 (The Centenary of Fatima)

J.M.J. During his seventy Marian discourses given as his Wednesday General Audience addresses from 1995 to 1997, Saint John Paul II, among many other matters, touched upon “the Blessed Virgin’s association with Christ’s mission (that) reached its culmination in Jerusalem, at the time of the Redeemer’s Passion and Death.” (April 2, 1997)

His Holiness continued: “In the Fourth Gospel, Saint John says that ‘standing by the Cross of Jesus were His Mother, and His Mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene’ (19:25). By using the verb ‘to stand’, which literally means ‘to be on one’s feet’, ‘to stand erect’, perhaps the Evangelist intends to present the dignity and strength shown in their sorrow by Mary and the other women. The Blessed Virgin’s ‘standing erect’ at the foot of the Cross recalls her unfailing constancy and extraordinary courage in facing suffering. In the tragic events of Calvary, Mary is sustained by faith, strengthened during the events of her life and especially during Jesus’ public life. The Council recalls that ‘the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the Cross’ (Lumen gentium, n.58).”

We can only marvel at Our Sorrowful Mother’s complete and consistent devotion to Jesus. “Sharing his deepest feelings, she counters the arrogant insults addressed to the crucified Messiah with forbearance and pardon, associating herself with his prayer to the Father: ‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do’ (Lk 23:34). By sharing in the feeling of abandonment to the Father’s will expressed in Jesus’ last words on the Cross: ‘Father into Your hands I commend My Spirit!’ (ibid., 23:46), she thus offers, as the Council notes, loving consent ‘to the immolation of this Victim which was born of her’ (Lumen gentium, n. 58).”

In the final analysis, death and fear do not overcome, but rather life and trust. After the Easter Vigil of Holy Saturday concludes, and for the duration of the Eastertide, the Church replaces the Angelus with the Regina Caeli, “inviting the faithful to join in the spiritual joy of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer. The Blessed Virgin’s gladness at Christ’s Resurrection is even greater if one considers her intimate participation in Jesus’ entire life.”

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