Our Lady's Deed of Hope

Memoria Passionis - a poster kept in the main cloister corridor during these feast days
Memoria Passionis - a poster kept in the main cloister corridor during these feast days

Those of you who are liturgically-minded may be aware that the past two days were grand feasts - Sunday, September 14  was the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and Monday, September 15 was the Feast of our Sorrowful Mother...for Passionists these are celebrated as great solemnities...

For our Sorrowful Mother's feast the Mass reading is taken from the book of Judith 3:17-20:

All the people were greatly astonished. They bowed down and worshiped God, saying with one accord, "Blessed are you, our God, who today have brought to nought the enemies of your people."

Then Uzziah said to her: "Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God, above all the women on earth; and blessed be the Lord God, the creator of heaven and earth, who guided your blow at the head of the chief of our enemies.

Your deed of hope will never be forgotten by those who tell of the might of God.

May God make this redound to your everlasting honor, rewarding you with blessings, because you risked your life when your people were being oppressed, and you averted our disaster, walking uprightly before our God." And all the people answered, "Amen! Amen!"

Read the entire story of Judith here.

I love this scripture passage! It is a typology of our Sorrowful Mother, the valiant woman who stood beneath the cross of Christ becoming the New Eve. It also refers to the Protoevangelium in Genesis 3:15

This is important because was the first time God revealed something about his plan for the salvation of the world- Jesus Christ, Son of Mary (the woman) who would bruise the head of the devil (the serpent). In referring to these verses as the protoevangelium the Latin means 'first Gospel' coming from the word proto or protos meaning first (from where we get the English word prototype etc) and evangelium referring to the Gospel or Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ. The wound to Jesus 'heel' would not be ultimately fatal, (in terms of hinting that Jesus would rise again) whereas the blow to Satan would indeed destroy him in that mankind would have a ready remedy for sin through the cross.

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The Gospel for this Mass is taken from John 19:25-27

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother 11 and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

The reading from Vespers of this feast is 2 Timothy 2:10-12a and it depicts the magnanimity of our Blessed Mother in her role of Christ's redemption of the world:

Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, together with eternal glory. This saying is trustworthy: If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him.

Here is the Responsory to this reading - such a profound meditation:

Mary, queen of heaven and empress of the whole world, stood close to the cross of Christ.

Blessed is she who, while remaining alive, earned the glory of the martyrs.

She stood close to the cross of Christ.

This feast was also a very joyful occasion as it was the entrance day of our new aspirant Christie Anna!

Christie Anna with Ennis and Gloria Dodd, the delightful couple who brought her to the monastery
Christie Anna with Ennis and Gloria Dodd, the delightful couple who brought her to the monastery

This photo was taken just after Christie Anna received her tiny Passion Sign pin and was officially received into the aspirancy program. Her chapel veil is covering the pin.

This is the 30 and under gang!
This is the 30 and under gang!

Please keep Christie Anna in your prayers as she continues her discernment of a Passionist vocation. And pray for all Passionist Nuns as we seek to imitate our Lady in her valiant deed that brought hope to the world. May God reward you!