“Vulnera Tua merita mea!”
It should come as no surprise that, as a member of the Passionist Congregation, Gabriel Possenti had a deep devotion to the sufferings of Christ. His was no morbid or gloomy spirituality, however – following in the footsteps of his holy Founder, St. Paul of the Cross, Gabriel joyfully saw each and every mystery of the Passion as a proclamation of God’s infinite love. “Jesus went to excess in order to show us His love,” he wrote. “It wasn’t necessary that He die. But what would have been enough for justice was not sufficient for love.” A favorite prayer of his was “Vulnera tua merita mea” – “Your Wounds are my merit!”
At Profession, each Passionist receives a special crucifix as a reminder of his or her dedication to Christ Crucified. Father Norbert tells us that Gabriel’s Profession Crucifix was especially dear to him, as it constantly reminded him of the love of God “who, while we were yet sinners,” chose to die for us. The Eucharist, as the ongoing memorial of the Passion, was especially dear to Gabriel; before the tabernacle, he could adore, truly present, the One Who suffered and died for love of him.
Most importantly, Gabriel’s love for the Passion of Christ moved him to accept the sufferings of his own life with a spirit of love and joy. “Whoever does not carry the Cross of Jesus Christ and does not follow Him cannot be His disciple,” the young religious wrote to his father. Herein lies one of the great beauties of the Passionist charism: it teaches us that our sufferings, far from being useless, have infinite meaning and worth when united to the Cross of Christ!
O good St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin, you were taught by God to love the Passion of Jesus and to remember the Sorrows of Mary His Mother. By her side, you stood by the Cross of Jesus and shared her compassion. Following her, you grew in love for God and all His people. O St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin, we humbly ask you to intercede before God on our behalf, especially for the intentions we now present before you.
For our vocation promotion endeavors
For all the women whom God is calling to join our monastic family
For the spiritual and temporal needs of our novitiate members and the novice directress
For all who pass through this novitiate – this holy training ground – that they will respond generously to God’s graces poured out in their hearts during this time of intense formation
We place our trust in your prayers St. Gabriel and wish to follow your example. Remember us, and especially our youth, with compassion. Support us all our days by your holy prayers. And when this life is done, may we join you in heaven in the company of Jesus and Mary. Amen!