The word, "sword", contains
within itthe word, "word". Jesus, the Word himself,has come to bring a sword to humanity--a
sword of decision. Each person must take a stand in regard to the Lamb. One is
either for him or against him, either accepts or rejects him, believes in him
or does not. Jesus comes to engage the will of every person. Each of Mary's
seven swords of sorrow comes through her willful choice to be with her Son and
to identify with him in the mysteries of his life. For Mary these are
"participatory swords". Mary desires to unite each intercessor with her
full, active and conscious participation in the life of the Lamb, especially in
his death and resurrection.
Each of Mary's seven swords of
sorrow has inflicted a "wound of love" into her heart. We might call these,
"Mary's seven wounds of love"; for, each of them pierces her heart
because of her steadfast love of Jesus, and her unique relationship with him.
Each of these seven mysteries in the life of Jesus becomes for Mary in its own
way "a new annunciation" (emphasis on lowercase) which further unfolds the
paschal meaning of the Mystery of the Annunciation of the Lord. Each of these
seven swords serves a purpose of bringing Mary's faith to perfection and
uniting her perfectly to the sacrifice of the Lamb.
For Mary these seven swords are
simultaneously "dividing-separating swords" and "unifying swords": They are
intended to detach her from all else in order to unite her more fully to Jesus
as he adheres fully to the Father's will. Hence, each is meant to be understood
in the context of union with God. Each serves to align Mary's will more
perfectly with that of the Lamb--of emptying and "depriving" Mary of everything
and anything that might keep her from being united more intimately to God in
faith. Hence, they are "pruning swords". We, too, need to experience
these pruning swords if our intercession is to bear good fruit. Mary desires
tohave each of us share in her willful
self-denial: "Happy is that soul in which Mary...is planted...happier again is
the soul in which she brings forth her fruit" ("The Secret of Mary". St. Louis
de Montfort; #78)--her fiat!
As Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa writes of
Mary, "She was exempt from sin but not from struggle and difficulty in
believing." (Mary, Mirror of the Church. Raniero Cantalamessa; p. 88).
Pope John Paul II has written of Mary concerning her involvement with Jesus
throughout his earthly life. The pope writes, "She suffered in her heartand was in a sort of dark night of faith" (John Paul II, "Redemtoris
Mater", 18 (AAS79, 1987.p. 382f). Like Jesus, Mary too "learned obedience from
what [she] suffered" (Heb. 5:8), and she was perfected by the grace of obedient
faith in the midst of her sufferings. Hence, these seven swords are
"perfecting swords" as well. Each
sword of sorrow offers Mary the opportunity to renew the 'yes' that she had
given at the Annunciation--now with a fresh consent of love, and a deepening
faith. Mary desires to share with each of us these mysteries ofher faith journey with Jesus.
(to be continued)
I recall an experience that has both tested and strengthened my faith?
is my usual response when I feel empty and/or deprived?
Any scripture from the text; Luke 9:23-24; John 15:1-5.
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