Day Two – November 30, 2023
The Second Beatitude: Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Mt 5:4)
Just as soon as His listeners thought that our Lord would play the flute for them with His sermon on happiness, He sang them a dirge. Blessed are those who mourn.
Mary was blessed as a woman of sorrow. To learn from Mary’s example, we return today to the Temple in Jerusalem. More than 600 years prior to Jesus’ Presentation in the Temple, the prophet Jeremiah looked upon the ruins of the ancient Temple and mourned. He mourned in search of comfort.
Come, all who pass by the way,
pay attention and see:
Is there any sorrow like my sorrow? (Lam1:12)
The echoes of Jeremiah’s mourning were renewed deep in the heart of Mary on the day she stood within the walls of the new Temple and listened to Simeon’s prophecy.
Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted, and you yourself a sword will pierce, so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. (Lk 2:34-35)
It’s hard to say what pierced her heart more, the prospect of her own suffering or the prophecy of her Son’s coming persecution. I dare to say that it was the latter. Even so, the two are inseparable. In a mystical sense it is almost as if by his prophetic words Simeon blesses a spiritual marriage between the heart of the Mother and the suffering Heart of her Son. What God has joined together in the work of redemption let no man separate (cf. Mk 10:9).
But how often have we tried to separate suffering and joy, mourning and consolation?
This is the great mystery of the Beatitude and the great witness of Mary. All mourning is blessedness when suffered with the Lord. For, if we truly love Christ, not even the bitterness of mourning and suffering can separate us from His love. And in loving Him, thus, we are consoled.
How strong is your love for Christ? Is it strong only in consolations or is it also strong in times of desolation? How do respond to moments of suffering? How does Mary teach you how to respond through her example in the Temple? What can you learn from her faith, her trust, and her serenity? How does she teach you to unite your heart to Christ? How does she teach you to find the blessedness in mourning?
Seize the day and make it all Hers!
Fr. Christopher Etheridge, IVE