Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 545: Reflection on Zechariah 2:5-9, 14-15a and Luke 9:43b-45
“I raised my eyes and looked, and there was a man with a measuring cord in his hand. I asked, ‘Where are you going?’ And he said, ‘To measure Jerusalem—to see how great its width is and how great its length.’ Then the angel who spoke with me advanced as another angel came out to meet him and he said to the latter, ‘Run, speak to that official: Jerusalem will be unwalled, because of the abundance of people and beasts in its midst. I will be an encircling wall of fire for it, and I will be the glory in its midst.’
‘Sing and rejoice, daughter Zion! Now, I am coming to dwell in your midst. Many nations will bind themselves to the LORD on that day. They will be my people, and I will dwell in your midst.’” -Zechariah 2:5-9, 14-15a
“While they were all amazed at his every deed, he said to his disciples, ‘Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.’ But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.” -Luke 9: 43b-45
The prophet presents a beautiful image of the Master Architect developing a master plan for the City where he intends to dwell. The plans provide more than adequate space to accommodate all the people who would partake in the eternal wedding feast. While the living space would be adequate to encompass all, it would also be intimate. The streets of the city will stretch north and south, east, and west, bringing each traveler into communion with the Community of Love, the Blessed Trinity where all are welcome, and each person is known by name.
The City of God was designed with inclusion and expansion in mind. There would always be room for one more, close to the heart of God. All would find a resting place in safety and security, and no one who earnestly sought entry would be excluded. Each individual will feel safe knowing that they live and move and have their being in God. “If we fix our gaze on Jesus, his face comes to be reflected on our own: his features become ours, the love of Christ wins us over and transforms us.” (Pope Francis) Having been conformed to Christ, each person will know him/herself to be a living stone used to build up the City whose builder is God.
The dearly-beloved Son of God was despised and rejected by mankind. The heavenly Father took great delight in him, even though the world turned its back on him and considered him worthless. The Master Architect chose the stone of salvation that was rejected by the people to be the cornerstone on which each living stone would find its place. Each stone is to be fitted into a proper relationship with God, and with others who contributed to the building of the Heavenly Jerusalem. I am reminded of the hymn we sing for the dedication of a church:
“O city of our God, heavenly Jerusalem,
“vision dear of peace and love,
“With living stones built up on high,
“Art the joy of Heav’n above.”
Just as Jesus allowed himself to be used by the Father and abused by the people who crucified him, we must be willing to be shaped and formed according to the master’s plan. As Christ gave his back to those that beat him, we must be willing to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that the world metes out to us. Following in the footsteps of Christ, we can advance through life with Jesus’s confident trust, because we have come to believe: “Greater is he who is in us than he that is in the world” (1Jn. 4:4).
Following in the footsteps of the one who prayed that “they all may be one,” “we strive to view one another no longer as strangers but as friends, no longer as foes but as brothers and sisters” (Pope Francis). Because we know ourselves to be beloved sons and daughters of God, our lives can become a testimony to warmth of love amid the icy coldness of contempt and division in the world. Consumed by the Fire of Divine Love, we can be a light in the bleakness and darkness of hatred around us. “The image of God shining forth in humanity must no longer be obscured” (Pope Francis).
-Fr. John Denburger, OCSO; Genesee Abbey
Oh, good and gracious Lord, you granted your chosen people a dwelling place fit for yourself. You gave them plans with which it was to be built, and guided the completion of every detail. Through the folly of man, the privilege of living in your presence was lost, both in the Garden, and in the ancient Jerusalem.
Let us, your humble servants, be made into fit dwellings for you. Guide our souls and let us follow the plans you have set out for us. Through the merits of your Most Beloved Son, let us never lose the unfathomable privilege of living in your presence, that we may make our journey to the Heavenly Jerusalem with surety and steadfast hearts.
Quote from a Saint:
“Remember, we must get to heaven, and it would be madness to think we could do so without sometimes retiring into our souls so as to know ourselves, or thinking of our failings and of what we owe to God, or frequently imploring His mercy. Our Lord also says, ‘No man cometh to the Father but by Me,’ and, ‘He that seeth Me seeth the Father also.’
-St. Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle
Think about the meaning of “Jerusalem” and the “City of God.” What are some of the things that scripture tells us about such a place?
How is the Biblical meaning of “Jerusalem” relevant to our own lives in the present?
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” In what ways have we rejected Christ, both in our society, and in our own hearts?
Where do you see God’s handiwork, either in your life, or in the world? Where can you see clearly that Christ is the “cornerstone”?
How can we allow ourselves to be conformed to the image of Christ, so that we may become part of the Heavenly Jesusalem?
How should we respond when the world rejects us, as it rejected Christ?
The Lord takes delight in us, his beloved sons and daughters. What makes us forget this identity? How can we live this identity more fully?
Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 544: Blind to Truth: Reflection on 1 Timothy 1:12-16, Luke 6:39-42
“I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost. But for that reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life.” -1 Timothy 1:12-16
“And he told them a parable, ‘Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? How can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,” when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.’” -Luke 6:39-42
In the Gospel, Jesus speaks of the heart without using the word. There is the heart blind to itself, yet ready and quick to point out the cause of others’ blindness, seeing the”splinter” yet missing through blindness the beam in their own eye. It is acting in what appears concern or charity for another when, in fact, it is a personal cover-up, nothing more than self-aggrandizement at another’s expense.
How easy it is to ﬁnd fault in another and evade the faults in one’s own heart. The tortuous heart Jeremiah speaks about (Jer 17:9) is an evasive heart, evading truth, evading reality, searching, always watching for the mistakes of others. In his letter to Timothy, St. Paul in humility admitted, “I was once a blasphemer, a persecutor and an arrogant man.” Not merely splinters, rather beams. No evasion there, rather a very honest, humble confession.
If and when we evade the truth about ourselves, we evade reality, and in rejecting the truth, we reject the Truth Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord, Divine Truth, is dedicated to setting us free from our sins and shortcomings. Sadly, evasion keeps one in bondage.
Receiving the living Truth in the Holy Eucharist and then rejecting the Truth in our daily relationships is like a child playing with a toy: at one moment enjoying the toy, and in another casting it aside. Truly how tortuous and blind the heart can be.
Hopefully, by God’s grace and our desire, our hearts are transformed from stone to flesh, from blindness to sight, from bondage to liberation. Turning to Christ, to Truth Himself, we are able to see ourselves as He sees us, as sons and daughters of God. With humility, we can take St. Paul’s example, put our sins behind us, and glorify the Lord.
-Fr. John Denburger, OCSO, Genesee Abbey
edited by Erica Faunce
We beseech Thee, Almighty God, graciously incline thine ear to the assembly of thy Church, and let thy mercy to us prevent thine anger, for if Thou shouldst mark iniquities there shall no creature be able to stand before Thee; and in that same admirable charity whereby Thou didst create us, pardon us sinners, and destroy not the work of thy own hands.
Hear our prayers, O Lord, and enter not into judgment with thy servants; for, knowing that there is no justice in us on which we can dare to presume, we acknowledge no other fount of mercy whereby we can be washed from our sins and delivered from our infirmities, but only
Thee, O God.
O God, in whose sight every heart trembles and every conscience is awed; show forth thy mercy upon us, thy suppliants, that we, who trust not in the excellence of our own merit, may never experience thy judgments, but may receive Thy pardon. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Quote from a Saint:
“Sure of her competence as the bearer of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the Church reaffirms the need to reflect upon truth. This is why I have decided to address you, my venerable Brother Bishops, with whom I share the mission of ‘proclaiming the truth openly’ (2 Cor 4:2), as also theologians and philosophers whose duty it is to explore the different aspects of truth, and all those who are searching; and I do so in order to offer some reflections on the path which leads to true wisdom, so that those who love truth may take the sure path leading to it and so find rest from their labours and joy for their spirit.”
-Pope St. John Paul II, Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason), A Letter to the Bishops
How are we able to tell if we have a “beam in our own eye”? How can it be removed?
Saint Paul experienced physical blindness after his first encounter with Christ. Through Ananias, the Lord extended his mercy to Paul, and he went on to become a great saint. In what way is the Lord extending mercy to us? How can we follow Paul’s example?
What does Jesus say will happen when the blind lead the blind? Have you observed or experienced this in your own life?
A heart detached from reality is detached from the Truth. How can we distinguish what is Truth, and what is a false reality of our own making?
When we accept and live in the Truth, how does it affect the way we act, especially towards others?
Why is it especially important that we Christians conform ourselves to the Truth, to the love of Jesus Christ?
When our sight is clear, it is our duty to charitably point out “beams” and “splinters” in the eyes of our brothers and sisters. How can this be done with tact and prudence?
How can we look to Saints such as Paul and John Paul II to guide us to the truth?
Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 543: Renewing Spirit: A Reflection on Acts 2:1-11
“When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, ‘Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.’” Acts 2:1-11
Pentecost is not a once-for-all feast. Rather, it is an ongoing celebration of the gift of God’s Spirit, who is always with us, inseparable from us. The fire that was ignited in the hearts of the disciples gathered in that upper room in Jerusalem continues to inflame the hearts of all who have been gathered together in the Church. This Church is our upper room where we come together in a communion of faith and love. Pentecost came for the disciples, after fifty days of uncertainty, not unlike the uncertainty and anxiety we experience today. Yes, Christ is risen from the dead. Yes, Christ conquered death by his death. Yes, Christ granted life to those in the tomb. Yes, the disciples touched him and shared meals with him. However, they were still overcome by doubts and fears. They huddled together behind closed doors because they were uncertain about the future and were too frightened to publicly proclaim the risen Lord. We have a lot in common with that first group of disciples.
Many of us are isolated from each other. We are paralyzed with shame because of scandals in the Church. We are divided into liberal and conservative camps. We have become so committed to our private, little wars that we no longer see ourselves as a communion of faith and love. At this time of sorrow, anxiety, and bitterness, I am reminded of the prayer offered by St. John XXIII: “Renew Your wonders in this our day, as by a new Pentecost. Grant to Your Church that, being of one mind and steadfast in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and following the lead of blessed Peter, it may advance the reign of our Divine Savior, the reign of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace. Amen. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and manifest among us the signs and wonders of a new Pentecost.”
Claiming the efficacy of this prayer, may we gain spiritual riches, uncover new sources of energy, and be able to face the future without fear. While we are pilgrims on earth, let us journey towards our heavenly homeland. Illuminated by the Light of the Holy Spirit, may we help our brothers and sisters discover their true nature, dignity, and purpose. May we experience the dawning of a new day and be bathed in the radiant splendor of the Spirit.
No matter how isolated we are; no matter how overwhelmed by guilt and shame we may be; no matter how stuck we are in the little worlds of our own making, the Holy Spirit can recreate us and renew the face of the earth. When the Holy Spirit manifests itself, worries disappear, and fear is overcome. When the wind of the Spirit blows, lives are changed, and hearts are enabled to run the path of God’s commandments. It is the Spirit who makes Christ live in us.
Our spirits need the refreshing touch of the Spirit in order to, not only survive, but thrive in faith. Every word of Christ that is received in the heart by faith comes accompanied by the breath of the Spirit; without it, there is no light, no life. Without the Spirit, Christian life unravels, because we lack the love that brings everything together. Without the Spirit, Jesus remains a person from the past; but with the Spirit, he is alive and present in our own time. Without the Spirit, Scripture is just an old piece of literature; but with the Spirit, it is a living and life-giving word. We need the Holy Spirit to regenerate us as Church, as the Chosen People of God, and as a human family. The Spirit gives us perennially young hearts. The Spirit frees hearts chained by fear. He overcomes all resistance. Where the Spirit blows, things are brought to life. Hearts of stone are transformed into hearts of flesh. Thus the Spirit revives our first love.
As we prepare to return to some semblance of normal after the initial wave of the pandemic, we need to keep in mind the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis: “We never emerge from a crisis just as we were. We come out either better or worse.” For this reason, we need to breathe in the breath of the Spirit that frees us from fear and gives us hope. May the Holy Spirit awaken our slumbering hearts and open our eyes, so that we may see and hear the Risen Lord and boldly proclaim his victory over sin and death. May the Holy Spirit blow upon our world the soothing warmth of peace and the refreshing cool of hope. -Fr. Jerome Machar, O.C.S.O., Genesee Abbey
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.
-Veni Sancte Spiritus
Quote from a Saint:
“The Church and the world need more than ever that the ‘miracle of Pentecost should continue in history’… Have we forgotten the Holy Spirit? Certainly not! We want him, we honor him, and we love him... It ought to rejuvenate the world, give it back a spirituality, a soul, a religious thought; it ought to reopen the world’s closed lips to prayer and open its mouth to song, to joy, to hymns, and to witnessing.” -St. Paul VI
How have you seen the Holy Spirit transform fear or doubt?
The Holy Spirit enabled the disciples to communicate in different tongues. What are some other ways that the Holy Spirit draws people together?
Think about a time in our Church’s history when a division was overcome. Who were the key participants, and how did the Spirit work through them?
St. John XXIII spoke of a “new Pentecost.” What might this look like on a local level? On a national level? An international level?
What obstacles in our broken world make it difficult to receive the Spirit? How might these obstacles be overcome?
Is there a part of your heart that is resistant to the work of the Spirit? If so, how can you begin to let the Spirit work there?
Think about the miracles in the book of Acts, and the work that the Apostles carried out. What sort of work may the Spirit be prompting you to do?
Inspired by the Spirit, Peter proclaims Jesus to be the Son of the Living God. How can we invoke the Spirit in order to know Christ better?
Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 542: Blindness to Mercy: A Reflection on Tobit 2:9-14
“That same night I washed and went into my courtyard, where I lay down to sleep beside the wall. Because of the heat I left my face uncovered. I did not know that sparrows were perched on the wall above me; their warm droppings settled in my eyes, causing white scales on them. I went to doctors for a cure, but the more they applied ointments, the more my vision was obscured by the white scales, until I was totally blind. For four years I was unable to see, and all my kindred were distressed at my condition. Ahiqar, however, took care of me for two years, until he left for Elam.
At that time my wife Anna worked for hire at weaving cloth, doing the kind of work women do. When she delivered the material to her employers, they would pay her a wage. On the seventh day of the month of Dystrus, she finished the woven cloth and delivered it to her employers. They paid her the full salary and also gave her a young goat for a meal. On entering my house, the goat began to bleat. So I called to my wife and said: ‘Where did this goat come from? It was not stolen, was it? Give it back to its owners; we have no right to eat anything stolen!’ But she said to me, ‘It was given to me as a bonus over and above my wages.’ Yet I would not believe her and told her to give it back to its owners. I flushed with anger at her over this. So she retorted: ‘Where are your charitable deeds now? Where are your righteous acts? Look! All that has happened to you is well known!’ -Tobit 2: 9-14
Tobit was an honest and just man who was committed to obeying God’s commandments and giving to the poor, at all costs. Tobit even buried a murder victim, at the risk of his own life. St. Ambrose wrote, “Nothing is more excellent than this duty, to give to him who can no longer make a return to you, to deliver from the birds, to deliver from the beasts your companion in nature.”
Then comes the sting. Exhausted after performing the good work of burying the dead, Tobit fell asleep next to the courtyard wall. There, he was blinded. Because of his physical blindness, he was unable to perform his usual works of mercy. He who had shown mercy to others now needed to rely on the generosity of others. The clash between Tobit and his wife reveals his spiritual blindness. He was unable to admit that his wife was just as righteous as he. He was blind to the wonders of grace that God was working in his life. Luckily, she held the mirror for him and allowed him to look into his own heart.
It is not enough to pour oneself out in the service of others. One must also be willing to be served by others. The heart that has been touched by love turns to God. In this encounter, the individual is filled with joy and gratitude. In their darkest hours, the Fire of Divine love consumes them and turns their sadness into joy.
We must learn to call out to God who is our rock and stronghold. We need to ask him to enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may cling to the hope that is ours as his children. When we are feeling most vulnerable, we need to turn to the Lord who manifests his strength in weakness. It is when we are down and out that Christ extends his nail-scarred hand to pick us up. It is not what we do that causes God to turn His attention towards us, but rather, what we need. God desires to redeem everything that we hand over to His will and power.
-Fr. Jerome Machar, O.C.S.O., Genesee Abbey
Corporal Works of Mercy
Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Shelter the homeless
Visit the sick
Visit the imprisoned
Bury the dead
Give alms to the poor
Spiritual Works of Mercy***
Admonish the sinner
Instruct the ignorant
Counsel the doubtful
Bear wrongs patiently
Forgive offenses willingly
Comfort the afflicted
Pray for the living and the dead
***Not everyone is considered capable or obligated to perform the first three Spiritual Works of Mercy before they possess the proper tact, knowledge, or canonical training to do so. Everyone is obliged to perform the works of mercy, according to his own ability and the need of his neighbor. It is important to remember that ordinary deeds done every day to relieve the corporal or spiritual needs of others are true works of mercy, if done in the name of Christ.
Blessed are you Lord, ever-loving God. You never cease to love and forgive our many faults. Support our efforts to be people of compassion, recognizing your mercy to us calls us to be merciful towards those who have wronged us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Quote from a Saint:
“I hope that your gratitude will place you in the disposition necessary to receive the graces you need to serve your sick poor in a spirit of gentleness and great compassion, in imitation of Our Lord who acted this way with the most unfortunate.”
-St. Louise de Marillac
What forms does God’s mercy take in our lives? How can we recognize it?
What happens when we reject God’s mercy? How does it affect us and those around us?
Anna rightfully points out Tobit’s rejection of the Lord’s mercy. Who can you depend on to do the same for you?
What are some things that might prevent us from recognizing God’s mercy?
The Christian life calls us to perform works of mercy. Looking at the lists above, which works have you performed lately? Which works do you struggle to perform? Why?
Aside from Tobit, where else do we see Works of Mercy in scripture? What do these passages tell us about the Works of Mercy?
How does receiving God’s grace and mercy help us to perform the Works of Mercy for others?
Think of a time when the Lord extended his mercy to you through someone else. What sort of life does that person seem to lead?
What are some of the benefits that spring from a disposition of gratitude towards God?
Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 541: Our Lady of Sorrows:
A Reflection on 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 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. John 19:25-27
For someone who has no regard for the Blessed Virgin Mary the phrase “standing by the cross” is nothing more than an aside: “Oh, by the way, His mother was there, too.” But for all those devoted to her, Mother of the Body of Christ, these words “standing by the cross” speak clearly of her life and her role in the story of our salvation. She is the only one who was with Jesus from the very beginning to the horrendous end.
Mary is not only the Mother of the Lord; she is also the most faithful disciple. She stood there with the Beloved Disciple and some women. What was going through her mind as she looked upon her Son, His body so terribly abused, hardly recognizable? She knew Him as no one else did. She had seen and experienced His love, His goodness, His uniqueness. She had witnessed His miraculous powers and heard His words. The horror she now saw, looking upon her crucified Son, did not diminish her love in any way.
If we could ask her what she was thinking, she might speak of the words of the angel that he would be great, the prediction of Simeon about His being destined for the fall and rising of many, of a piercing sword. Perhaps she was holding in her heart the ideas of greatness and suffering together.
She might also tell us that, in the midst of Christ’s suffering and her own anguish, she knew she was receiving His love to the last. She heard His concern when He commended her to the one whom He loved. Even the most terrible torture of crucifixion could not affect His love. She knew his heart.
As we contemplate Our Lady of Sorrows, by God’s grace we can say that we know Him too, though not as well as the Blessed Mother. We can ask for her intercession, so that whatever we experience in life, whatever suffering comes our way, we can always find support, refuge, strength in the Savior’s love which is “stronger than death.” To do so, to live so, is truly a Marian stance, a Marian virtue. It should not be otherwise as we dedicate ourselves to her, and through her, to her Divine Son. -Fr. John Denburger, OCSO, Genesee Abbey
Devotion to Our Lady's Seven Sorrows
Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows became a standard devotion in the Church around the 14th century. It was revealed to St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373) that devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary's Seven Sorrows would bring great signal graces. The devotion consists in praying seven Hail Mary’s while meditating on the Seven Sorrows of Mary.
Mary, in a unique way, willingly suffered alongside her Divine Son as he gave his life to save the world, and she felt the bitterness of his passion as only a mother can. This devotion is especially remembered during September, the Month of Our Lady of Sorrows (the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is September 15th), and during the season of Lent.
The Seven Sorrows of Mary:
1. The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:34-35)
2. The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-21)
3. The Loss of Jesus for Three Days (Luke 2:41-50)
4. The Carrying of the Cross (John 19:17)
5. The Crucifixion of Jesus (John 19:18-30)
6. Jesus Taken Down from the Cross (John 19:39-40)
7. Jesus Laid in the Tomb (John 19:39-42)
Let intercession be made for us, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, now and at the hour of our death, before the throne of Thy mercy, by the Blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, whose most holy soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow in the hour of Thy bitter Passion. Through Thee, Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost lives and reigns, world without end. Amen.
Quote from a Saint
“Trials and tribulations offer us a chance to make reparation for our past faults and sins. On such occasions the Lord comes to us like a physician to heal the wounds left by our sins. Tribulation is the divine medicine.”
-St. Augustine of Hippo
1. As Christians, how are we called to view suffering? Why?
2. What drew Mary and the other disciples to the foot of the Cross? How can we let ourselves be drawn in the same way?
3. How can we learn to hold greatness and suffering in our hearts at the same time?
4. What can the Blessed Mother’s life teach us about trust in the Lord?
5. What are some practical things we can do in times of trial and suffering to entrust ourselves to the Blessed Mother?
6. Think of a saint or someone you know who suffers for the sake of Christ. What are the fruits of their efforts?
7. Think about the tenderness of Christ’s love as he commends the Blessed Mother to John. What might John be thinking as this happens?
8. Is there suffering in your life (past or present) that you haven’t yet presented to the Lord? What steps can you take to do so?