Try to see the joy in Easter through the eyes of Mary
Michael C. Barber, SJ
A few years ago, I made a Holy Week retreat in the Benedictine Abbey of St. Benoit du Lac in Quebec, Canada. The monks have this very interesting liturgical tradition.
On Easter morning, before processing in to the church for the Solemn Mass, they quietly gather at the statue of Our Lady in the cloister garden. There they sing a hymn to Mary, the words of which were something like "Rejoice O Mary Heavenly Queen, Rejoice O Mary. Thy sadness has turned to joy supreme. Rejoice Rejoice O Mary."
The monks do this to recognize the joy and happiness Mary felt on seeing her risen Son for the first time following his brutal death on the Cross. What pain she must have felt witnessing the suffering of her son. What joy she must have experienced in seeing him alive again.
Although not recorded in the Scriptures, St. Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises has the retreatant meditate on the appearance of Jesus to Mary following His resurrection.
Something he was so sure Jesus would have done, in order to relieve the pain of His mother — and to let her be among the first to experience the fulfillment of the promises God made to her. "Blessed is she who believed the promises made to her by the Lord would be fulfilled." (Luke 1:45).
If you have been undergoing suffering lately; if someone close to you had died this year; if you are feeling down or depressed ... try and experience the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus through the eyes of Mother Mary. And see if, through faith, your sadness can be turned to joy supreme.
I wish you and your families a Blessed and Happy Easter!
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