The Fourth Dolor of Mary
On the Meeting of Mary with Jesus,
when He was Going to Death

Christ Carrying the Cross (Detail of Mary) - by BRUEGEL, Pieter the Elder - from Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Jesus Christ, Redeemer of the World, makes his Way-to Calvary, condemned-to Crucifixion by a 'Kangaroo Court'. Along the Way, He meets His Mother Mary, Co-Redeemer. He is Bruised, Derided, Cursed and Defiled. Depicted above by Bruegel, is the Immeasurably Brutal effect-of this encounter-on Mary's Soul, as she Witnesses in Total Empathy, the slow-Death by-Torture of her Divine Son. He is Truly, God Incarnate, but is also Mary's Beloved Son, conceived in her Womb by the Power of the Holy Spirit. Her Heart, nearly Broken-with Sorrow, she gains support from Saint John-the-Evangelist, at her right-side, and from Saint Mary Magdalene, at her left-side. True-to the Will of God, she offers her Suffering, in Union-with her Son's, to the Heavenly Father for the Salvation-of the Whole World. Jesus was and is the Lamb-of-God, and carried His Holy Cross, for-us; and Mary underwent Crucifixion-of her Soul, Silently and without-Complaint - Perfectly Conformed-to the Will-of-God, for-us! How Unworthy we all are, of such a Sacrifice!



On the Meeting of Mary with Jesus,
when He was Going to Death

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

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Saint Bernardine says, that to-Form an Idea-of the Greatness-of Mary's Grief, in Losing her Jesus by-Death, we must consider the Love that this Mother bore-to her Son. All Mothers feel the Sufferings-of their Children, as their Own. Hence, when the Canaanite Woman, Entreated our Savior to-Deliver her Daughter, from the Devil that Tormented her, she asked Him rather to Pity her, the Mother, than her Daughter: "Have Mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David, my Daughter is Grievously Troubled-by a Devil". But what Mother ever Loved her Son, as Mary Loved Jesus? two_small_hearts.gif (9223 bytes) He was her only Son, reared Amidst so many Troubles; a most Amiable Son, and Tenderly Loving His Mother; a Son Who, at the same-Time that He was her Son, was also her God, Who had come on-Earth, to Enkindle-in the Hearts of-All, the Fire-of Divine Love, as He Himself declared: "I am come to Cast Fire on the Earth, and what 'Will' I, but that it be Kindled". Let us only Imagine what a Flame, He must have Enkindled-in that Pure Heart of His Holy Mother, void as it was, of every Earthly Affection. In fine', the Blessed Virgin herself told Saint Bridget, "that Love had Rendered her Heart, and that of her Son, but One". That Blending-together of Servant and Mother, of Son and God, Created-in the Heart-of Mary, a Fire composed-of a Thousand Flames. But the Whole-of this Flame-of Love was afterwards, at the Time-of the Passion, ranged-into a Sea-of-Grief, when Saint Bernardine declares, "that if all the Sorrows of the World were United (1), they would not equal that of the Glorious Virgin Mary". Yes, because, as Richard of-Saint-Lawrence writes, "the more tenderly this Mother Loved, so much the more Deeply, was she Wounded". The Greater was her Love for Him, the Greater was her Grief, at the sight-of His Sufferings; and especially when she met her Son, already Condemned-to Death, and Bearing His Cross to the Place-of Punishment. This is the Fourth (4th) Sword-of-Sorrow, which we have this Day, to-consider.


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Christ taking leave of His Mother - by LOTTO, Lorenzo - from Staatliche Museen, Berlin

(Mother Mary, supported by Mary Magdalene and the other Sorrowful Mary's, is Grief Stricken,
Immediately before Jesus and His Disciples Set-off for His Planned Visit to Jerusalem,
during the Jewish Passover, to undergo His Passion and Death, as Willed-by God.)


The Blessed Virgin revealed-to Saint Bridget, that when the Time-of the Passion-of our Lord was approaching, her eyes were always Filled-with Tears, as she thought-of her Beloved Son, Whom she was about-to Lose on-Earth, and that the Prospect-of that Approaching Suffering, caused her to be Seized-with Fear, and a Cold Sweat to-cover her Whole Body. Behold, the appointed-Day, at-length Came, and Jesus, in- Tears, went to Take leave-of His Mother, before going-to Death. Saint Bonaventure, contemplating Mary on that Night, says: "Thou didst spend it without Sleep, and whilst others Slept, thou didst remain Watching". In the Morning, the Disciples-of Jesus Christ came to this Afflicted Mother, the One to-bring her 'One' Account, the Other, 'Another'; but all were Tidings-of-Sorrow, Verifying-in her the Prophecy-of Jeremiah: "Weeping, she hath Wept in the Night, and her Tears are on her Cheeks; there is None-to Comfort her, of all them that were Dear to her". Some of them came-to Relate-to her the Cruel Treatment-of her Son in the House-of Caiaphas; and others, the Insults He had received-from Herod.

Finally, to-come-to our Point, I Omit all the Rest -- Saint John came, and announced-to Mary, that the most-'Unjust Pilate', had already Condemned Him to Die-on the Cross. I say the most-'Unjust Pilate'; for, as Saint Leo remarks, "This 'Unjust Judge', Condemned Him to Death, with the same Lips with which he had declared Him Innocent". "Ah, afflicted Mother", said Saint John, "thy Son is already Condemned-to Death; He is already gone-forth, bearing-Himself His Cross, on His Way-to Calvary", as the Saint afterwards Related-in his Gospel: "and Bearing His own Cross, He went-forth to that place which is called Calvary". "Come, if thou Desirest-to see Him, and bid Him a Last Farewell, in some Street through-which He must Pass".

Mary goes with Saint John, and by the Blood, with-which the Way is 'Sprinkled', she Perceives-that her Son has already passed. This she Revealed-to Saint Bridget: "By the Footsteps of my Son, I knew where He had Passed: for along the Way, the Ground was marked-with Blood". Saint Bonaventure, Represents the Afflicted Mother taking a shorter-Way, and placing herself at the Corner-of a Street, to meet her Afflicted Son, as He was Passing-by. "The most Sorrowful Mother", says Saint Bernard, "met her most Sorrowful Son". While Mary was waiting-in that Place, how much must she have-Heard said-by the Jews, who soon Recognized her, against her Beloved Son, and perhaps even Words-of Mocking, against herself. Alas, what a Scene-of Sorrows, then Presented itself before her! The Nails, the Hammers, the Cords, the Fatal Instruments-of the Death-of her Son, All-of-which were Borne-before Him. And what a Sword, must the Sound-of that Trumpet have been to her Heart, which Proclaimed the Sentence, Pronounced-against her Jesus! But behold, the Instruments, the Trumpeter, and the Executioners, have already passed; she Raised her Eyes, and saw, O God! a Young Man covered-with Blood and Wounds, from Head-to-Foot, a Wreath-of-Thorns on His Head, and Two (2) Heavy Beams on His Shoulders. She looked-at Him, and hardly-Recognized Him, saying, with Isaiah, "and we have seen Him, and there was no Sightliness". Yes, for the Wounds, the Bruises, and the Clotted Blood, gave Him the Appearance-of a Leper: "we have thought Him as it were a Leper", so that He could no-longer be Known: "and His Look was, as it were, Hidden and Despised; whereupon we esteemed Him not".

But at-length, Love revealed Him to her, and as-soon-as she knew that it indeed was He, ah what Love and Fear must then have filled her Heart! As Saint Peter-of-Alcantara says in his Meditations. On the One-hand, she Desired-to Behold Him, and on the Other, she Dreaded so Heart-rending a Sight. At length, they looked-at each other. The Son wiped-from His Eyes, the Clotted Blood, which, as it was revealed-to Saint Bridget, prevented Him from-Seeing, and looked-at His Mother, and the Mother looked-at her Son. Ah, looks-of Bitter Grief, which, as so-many Arrows, Pierced through-and-through those Two (2) Beautiful and Loving Souls. When Margaret, the Daughter-of Sir Thomas-More, met her Father on his Way-to Death, she could only exclaim, "O Father! Father!" and fell, Fainting-at his feet. Mary, at the sight-of her Son, on His Way to Calvary, did not Faint, no, for it was not 'Becoming', as Father Suarez remarks, that this Mother should Lose the use-of her Reason; nor did she Die; for God 'Reserved' her for Greater Grief: but though she did not Die, her Sorrow was enough, to-have Caused her a Thousand Deaths.

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Detail from the Altarpiece
Known-as Passion Polyptych,
Mary is Thrust-aside by a Guard -
from Musée du Louvre, Paris

The Mother would have Embraced Him, as Saint Anselm says, but the Guards thrust her aside, with Insults, and Urged-forward the Suffering Lord; and Mary followed Him. "Ah, Holy Virgin, whither goest thou? To Calvary. And canst thou Trust thyself to behold Him, Who is thy Life, hanging on a Cross? And thy Life shall be, as-it-were, hanging-before thee". "Ah, stop, my Mother" (says Saint Lawrence-Justinian, in the Name-of the Son), "where goest thou? Where wouldst thou come? If thou comest whither I go, thou wilt be Tortured-with My Sufferings, and I with thine". But although the Sight-of her Dying Jesus, was to Cost her such Bitter Sorrow, the Loving Mary will not leave Him: the Son 'Advanced', and the Mother 'Followed', to be also Crucified-with her Son, as the Abbot William says: "the Mother also took up her Cross and Followed, to be Crucified with Him". "We even Pity Wild Beasts", as Saint John-Chrysostom writes; and did we see a Lioness following her Cub to Death, the Sight would move us to-Compassion. And shall we not also be moved to-Compassion, on-seeing Mary follow her Immaculate Lamb to Death? Let us, then, Pity her, and let us also accompany her Son and herself, by bearing-with Patience, the Cross which our Lord Imposes-on us. Saint John-Chrysostom asks why Jesus Christ, in His other Sufferings, was pleased-to endure them alone, but, in-Carrying His Cross, was Assisted-by the Cyrenean? He replies, that it was: "that thou mayest Understand, that the Cross-of-Christ is not Sufficient, without thine".



- End of Liguori Sermon -


"that thou mayest Understand, that the Cross-of-Christ is not Sufficient, without thine".
Transubstantiate me so that like Bread which is now Thy Body,
And Wine which is now Thy Blood, I too may be Wholly Thee.

Jesus Christ is not a Rich Uncle, who gives us all Things, with no Labor or Suffering on our part.
Simon-of-Cyrene gives good-Example, Uniting (1) himself with Jesus, to help us Understand this.
The Cross Unites (1) Souls to Christ. Uniting (1) our Souls to Christ, is the only Way to Salvation.

Simon-of-Cyrene gives us good-Example, Uniting (1) himself to the Cross-of-Jesus


Think of how much Suffering there is in Hospitals, among the Poor, and the Bereaved.

Think also of how much of that Suffering Goes-to-Waste!

How many of those Lonesome, Suffering, Abandoned, Crucified Souls are saying-with Our Lord at the Moment of Consecration, "This is my Body. Take it"? And yet that is what we all should be saying at that Second:


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littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) I give myself to God.
Here is my body. Take it.
Here is my blood. Take it.
Here is my Soul, my Will, my Energy, my Strength,
My Property, my Wealth - all that I have. It is Yours.
Take it! Offer it! Offer it with Thyself to the Heavenly Father
In order that He, looking down on this Great Sacrifice,
May see only Thee, His Beloved Son, in Whom He is Well Pleased.
Transmute the Poor Bread of my Life into Thy Divine Life;
Thrill the Wine of my Wasted Life into Thy Divine Spirit;
Unite my Broken Heart with Thy Heart;
Change my Cross into a Crucifix.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Let not my Abandonment, and my Sorrow, and my Bereavement go to Waste.
Gather up the Fragments,
And as the Drop of Water is Absorbed by the Wine at the Offertory of the Mass,
Let my Life be Absorbed in Thee;
Let my little-Cross be Entwined with Thy Great Cross,
so that I may Purchase the Joys of Everlasting Happiness in Union with Thee.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Consecrate these Trials of my Life which would go Unrewarded, unless United with Thee;
Transubstantiate me so that like Bread which is now Thy Body,
And Wine which is now Thy Blood, I too may be Wholly Thee.
I care not if the Species Remain, or that, like the Bread and the Wine,
I Seem to all Earthly Eyes the Same as before.
My Station in Life, my Routine Duties, my Work, my Family -
All these are but the Species of my Life which may Remain Unchanged;
But the Substance of my Life, my Soul, my Mind, my Will, my Heart -
Transubstantiate them, Transform them Wholly into Thy Service,
So that through me, all may know how Sweet is the Love of Christ.


Every Theologian ought to be a Mystic;
Every D.D., or Doctor-of-Divinity, ought to be a Saint.
He knows enough to be one, but he does not Will it.
I am a D.D., but I am not a Saint.
May GOD have Mercy on my Soul.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Ph.D., D.D., LL.D., Litt.D.



Our Savior one-day appeared-to Sister Diomira, a Nun in Florence, and said, "Think of Me, and Love Me, and I will Think of thee and Love thee". At the same time, He presented her with a Bunch-of-Flowers and a Cross, signifying thereby that the Consolations-of the Saints in this World, are always to be accompanied-by the Cross. The Cross Unites (1) Souls to God. Blessed Jerome-Emilian, when a Soldier, and loaded-with Sins, was Shut-up by his Enemies in a Tower. There, moved-by his Misfortunes, and enlightened-by God to-change his Life, he had Recourse-to the ever-Blessed Virgin; and from that Time, by the Help-of this Divine Mother, he began-to lead the Life-of a Saint, so-much-so that he Merited Once (1), to see the very High Place, which God had prepared-for him in Heaven. He became the Founder-of the Religious Order-of-the-Somaschi, Died as a Saint, and has lately been Canonized-by the Holy Church.



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My Sorrowful Mother, by the Merit of that Grief which thou didst Feel, in-Seeing thy Beloved Jesus led-to Death, Obtain me the Grace, that I also may Bear-with Patience, the Crosses which God sends me.

Happy indeed shall I be, if I only Know how to Accompany thee with my Cross, until Death. Thou with thy Jesus -- and you were both Innocent -- hast carried a far-Heavier Cross; and shall I, a Sinner, who have Deserved Hell, refuse-to Carry mine? Ah, Immaculate Virgin, from thee do I Hope-for Help, to Bear all Crosses with Patience.