Lenten Prayer – with Mary

When I was discerning religious life, I had no intention of entering with the Canossian Sisters.

I know, I hear my friends saying, “Er…but Sr Lisa Marie, isn’t that the religious order you are with?”

Yes. I am a Canossian Sister, and have found my home in this beautiful Canossian religious family. How is it that I am here was settled by one prayer that our Sisters around the world pray each morning, asking for the intercession of Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows:

Father, you willed that Mary
be at the Foot of the Cross
sharing in the sacrifice of your Son.
Grant, that
through her intercession,
we may bear within ourselves
the image of Christ
Crucified and Risen,
and spend ourselves
with untiring charity
for the good
of our brothers and sisters,
through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

I remember the first time I heard the Sisters pray these words, I knew.

It was as though, like the Baptist to his disciples, ‘Look, the Lamb of God.’ And when they heard this, they followed Jesus (John 1:36-37).

When I heard the words “image of Christ Crucified” and “spend ourselves with untiring charity”, I intuitively knew I found my spiritual home.

During this Lenten season, it is a time to follow the Lord towards Jerusalem. We can imagine his knowing each footstep carried him closer to future he didn’t want, yet, he walked on the same out of love for the Father and for us, for the ‘good of his brothers and sisters’.

This is my Lenten journey. This is the Canossian way of life. This is my Christian way of life. May I walk it in love for the Father each day ‘with untiring charity for the good of our brothers and sisters’. May others be inspired desire to follow this way of service to the Father, through the contemplation of the Greatest Love on the Cross, with Mary at their side. Amen.

Nothing but Charity

Today the Church celebrates the Exaltation of the Most Holy Cross.

For my Religious Family, the Canossian Priests, Brothers, Sisters, Tertiaries (Lay Canossians), Lay Consecrated and Missionary Volunteers,

Christ Crucified is the center of our contemplation. It is here, at the Cross, we are formed in Charity of the highest degree – the Greatest Love.

Our Foundress, Saint Magdalene of Canossa teaches us:

“Jesus on the Cross
was stripped of everything
except his love.”

“We are dedicated to the singular imitation
of Jesus Crucified.”

“Jesus Crucified breathes nothing but charity.”

-+-

It is no accident that the day following the Exaltation of the Cross,
we turn to console our Lady of Sorrows.
As we stand at the foot of the Cross, contemplating this Greatest Love,
let us slip our hand into that of Mary Most Sorrowful,
together contemplating the mystery of God’s infinite mercy on Calvary.

Our Lady of Sorrows at the Foot of the Cross, Pray for us!
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What do you contemplate?

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

The antiphons sung by the choir of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento, CA this morning, give a superb overview for our reflection of our Lord’s passion:

Opening Antiphon:

Hosanna filio David:
benedictus qui venit
     in nomine Domini.
Rex Israel: Hosanna in excelsis.
Hosanna to the Son of David.
Blessed is he who comes
    in the name of the Lord.
King of Israel: Hosanna in the highest.


The Scriptures tell us the crowd was jubilant, escorting Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. They spread their cloaks on the ground before Jesus, while others cut branches from the trees to place along the road. The crowds all around were cheering, crying out “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Highest!” (paraphrased from Matthew 21:1-11).

The readings shift our attention from the exaltation of Jesus and his king’s welcome into the city, to the reason why he came to Jerusalem in the first place. Jesus said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” (Luke 9:22)

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Offertory Antiphon:

O vos omnes qui transitis per viam:
attendite et videte
si est dolor
     sicut dolor meus.
Come, all you who pass by the way:
look and see 
whether there is any suffering
     like my suffering.


What a challenge to hear these words at the offertory. “Come, pass by and see my suffering.”

Saint Magdalene of Canossa always told her daughters, “No matter how little the Daughters of Charity penetrate the mystery of the Cross, they will see that the strictest poverty they might practice will always be a game and nothing compared to that of the Crucifix.” (Unabridged Rule of the Canossian Daughters of Charity, p.68)

Thus, whatever we do, any sacrifices we make in the name of Christ, we have no reason to boast. There is no suffering like that of our Lord in His passion.

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Communion Antiphon

Pater, si non potest hic calix transire,
nisi bibam illum:
fiat voluntas tua.
Father, if this cup cannot pass away
unless I drink it,
Thy will be done.


Father, Thy will be done! These words were repeated while the faithful made their way up to communion today. “Father, if this cup cannot pass, but I must drink of it, let your will be done, let your will be done.”  (Matthew 26:42).

Every step towards communion reminded me of the ultimate sacrifice, the pouring out of our Lord’s blood for our sins. It humbled me to think that I can receive the Lord’s true presence in the Eucharist. Are we worthy? No. We never will be. But by Jesus’ obedience to the Father’s will, our reception is based on His worthiness…what grace.

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Blessed Holy Week everyone. May our Lord bless you abundantly in our contemplation of His greatest act of love found on the Cross.

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Related posts:

Lisa Graas has the Passion of Christ in Full on her site.

If you haven’t been to confession for a while, Father Z has some helpful hints.

Let’s remember Mary’s role as we reflect on the passion.

Worship of Christ Crucified

Something to think about: “Jesus Crucified was stripped of everything on the Cross except His love.”

These words by Saint Magdalene of Canossa were the inspiration for this video, which invites us to take a moment to offer praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, who “reconciled to himself all things…making peace through His blood, shed on the Cross.” (Colossians 1:2):

A Prayer to Jesus Crucified
Look down upon me, O good and sweetest Jesus,
while before your face I humbly kneel.
Most fervently I pray and beg you,
to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments
of faith, hope and charity,
true sorrow for my sins,
and a firm purpose of amendment.
With deep affection and sorrow
I contmplate your five wounds.
I have before my eyes, O good Jesus,
what David the prophet spoke of you,
as though you were saying it yourself:
They have pierced my hands and feet,
they have numbered all my bones (Psalm 21:17).

At the Foot of the Cross

Sometimes our lives don’t seem to make sense and our concerns overwhelm us. It is at moments like this, our faith is tested…it is time to cry out – Jesus, I need you. I found this video a while back by Robert Galea. Enjoy:

Robert Galea is a Catholic seminarian from Malta who will be ordained to the Priesthood this November 5th, 2010. Please keep him in your prayers.