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Friday, September 15, 2006

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Our Lady of Sorrows

Hebrews 5:7-9
Psalm 31
John 19:25-27
or Luke 2:33-35

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breaking open

"This Child is destined to be the Downfall and the Rise of many in Israel, a Sign that will be opposed — and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword." —Luke 2:34-35

When hurt, we naturally close ourselves off to the one who hurt us and even to other people as further protection. When Mary, Jesus' mother, was hurt, she did just the opposite, opening herself up to others even more. Therefore we picture her with her immaculate heart exposed. In fact, when Mary's heart was pierced with the sword of sorrow, she not only opened her heart but the hearts of others also, so that "the thoughts of many hearts" were laid bare (Lk 2:35). Mary could do this because she was immaculate, without sin.

We also, by repenting of sin, can react to hurt with great openness rather than with the natural reactions of closing up due to unforgiveness, resentment, hatred, anger, manipulation, or fear. A broken heart plus a repentant heart makes an open heart. A broken heart plus a sinful heart makes a hardened, closed heart. A heart broken by hurts is not the end but the beginning of a process. Both the greatest and worst people in the world became what they are because of suffering broken hearts. Our repentance makes the difference between breaking open or closing up.

Prayer:  Father, thank You for what You can do with a broken heart.

Promise:  "Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered; and when perfected, He became the Source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him." —Heb 5:8-9

Praise:  Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, forgave and prayed with those apostles who abandoned her Son to a violent death (see Acts 1:13-14).

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape The Necessity of Confession for Renewal on audio AV 70-1 or video V-70.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 26, 2006

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