Pictorial Lives of the Saints – Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin

[Pictorial Lives of the Saints: The Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin]Eve, when placed by the hand of God in a garden of delights, received but one precept to be obeyed, so as to be forever happy – a precept easy of accomplishment, the non-observance whereof should needs be inexcusable, inasmuch as neither urgent want nor strong inclination led to its violation; there was conjoined, moreover, the assurance of death following inevitably upon the transgression of the precept. But the serpent, kindling with jealousy and hate, came to tempt her. She gazed on the forbidden fruit, gathered thereof, and carried it to her husband, and together they ate, incurring the fatal loss, and involving mankind in their downfall. Mary, preceded by the God made Man, went toiling with Him up the arid steep of Calvary, in order to accomplish the most heart-rending of all sacrifices. Eve had rebelled, Mary surrendered her will; Eve had yielded to the enticing voice of the Tempter; Mary heard the voice of the same demon of jealousy and hate, uttering by the mouth of the impious Jews blasphemies and maledictions, but she was not frightened from her purpose. Eve, in her disobedience, stretched forth her hand toward the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; Mary, in her submission to the designs of God, stretches forth hers to the tree of the Cross. Eve had sacrificed to her caprice the spouse through whom she had received being; Mary assists at the sacrifice of the Son to whom she has given being. Eve was born of man without the agency of a mother; Mary gave birth to the man-God without the intervention of a spouse. Eve, after her disobedience, became the mother, in the order of nature, of a race accursed; Mary, through her submission, has become, in the order of grace, the mother of a race sanctified.

These points of resemblance and contrast offer themselves spontaneously to the mind, provided we ponder somewhat over the remembrance celebrated by the Church on the Friday in Holy Week, under the title of the “Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin.” A mother’s heart can alone comprehend the agony of torture endured by this mother at the foot of the Cross whereon Her Son was immolated; we do not attempt to describe, nor are any mere human lips, indeed, able to express it.

Reflection – Let us adore this divine and mysterious abyss of charity, in whose depth our salvation was worked out at the price of so much suffering; and let us bear in mind what we have cost that mother to whose guardianship we were made over, even from the sublime height of the cross.