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Ecce HomoNEW HOPE

As we encounter various obstacles and discouragements in our work for Our Blessed Mother, we are often tempted to "give up." Often the sacrifices required of us in attaining our goals seem to be insurmountable and we are tempted to become lax. But these are the trials we must expect when we become apostles of Our Lady; for as Her special disciples, we are also special targets for the temptations and taunts of Satan, who hates the Mother of God with all his power and vehemence. ("I will put enmities between thee and the woman ... and thou shalt lie in wait for Her heel.")

This is the reason why the season of Lent should hold special significance for us in our daily battle for Christ and Mary, against the forces of Satan.

For during Lent we can "re-live" the wonderful story of our redemption, and it holds before us an inspiring example that of Mary and Her Divine Son beginning in sorrow and ending in new hope.

We are not the first to encounter trials and temptation in following the way of sacrifice the Way of the Cross. After Our Divine Lord, our Immaculate Mother, Mary was the first to follow the Way of the Cross, culminating in the death of Her own beloved Son.

Thus, as we are confronted with our own trials and obstacles, let us look to Mary as She sorrowfully follows the Way of the Cross. What pain must pierce our hearts as we see Her faint with grief as Jesus is mercilessly scourged by the savage, drunken brutes, who symbolize our excesses! And are we not filled with shame as we look with Mary upon the body of Jesus stripped of all clothing, recalling to mind Her words at Fatima "certain fashions are being introduced that offend Our Lord very much..." And what agony as Mary sees the crown which we have fashioned by our pride and materialistic indifference piercing the Sacred Head a crown of thorns. Now we hear the words of condemnation "Crucify Him!" uttered from our lips as we speak words of blasphemy, gossip, lies, impurities condemning our Saviour to death. And is it not hard for us to stumble with Mary along the blood-stained stones, following the Man we have crushed with the Cross of our sins? Now we must watch with Mary as they pierce His hands and feet and He is elevated before our eyes to die the agony of crucifixion. Yet, through all this bitter passion we have seen the example which is such an inspiration to us; through all the trials and sufferings, Jesus and Mary show no bitterness or defiance there is only patience, love and perseverance. And in spite of seeming death and defeat, there remains an ever-burning hope. For, as we well know, from out of these depths of misery and pain will arise triumphant the glorious Resurrection of hope and salvation.

And so it is that we must ever keep this example before us that, in the face of all our trials and sufferings, daily sacrifice and contradictions, the Way of the Cross ends not in defeat, but leads to new hope and life eternal!

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