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** Salve Maria Regina **

OUR LADY OF FATIMA CRUSADER BULLETIN

Vol. 43, Issue No. 130

The Sacred Passion

Happiness in Suffering

Co-RedemptrixThe Blessed Virgin Mary,

Co-Redemptrix of Mankind

The Mass is the Holy Sacrifice of the Cross re-enacted upon our altars. Every day we have the privilege of ascending Calvary's mount to contemplate the Crucifix and the Sorrowful Mother, to participate in the fruits of the Redemption. The Mass is the great apostolate of loving hearts because it gives honor and thanks to God: obtains mercy and grace for mankind.

In the Mass we are not mere spectators, but participants. In it, we unite with the Blessed Virgin Mary to sacrifice and immolate Jesus, insofar as He is offered for us upon the altar.

Let us consider Mary, our Co-Redemptrix and Reparatrix. Our Lady supplied the Redeemer with the Flesh and Blood with which the Victim of our salvation would be prepared. Moreover, she guarded, nourished, and at the proper time, offered Jesus, with her true consent, upon the Altar of the Cross.

Just as in the Garden of Gethsemani Jesus consented to be immolated, so His Holy Mother Mary gave her consent to His immolation; insofar as it depended upon her, she even cooperated in immolating her Son. It was a different type of consent, but similar to that given for the Incarnation.

The union of their wills, of intentions, and sufferings was never broken between Mother and Son during life; and much less was it broken on Calvary, when Jesus was Crucified, and Mary stood at the foot of the Cross. Because of this union of sorrow, of will, and of intention between the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, she became our Co-Redemptrix, Reparatrix, and the Dispenser of the precious fruits of the Cross.

Without question, the Redeemer is Jesus Christ alone. But Our Lady concurred in the Redemption; she cooperated by means of Jesus Christ and with Jesus Christ. Jesus is the principal Mediator, by His very Office; and the Blessed Virgin Mary is the secondary Redemptrix, and associated to the Great Work through an arrangement of God's Will, Who chose to make her an integral part of His merciful plan for the Redemption of mankind. God indeed is the Source of all grace; thus it is that Our Lord Jesus Christ, as God and Man, alone could have merited Redemption for fallen mankind by virtue of His Divinity. But what He merited through His Divine dignity, the Blessed Virgin merited for us through her intimate participation in His supreme Sacrifice.

The Immaculate Virgin Mary was thus associated with Jesus Christ in the Redemption of all humanity. In general we may say that Our Lady redeemed us in the manner in which Our Lord Jesus Christ redeemed us. Jesus did so through His Passion; Mary, through her Compassion, that is, through sufferings united to those of her Divine Son Jesus.

In this wonderful Mystery of God's infinite Justice and Mercy, Jesus and Mary suffered untold pains and sorrows; but They did so out of obedience to the Will of the Father, and out of their immeasurable love for souls. Our Lady's Compassion is not limited to the last hours of her Divine Son's life, namely, His Passion and Death on Calvary; her immolation began on the day of the Annunciation, when she consented to become the Mother of the Redeemer. She was not accepting a common motherhood, but the motherhood of Him Who made Himself Man to voluntarily die for the Redemption of sinful humanity.

The Compassion of Our Lady was much more than the sincere affection, sympathy, and condolence of St. John and the pious women who were at the foot of the Cross at the Death of Jesus. Their sorrow, although very great, was the personal pain that is common to all, although in vastly different degrees. Mary's Compassion, however, embraces the immense complexity of Sorrows which, in the Passion of Jesus Christ and with Him, she endured for the Redemption of men, as Co-Redemptrix in this Great Work. This Compassion of Mary is a singular office, a prerogative unique to her own sacred person, as the Mother of the Divine Redeemer.

Pope Pius IX says that the Blessed Virgin Mary, together with her Son and through her Son, vanquished the powers of Hell. Pope Leo XIII affirms that Our Lady's merits for our Redemption shine forth in the mysteries of the Rosary, and exhorts us to meditate upon the singular merits with which she participated in the redeeming Death her Divine Son. She was not only present, but actively participated, so that she is really the Co-Redemptrix.

Pope St. Pius X teaches that: "Mary merited to be the Co-Redemptrix or Reparatrix of fallen humanity because she had an uninterrupted participation in the labors and Sorrows of her Son; since Jesus positively associated her with His great redemptive mission".

Pope Benedict XV writes: "The Blessed Virgin Mary, insofar as it concerned her, so immolated her Son in order to satisfy Divine Justice for the debts of mankind, that it can be said that she, with her Son, Redeemed the world". And as a direct consequence (of having redeemed the world with Christ), the graces which came to us through the Redemption are administered and distributed, so to speak, by the hands of the Sorrowful Mary.

Pope Pius XI declared: "The Sorrowful Virgin participated and cooperated in the work of Jesus the Redeemer; and so through an ineffable union with Christ, and through her singular grace, Mary is said to be, and is truly the Co-Redemptrix; and the graces which come to us are the fruit of Mary's Compassion, as well as Christ's Passion."

No one can be astonished by such teachings of the Popes if one stops to think that this was indeed the proclamation made by God to the devil; "I will put enmities between thee and the Woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head". (Gen. 13: 15.)

The Redemption, then, is the vanquishing of the devil; a victory brought about through the Woman and her Divine Son. The Holy Fathers see expressly foretold in this passage of Genesis the Redeemer and His Most Holy Mother; in fact, they find the declaration of war, as it were, the eternal enmity of Jesus and Mary against the demon. They see how the devil was defeated by crushing his pride, by endowing a tender Virgin with the dignity of Mother of God. All this is fulfilled through the common work of Jesus and Mary, who collaborated in the Redemption, according to the admirable Providence of God.

Hence St. Alphonsus says: "Just as the Eternal Father did not will that the Divine Word should become Mary's Son before she accepted with her express consent, so also He did not will that Jesus should sacrifice His life for the salvation of mankind, without the cooperation again of Mary's consent, so that together with the Sacrifice of the life of the Son, there should also be sacrificed the Mother's Heart. Hence, for the great merit that she acquired in this immense sacrifice offered to God for the salvation of the world, St. Augustine justly calls Our Lady the Co-Redemptrix of the human race. God chose that Mary should cooperate in our Redemption, and thus become the Mother of our souls."

Two altars are to be contemplated on Calvary: one is the Body of Jesus; the other is Mary's Heart. Jesus immolated His own Flesh; Mary immolated her own soul.

Jesus and Mary are there before us: they are snatching from the devil his prey in order to restore grace and our heavenly inheritance. Each of these holy Ones is in their own appointed station, but their work is in common, their intentions are in common, the fruit of their sacrifice is in common. How deeply the sword has pierced Mary's soul!

O Most Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, united in the same Passion, we love Thee, we thank Thee, we unite ourselves to Thy sufferings! Make us more intimate witnesses of Thy love and sorrow in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass! Without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass there is nothing in our lives; the sun is extinguished. We know that from the Mass and with the Mass one has everything: spiritual heat, light, and life. Grant to us an intense devotion to Holy Mass, which signifies the lighting of the spiritual sun for the world. "God so loved the world, that He gave His Son."

The Son so loved the world that He gave Himself. The Blessed Virgin Mary so loved the world, that she gave her only Son.

The Mass is the unbloody renewal of the Sacrifice of the Cross. Devotion to the Mass is the way in which we are granted a wonderful participation with Jesus and Mary in the Redemption of mankind. Attendance at Mass, even daily, will demonstrate our comprehension of this marvelous invention of God's love, power, and mercy. No Catholic who truly loves Jesus and Mary, and understands the significance of Their Sufferings would ever neglect an opportunity to be present for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. What was done on Calvary is all renewed in every Mass.

The Mass has such copious fruits that through participation at Mass we are immersed in a spiritual dimension, the width, height, length and depth of which is impossible to measure completely. It is thus helpful to remind ourselves of the fruits-or spiritual effects-of the Mass.

Its most general fruit is that it gives an immense glory to the August Trinity. It brings benefits to all men, whether in Heaven or on earth, or in Purgatory where they are fulfilling the last preparations for Heaven.

There is a general blessing imparted to all those who are present at Mass, for those who serve or sing the Mass, for those who assist the Priest; for those who prepare the Priest with spiritual or material help, for those who provide the church, the altar, the furniture, wine, candles, hosts, and so on.

There is also a special fruit, which is applied to those for whom the Mass is celebrated. There is also a very special spiritual fruit, which is reserved to the priest who offers the Mass.

Then we must remind ourselves of the great ends of the Mass: The Mass is a great "Gloria in excelsis Deo"; and at the same time a great peace to men who are of good will. It gives an acceptable glory and worthy thanksgiving to God, because it is presented in Christ, for Christ and with Christ. The Mass is a superabundant satisfaction and petition for all of mankind, according to their needs and spiritual dispositions.

While preparing for Holy Mass it is spiritually helpful to do so in company with the Sorrowful Mother, Co-Redemptrix, and with our loving Redeemer painfully bearing the Cross toward Calvary.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the school of the true apostle of Mary's Immaculate Heart, it is the way of her apostles, and it is the life of her apostles. In fact, the Mass is divided into three parts: the first is instructive, and of great light for the apostolate; it extends from the beginning of the Mass to the Offertory. The second constitutes the Sacrifice, and teaches us how to be zealous for the glory of God and the salvation of souls; it is sacrificial: it begins at the Offertory and ends at the Pater Noster. The third is the unitive part, which is consummated in Holy Communion. Jesus is the life and the strength of the true apostle: in Holy Communion He unites Himself most intimately to our souls.

Let us ever fervently participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by meditating on the Passion, or by following the sacred liturgy, or with some other approved method. The more we enter into the spirit of Jesus, the Redeemer, and of Mary, the Co-Redemptrix, the greater will be the spiritual fruits and blessings which we derive from a pious attendance at Holy Mass.

The Sacred Passion
of Our Blessed Lord and Savior

This month of the Passion, which coincides with the penitential season of Lent, provides a critical opportunity to understand the urgency of Our Lady's plea at Fatima for Amendment of Life, that men "cease offending Almighty God, for He is already too much offended". Her sorrowful entreaty can be fully comprehended only by a salutary realization of the terrible punishments inflicted by our sins upon the Sacred Person of our loving Redeemer in His bitter Passion. If we would truly know God, that we might love and serve Him as we should, then we must meditate often on His Sufferings. Such reflection will teach us, first, of the great malice of sin, which caused the Only-begotten Son of God to undergo so bitter a death to satisfy the Divine Justice, and thus to conceive a lively horror of sin and a healthy fear of committing it. Meditation on the Passion, secondly, will convince us of the infinite love which our Divine Savior has shown us in choosing to suffer so much, precisely that He might prove to us the vehemence of His love, and thus inflame our cold hearts with love for Him, so full of love for us. That we may prove our love for Him, we will then more willingly deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him, making reparation for our previous offenses. This is the goal of the Lenten liturgy and devotions, such as the Stations of the Cross. Thus, the holy Season of Lent and its proper spirit may be summed up in the words of St. Paul to the Galatians: "With Christ I am nailed to the Cross--I live now, not I--but Christ liveth in me." Let us reflect upon--and attempt to live--these words every day of Lent. Let us make a constant effort to dwell on the Suffering and Agony of Jesus, and to imagine the love He manifested for each and every one of us in undergoing His sufferings, together with the sufferings of His Sorrowful Mother. So few people love Jesus and Mary because they do not reflect upon Their tremendous sufferings. They could not sin the way they do if Christ's Agony was constantly before them. Let us strive for an intimate union with Jesus Crucified, and with Our Sorrowful Mother. In the spirit of the requests of Our Lady at Fatima for sacrifice, penance, and reparation, let us carefully consider how, why, when, and where we will respond to her pleas; particularly by hours of reparation before the Blessed Sacrament; vigils of prayer; and individual acts of penance and self-denial. For motivation, let us often reflect upon the great merit of suffering with and for Our Lord Jesus Christ, the glory of His Cross, the immense Sorrows of Our Lady and the great need of reparation for sins, especially for our own.

Happiness in Suffering

ALL SUFFERING HAS A PURPOSE! God made us for eternity, and His aim in all that He does, and in all those things that He permits to happen, is to bring us happily to that Blessed Eternity which knows no end nor sadness. Pain, anguish, and tribulations are sometimes required to break the strong chains with which, in our foolishness, we bind our hearts to the vanities of this world. In God's designs, suffering and afflictions may be sent to us in punishment for sin, or as its atonement, or to preserve in us the grace of God. They are intended to increase our merits and bring us to the unending glory of Heaven.

Jesus, by His human Suffering, has elevated all human sorrows and pains, and has given them their power and their value. If we see in suffering "the good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Rom. 12:2), God is enabled to attune our souls to the harmony of Heaven. The secret of happiness in suffering, therefore, lies in our faith in the grace and love of God.

The chalice of sorrow and suffering will be presented to each one of us in this life; but its bitterness will never exceed our strength of soul. God, Who permits every trial, knows our virtue and our strength, and thereby He measures the intensity of the sorrows with which He allows us to be tried. The important thing for us to remember at such times is that His Providence never fails, and thus try to accept suffering, of whatever kind, with resignation to His holy Will, and even with joy.

Joy in suffering does not consist in any sensible delight. It is wholly interior and spiritual, the pure and Divine joy of conformity to God's holy Will. Is it not joy to think that for each pain cheerfully borne, we shall love God more throughout eternity?

We perhaps may not see what good is hidden in sickness; but God knows what is best for our salvation. Suffering borne patiently brings health to the soul, and what is better for us than this? Let us, then, accept illness patiently from the hands of God, with submission to His all-holy designs. This will be of greater benefit to us than if by our own choice we were to enjoy health and perform a great many good works.

In bodily sufferings, let us bow to the Will of God. He sends us this or that malady; He sends it at this or that time; He allows it to continue for such or such a period; He connects it with this or that circumstance. When we are attacked by illness, it is best to desire neither sickness nor health, but to abandon ourselves to the Will of God, after the example of Our Lady, that He may dispose of us according to His good pleasure.

Once when St. Mechtilde was suffering intensely, Our Lord said to her: "Place all your pains in My Heart, and I will make them so perfect and so fruitful that they will obtain honor for the blessed in Heaven, merit for the just, forgiveness for sinners, and refreshment for the Poor Souls in Purgatory."

Whenever any pain or grief comes to you, offer it to the Divine Love of Jesus as He Himself taught St. Mechtilde: "O my sweet Love, I offer Thee this little pain, and commend it to Thee with that same intention wherewith Thou hast sent it down to me from Thy Sacred Heart, beseeching Thee to record it on high with my deepest gratitude."

Reflecting on the Sufferings of Jesus in His Passion will be most fruitful in producing resignation to God's holy Will, and love of one's own cross. Jesus endured long and horrible tortures without complaining, without murmuring, and without manifesting the least sign of irritation. On the contrary, with meekness, tranquillity, and invincible patience, He accepted everything, thinking meanwhile of us, and offering to God the Father the streams of Precious Blood, flowing from His torn Body, for the pardon of our sins.

"Give me, O Lord Jesus, the light of the Holy Ghost, that I may understand better the value of suffering. O Most Sacred Heart, Who didst lift Thyself up in acts of pure prayer amidst the strain of Thy agony, touch my cold heart with a spark of Thy fire, that I may learn to truly pray in the hour of sorrow and pain! Give me strength, O my suffering Savior, to grow each day, through bearing my cross, to be more and more like unto Thee. Amen."

Passion of Christ, strengthen me! Strength of the Heart of Jesus, sustain me!

THE PASSION OF OUR LORD MADE
FRUITFUL BY SACRIFICE IN DAILY DUTY

The Angel of Portugal told the Fatima Children in mid-Summer of 1916, "Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High. Make everything you do a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and as a petition for the conversion of sinners… Above all, accept and bear with submission all the sufferings which Our Lord will send you." Our Lady then told them, "The Sacrifice I now demand and require is the sacrifice of daily duty."

Our Lord has entrusted to each of us a particular vocation; by offering up the sacrifices involved in fulfillment of the daily duties of our vocation, we sanctify ourselves and we obtain graces for the conversion of others. Our daily duty includes the living of our Morning Offering-to live constantly (our family life, business life, social life, school life)-offering all that we do in union with Jesus and Mary. Women must also heed Our Lady's pleas for modesty and families must live a life centered in Jesus and Mary-including Enthronement of the home to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, daily family Rosary; thus may the triumphant reign of Christ our King and Mary our Immaculate Queen begin in our homes and families!

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