Thursday, September 15, 2016


Forty years ago today I was admitted as a Postulant to the First Order of the Society of St. Francis (SSF). Much has happened since then but I remain grateful for the fact that my admission (along with two others) occurred on the Feast of St. Mary at the Cross - our Lady of Sorrows.

It seems sad to me that this commemoration was omitted from the latest revision of the Church of England Calendar for it is one that can speak to those who suffer and to our own need to develop a deep relationship with Christ crucified. Firstly, it acknowledges the suffering of all those, especially mothers, who have to stand by as their children suffer to the point of death. Observance of this Day would allow the Church to be seen to recognise their plight and to say - the Mother of God, and therefore God, stands by your side. Secondly, it invites all Christians to stand by the side of Christ in His suffering and death and to look upon His love and compassion for us all. In omitting this Day from our (official) Calendar the Church of England lost a great opportunity to help her members to deepen their relationship with God in Christ.

So I hope that all Catholic priests (especially members of the Sodality of Mary) will celebrate this day. As the Office of Readings this morning invited us to consider: 'Do not marvel that Mary is said to have endured martyrdom in her soul. Only those will marvel who forget what Paul said of the Gentiles, that among their worst vices was that they were without compassion. Not so with Mary! May it never be so with those who venerate her.' (from a sermon of St. Bernard)

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