Our Sorrowful Mother’s peerless example of perseverance

From the writings of Father Frederick Faber (1814-1863) of the Oratory:

All efforts in the spiritual life, properly speaking, have to be sustained till the end. The difficulty, and therefore the costliness of perseverance, consists in its tension never being relaxed. It is on this account that perseverance is an uncreaturelike grace, a supernatural similitude of God. Others again do not regret the efforts expended or the sacrifices made, but they look at once for their reward. They lower the nobility of what they have done by a want of disinterestedness.

We are not offended when little services look for their reward. But great services remind us of God, and do not look so palpably unworthy of Him, and therefore they offend us by the mention of their recompense. So it is that, in one way or the other, there are few souls who do not somewhat disfigure and impair their sacrifice, and take the unearthly freshness from it.

Thus when we see anyone persisting in his complete sacrifice with the same ardor and fortitude and magnanimity and patience, almost gracefully unconscious that he has done or is doing any great thing, not that he does not understand what he has done, but because when all his thoughts are fixed on God there are none left for attention to himself, then do we call it the most magnificent of all interior dispositions, a shadow of the rest of the unfatigued Creator when His sabbath succeeded to the making of the world.

Such was Mary’s disposition in [her] seventh dolor [i.e., the burial of Jesus]. It was the sabbath of her world of sorrows. But when we think of the sacrifice which she had made, of the completeness with which she had made it, and then of her quiet bravery in that desolate solitude of creatures which was all around her lonely soul, we may conceive how far it is beyond our power to realize the intrinsic majesty of such a disposition. How much in our own minds we should lower it, if we strove to compare it with the corresponding disposition in the saints, to which in the lack of words we are inclined to give the selfsame name. God rested on Himself in the hollow of uncircumscribed eternity, when His dread sabbath came. Can a creature share in such a sabbath? Yet to what else shall we liken Mary in the repose of her dolors finished?

The Foot of the Cross with Mary (1858)

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