How Mary’s Heart Was Pierced By a Sword, by Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

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By Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, Catholic Exchange, Sept. 15, 2023

Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (1627–1704) was a theologian and French bishop. With a great knowledge of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, he devoted himself to writing in a way that was approachable to every person. Though lionized by the great English converts such as Waugh, Belloc, and Knox, his writing has only recently been made available in English. His Meditations for Advent is available from Sophia Institute Press.

Editor’s note: This article is adapted from a meditation in Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet’s spiritual classic, Meditations on Mary, available from Sophia Institute Press.

Let us turn our minds to the desolation of Mary and the bloody wound that pierces her heart. How is a mother’s sorrow to be understood? Who can depict such deep emotion? Yet if we attend to her, our hearts will speak to us. We must first recall that just as all the joys of the Blessed Virgin come from being the mother of Jesus Christ, so also does her martyrdom. Her love for him was the source of her agony.

There is no need to call the executioner or to stir up the rage of persecution in order to join this Mother to the sufferings of Jesus. It is true that for the holy martyrs it took the rack, the gibbet, and iron nails to imprint upon their bodies the bloody marks of the crucified Christ. For Mary, all it took was love, and we do not understand her love if we fail to realize that it sufficed to cause her martyrdom. Only one Cross was required for both her beloved son and herself. Eternal Father, did you will for her to be covered with wounds? Lead her to the foot of his Cross, and let her love do the rest. ..