by Barb Ernster
Many people will say in conversation that they feel like they’re losing their faith. They ask, “Where is God?” as so many prayers seem to go unanswered. Like the Psalmist, we cry out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why so far from my call for help, from my cries of anguish?” (Ps 22:1)
Jesus, Himself, echoed this cry from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46).
Several verses from Psalm 22 are referenced in the crucifixion story: “All who see me mock me; they curl their lips and jeer; they shake their heads at me: ‘You relied on the Lord—let him deliver you; if he loves you, let him rescue you.’ …They divide my garments among them; for my clothing they cast lots.” (c.f. vs 7-19)
Only St. John stood at the foot of the cross with Mary, close enough to report on what Jesus did during this supreme moment of abandonment and anguish; He gave us His mother: “Woman, behold, your son.” …to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” (Jn 19:26-27)
Jesus models for us to whom we need to go when we feel abandoned by God. She remained with the physical Body of Christ on the cross, and she remains with the spiritual Body of Christ on earth—never abandoning her post.
She tells Lucia at Fatima, and ultimately, all of us: “Are you suffering a lot? Do not worry. I will NEVER forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your REFUGE and the WAY that will lead you to God.” (June 13 apparition)
The gift of Mary to the world at the foot of the cross is so much greater than we can even grasp. As the blood and water flowed from Jesus’ pierced Sacred Heart—rivers of grace and mercy—Mary stood below receiving this into her Immaculate Heart, so that she can dispense it to His bride—the Church; thus, continuing His mission for the salvation of souls.
“I will never forsake you.”
It is interesting that Jesus felt forsaken by His own Father in heaven, but He gives us a His Mother, who says she will NEVER forsake us. We know by faith that God will never forsake us, because love never abandons, but she is like a handshake from Him, a visible confirmation of that promise.
Jesus wants us to turn to her, especially in these times when our faith is tried. She has been there through all of the Church’s trials and persecutions, the rise and fall of pagan empires and atheistic systems. This is NOTHING for her. She can handle it. We just need to stay with her.
Stand at the Foot of the Cross
St. Francisco often felt internally the sorrows of Our Lord and Our Lady, due to sin. Sometimes we feel that sorrow when loved ones remain obstinate in sin and unbelief. When healing doesn’t occur. When the culture falls further from truth. When Catholics walk away from the Eucharist in droves.
I’ve started to feel grateful when I feel such sorrow. It comes from a deep longing for people to know the love of Jesus and Mary, to know what they’re missing. This is what Francisco felt, which drove him to the tabernacle and the Rosary so he could console them.
I often meditate on the crucifixion scene, especially when I feel sorry. It is then I go to the foot of the cross and stand next to Mary.
I cannot imagine the depth of sorrow that pierced her heart that day, having to look upon her tortured Son and not be able to do a thing about it. I tell her that I, too, can’t do a thing about unconverted and unmoved souls. So I just stand with her in sorrow, and offer it to Jesus.
It is at the foot of the cross that I find my greatest hope in all of human history. Mary stood here firm, not abandoning Him. How could I possibly do any different?
Persevere in Faith, Hope and Love
Jesus and Mary have not and will not abandon you; they can’t, because love always remains faithful. If you are feeling this way, you are united with Christ on the cross, experiencing some of His Passion. What a gift. Even in this weakened state, God is using you.
Every First Friday and First Saturday we have the opportunity to give something back to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary—our reparation and devotion for the conversion of sinners. Every day, we can offer our Rosary, our Mass, our adoration and sufferings for the conversion of sinners.
Jesus told St. Faustina, “You always console Me when you pray for sinners. The prayer most pleasing to Me is prayer for the conversion of sinners. Know, My daughter, that this prayer is always heard and answered (Diary, n. 1397).
St. Louis de Montfort teaches that the greater one is devoted to Jesus through Mary, the less concerned one is with how Mary distributes the graces that we obtain through our prayers and sacrifices. True devotion is indifferent, trusting totally in the Blessed Mother to apply this treasure as needed. She is the world’s dispenser of grace on earth. We just need to do our part in helping her keep the dispensary filled.
Therefore, persevere as faithful soldiers and do not abandon your post—you’re needed now more than ever.
Barb Ernster is the Communications Manager/Editor for the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA.