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Day Two of Lent – The Strength of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Day Two of Lent
The Strength of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Again, today, we look at this most sacred scene of the Mother of Jesus standing at the foot of the Cross. Note that John’s Gospel says she was “standing.”

There is little doubt that the human emotion Mother Mary felt was extreme and intense. Her heart was broken and pierced as she gazed upon her dear Son hanging upon the Cross. But as she gazed upon Him, she stood.

The fact that she stood is significant. It is a small and subtle way by which this Gospel passage depicts her strength in the midst of great personal pain. Nothing could be more devastating than for her to witness such brutality toward the one whom she loved with her whole heart. Yet, in the midst of this excruciating pain, she did not give in to her grief or fall into despair. She stood, with the utmost strength, faithfully fulfilling a mother’s love until the end.

Our Blessed Mother’s strength at the foot of the Cross is rooted in a heart that is immaculate in every way. Her heart was immaculate in love, perfectly strong, perfectly faithful, unwavering in determination, and imbued with unfailing hope in the midst of earthly chaos. From the perspective of the world, the greatest tragedy possible was befalling her Son. But from the perspective of Heaven, she was being invited at the same moment to manifest the pure love of her Immaculate Heart.

Only a heart that loved with perfection could be so strong. The hope, in particular, that would have been alive within her heart was awe-inspiring and glorious. How does one have hope and strength like this in the face of such pain? There is only one way and it is the way of love. The pure and holy love in the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Mother was perfect.

Reflect, today, upon the strength of the heart of our Blessed Mother. Gaze upon the love she had for her Son and allow yourself to be drawn into awe of this pure and holy love. When you find pain in your life to be intense and overwhelming, remember the love in the Heart of this mother. Pray that her heart will inspire yours and that her strength will become your strength as you seek to face the crosses and hardships of life.


My most loving Mother, draw me into the purity and strength of your heart. You stood at the foot of the Cross, gazing upon your Son as He was so cruelly treated. Invite me into your heart of perfect love, so that I may be inspired by you and strengthened by your glorious witness.

My dear Mother, as you stood at the foot of the Cross, you set an example for all people. There is no better place to be than the foot of the Cross. Help me to never turn away from the Cross, hiding in fear, pain or despair. Free me from my weakness and pray for me that I may imitate the strength of the love of your heart.

Precious Lord, as You hung upon the Cross, You allowed the love of Your Heart to unite with the heart of Your mother. You made provision for her, even as you were dying! Invite me into this shared love, so that I may also be united with You in Your pain and suffering. May I never take my eyes off of You, dear Lord.

40 Days Journey with Our Lord

Day Two: The Desert

The desert is a dry, hot, and barren place where few people would be physically comfortable for an extended period of time. Why would Jesus enter the desert for forty days in preparation for His public ministry? Why not enter the most restful, comfortable, and consoling place possible? Jesus’ choice to prepare for His public ministry in the desert defies our natural human reason because, unlike Jesus’ divine intellect, our natural human reason is deeply affected by the fallenness of our state of Original Sin. But Jesus could see clearly. Furthermore, His choice to enter the desert does not defy our fallen human reason when we allow supernatural wisdom to elevate us.

As you begin your Lenten journey, try to dismiss any temptation to do only that which immediately makes sense to you or feels good. Seek out divine wisdom for this journey. If an aspect of Jesus’ forty days is difficult, endure it anyway. In our fallenness, we seek comfort, not discomfort; indulgence, not sacrifice; fullness, not privation; and selfishness, not selflessness. Jesus’ choice to enter the desert should teach us that the best is often found in that which our confused human reason perceives as the worst. This lesson is found in almost everything Jesus taught in the Gospels, especially in His choice to freely embrace suffering and death.

To truly enter the “desert” with our Lord this Lent, we must first identify those things that we regularly crave, pursue, and are attached to. Often, these are the greatest obstacles to the authentic freedom our souls long to have, even if those things are not sinful in and of themselves. Entering the desert is the process of letting go of our inordinate attachments so as to prepare ourselves to embrace more fully the only things that can satisfy: God and His perfect will. It is true freedom that we must seek. It is not an easy journey. In fact, it is as painful as the idea of physically going into a desert for forty days without food to face every temptation the evil one throws our way. Though our fallen human nature will initially rebel against such an idea, divine Wisdom tells us it is the only way to what we long for in the deepest core of our beings.

Reflect upon your fallen human nature and its disordered cravings and desires. Once you identify some of your regular temptations, think about Jesus in the desert. Was He happy there? Was He content without the many comforts this world offers? Was He at peace? Most certainly He was. Despite experiencing the desolation of the desert and the afflictions the evil one thrust upon Him, Jesus saw through the temptations and many traps fallen humanity experiences, and He navigated through them all. The satisfaction our Lord had in His human soul by denying Himself all that this world had to offer, so as to be in communion with the will of His Father, produced more human satisfaction than every comfort and indulgence imaginable. The same end awaits you if you choose to follow Jesus into the desert this Lent.


My desolate Lord, You entered the desert and freely chose to endure this time of separation from all that this fallen world has to offer. You were hungry, alone, and without comforts, yet Your divine soul was fully satisfied. Your food was Your communion with Your Father in Heaven. Lord, I have many attachments in this life. There are many things that I desire more than I desire You. Please make this Lent a time in which I can see those attachments and be freed of them so that I can begin to experience the joy of a deeper union with You and Your Father.

Mother Mary, pray for us. Jesus, I trust in You.

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