Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP (1877-1964), was a 20th-century French-century Catholic theologian who gave the following explanation regarding “those who mourn”:
“Blessed are they, who like the beggar Lazarus, suffer patiently without consolation from men, for their tears are seen by God. More blessed still are those who weep for their sins, and through an inspiration of the gift of knowledge know experimentally that sin is the greatest of evils, and by their tears obtain its pardon. Lastly, more blessed, says St. Catherine of Siena, are those who weep for love at the sight of the infinite mercy, of the goodness of the Saviour, of the tenderness of the good Shepherd, who sacrifices himself for his sheep. These receive even here on earth consolation infinitely superior to that which the world can give.”
Blessed Lidwina from Holland suffered patiently like Lazarus. She was born in 1380 and had a strong devotion to Our Lady. She made a vow of virginity at 12. At 15 she had an accident while skating and broke a rib. There were complications and she suffered terribly. During the first few years of her sickness, Lidwina struggled to maintain her soul in the sentiments of patience and resignation. A priest advised her to meditate on the Passion of Christ, and from henceforth she dedicated herself to meditation day and night. This practice helped Lidwina to become a willing sufferer and she even prayed to God to increase both her suffering and her patience. She added voluntary mortifications to her sufferings, gave generously to the poor, and converted sinners by her words.
Love for the Holy Eucharist and meditation on the Passion of Christ were pillars of Lidwina’s spiritual life. When nearly 30, Lidwina began to have mystic experiences such as apparitions of Christ, the stigmata, and visions of heaven, purgatory, and hell. For a number of years, Lidwina took no food and no drink. She was blind in her final seven years. After suffering patiently for 38 years for the salvation of souls, Lidwina died on April 14, 1433 at the age of 53.
St. Monica (331-387) mourned for the sins of her son, Augustine (354-430). For years, Monica prayed for the conversion of her husband and mother-in-law. They were converted one year before the death of Monica’s husband.
Monica had three children. The one who would cause her much concern was Augustine. When her husband died, Monica sent the 17-year-old Augustine to Carthage for schooling. While in Carthage, Augustine became a Manichaean and led a loose life.
Monica prayed, fasted, and wept for Augustine. A bishop told her, “it is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish.”
Monica followed Augustine to Milan, and there became friend of the Bishop, St. Ambrose. The preaching of Ambrose helped Augustine to see the reasonableness of the Catholic faith. Eventually, touched by grace, Augustine was converted and found strength to practise chastity.
The tears of Monica had won pardon for Augustine. Before her death, Monica said to Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.”
Mindful of his sinful years, Augustine prayed: “Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you.”
St. Augustine said that one tear shed in memory of the Passion is worth more than to fast weekly on bread and water for a year.
One day, St. Francis was crying and shedding tears. He said, “I weep over the sorrows and disgraces of my Lord: and what causes me the greatest sorrow is that men, for whom he suffered so much, live in forgetfulness of him.”
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