Fiat Voluntas Dei (mar8tim.htm)

Tuesday
March 8, 2005
vol 16, no. 67

Holy Tears

Part Two


      Tears are a language all their own... From the most helpless child to the exalted Mother of God tears express desires and touch hearts in a way words cannot. What we may not obtain through ordinary means may often be obtained through tears.

    "The righteous will suffer greatly. Their prayers, their penances and their tears will rise up to Heaven and all of God’s people will beg forgiveness and mercy and will plead for my help and intercession. And then Jesus Christ, in an act of His justice and His great mercy, will command His Angels to have all His enemies put to death. Suddenly, the persecutors of the Church of Jesus Christ and all those given over to sin will perish and the earth will become desert-like. And then peace will be made, and man will be reconciled with God. Jesus Christ will be served, worshipped and glorified. Charity will flourish everywhere."

Holy Tears of the Saints

    Tears are a language all their own. From the most helpless child to the exalted Mother of God tears express desires and touch hearts in a way words cannot. What we may not obtain through ordinary means may often be obtained through tears.

    Many of the saints have given examples of tears also. Tradition holds that St. Peter’s face was furrowed from tears of repentance for his denials. Charity pressed tears from St. Paul“I now tell you weeping” (Philip. 3:18). St. Mary Magdalene washed Our Lord’s feet with her tears. St. Francis of Assisi says in his Stations of the Cross that there is nothing more profitable for the soul than tears of sorrow wept over its sins.

    Yet not all tears are the same, and not all are profitable. Our Lord revealed to St. Catherine of Sienna five types of tears (A Treatise of Prayer, pp. 187-ff.) grouped into two classes: tears of death (including tears of damnation and sensual tears caused by inordinate love) and tears of life. Whether it be tears of life or tears of death, it seems we shall all weep. “Amen, amen I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice" (John 16:20). “Blessed are ye that weep now: for you shall laugh” (Luke 6:21). We shall either weep fruitful tears of sorrow, penance, and even joy while on earth, and then attain Heaven in which our tears “shall be turned into joy”, or live riotously, carefree and/or lukewarm in this life and wind up weeping for all eternity the fruitless tears of damnation. “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 22:13). “Woe to you that now laugh: for you shall mourn and weep” (Luke 6:25).

    Yet how shall “every tear be wiped away” (Apocalypse 21:4) if we have not wept? How shall we “rest from our labors” (Apocalypse 14:13; Epistle, Common Mass for the Dead) if we have not labored? How shall we reap the fruit of tears never sown (Psalms 125:5)? How shall we be raised from the dust if we are not in the dust? (Psalm 112:7).

    Our Lord told us to “weep for yourselves and for your children” (Luke 23:28). Regarding outward tears in public, it would seem the saying of Our Lord, “When thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret” (Matthew 6:6), is especially important, safeguarding modesty and avoiding singularity. Yet we can always shed them inwardly from the chamber of our heart (the mysterious source of tears), and our “Father Who seeth in secret will repay thee” (ibid.). Our tears of sorrow will infallibly be turned to tears of joy. “Your sorrow shall be turned into joy” (John 16: 20). “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5: 5). “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Going they went and wept, casting their seeds. But coming they shall come with joyfulness, carrying their sheaves” (Psalms 125: 5-7).

    And what is more worthy of tears than our sins, and those of the whole world, the sole cause of all our miseries, as well as the catastrophic state of the Church, being crucified by the vicious and multitudinous enemies of happiness who press Her on every side?

    Our Lord wept; our Lady wept; so many of the greatest saints have wept; have we wept? Perhaps we feel we do not need tears. It is certain that the true religion is not a strictly emotional matter, and that faith and love can be proven without tears. But is also certain that tears may obtain graces which otherwise would be denied, and especially in the face of impending, or actual, disaster, certainly upon us today. “He that can take it, let him take it” (Matthew 19:12).

    Nowhere is this more evident for our own time than in the message of Our Lady of La Salette in 1846. She said the Church’s deliverance and resurrection from the current crucifixion are partly dependent upon the tears of Her children.

    “The righteous will suffer greatly. Their prayers, their penances and their tears will rise up to Heaven and all of God’s people will beg forgiveness and mercy and will plead for my help and intercession. And then Jesus Christ, in an act of His justice and His great mercy, will command His Angels to have all His enemies put to death. Suddenly, the persecutors of the Church of Jesus Christ and all those given over to sin will perish and the earth will become desert-like. And then peace will be made, and man will be reconciled with God. Jesus Christ will be served, worshipped and glorified. Charity will flourish everywhere.”[1]

    Are our prayers, penances, and tears rising up to Heaven? Are we begging for forgiveness and mercy and pleading for Our Queen’s help and intercession? Are we even praying the daily Rosary?

    Was Jesus our Savior speaking of us when He said, “I looked for one to grieve with Me, and found none”? (Psalms 68: 21; Offertory, Feast of the Sacred Heart)

    Do I weep? Alas, not as I ought. If nothing else, the fact that I do not weep should move me to tears. Perhaps I should weep because I do not weep.

Tears of the Innocent

    Though the tears of the guilty certainly move the Sacred Heart of Jesus (for example, St. Peter and St. Mary Magdalene), yet most powerful and certainly most lacking today are the tears of the innocent. Though the innocent of heart are so pleasing to God, “for they shall see God” (Matthew 5: 8), yet how precious few there are who, even though innocent, weep as if they were guilty, weep for the offenses offered to God in these disastrous times.

    Two examples, very similar in their lives, are St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows and St. Aloysius Gonzaga. Both entered religion at a young age, both were known to retain their baptismal innocence, and yet both were penetrated with such a love of God and neighbor that they wept incessantly. The Secret for the Mass of St. Aloysius (June 21) reads:

    “Grant, O Lord, that we may sit at the heavenly banquet clothed in the wedding-garment which the godly and continual tears of blessed Aloysius adorned with priceless pearls.”

The Collect for St. Gabriel (February 27):

    “O God, Who didst teach blessed Gabriel diligently to ponder the sorrows of Thy most sweet Mother, and who hast gloriously exalted him as a Saint and worker of wonders: give us, through his intercession and example, so to mourn with Thy Mother, that by her maternal care we may ensure our salvation.”

They wept as if they were the most guilty, and yet their innocence was so great that the Church compares both to Angels:

    “Thou hast made him a little less than the angels” (St. Gabriel, Alleluia verse; St. Aloysius, Introit).

    Though it will be hard to make myself understood here, yet it seems that even innocence is affected by our fallen nature by breeding a certain kind of complaisance which can stymie the selfless, ardent devotion and desire to be a victim soul which is often seen in the guilty. O would that there were “even 10” (Genesis 18: 32) souls in this world who could combine innocence and tears!

    But since we, being guilty, cannot combine innocence and tears, let us at least offer to God the supreme example of the ultimate Tears of the Innocent, those of the Sinless Ones, Jesus and Mary. It cannot be estimated by created intelligence how pleasing, how potent are these Tears to move the Heart of the Eternal Father to mercy.

    Perhaps we could offer the Holy Tears of Jesus and Mary to our Heavenly Father, and join with them our tears of guilt or innocence, to obtain our own sanctification, and in order that the impenitent enemies of happiness may be happily overcome all over the world, and the Holy Roman Catholic Church be restored and exalted once again, resurrected for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity, the honor of Our Lady and all the Angels and Saints, and the eternal happiness of the souls redeemed at the price of such love and suffering and Tears.

Holy Tears

      Holy Tears of Jesus and Mary,
      Tears of water and of blood;
      Fall on souls and purify them,
      In the sight of the Sovereign Judge.

      Tears of water, pure and holy,
      Welled up in these Sacred Hearts;
      ‘Til Their LOVE could not contain them,
      Proofs of love which Love imparts.

      But when our thankless hearts were deaf,
      To wat’ry tears so eloquent;
      Great pangs of grief and pity pressed,
      Great Tears of blood from Hearts thus rent.

      O ingrate souls! How cold we are!
      ‘Twas for our love these two Hearts shed,
      Their Tears of water and of blood,
      To raise us from the selfish dead.

      “Tis true our hearts must weep – for joy,
      To see that words did not suffice;
      God’s Son and Mother speak to us
      By Tears! the soul’s mysterious price!

Tim Duff

[1] Pamphlet, Apparition of the Blessed Virgin on the Mountain of La Salette the 19th of September, 1846, by Melanie Calvat (the seer), Nov. 15th, 1879; imprimatur of Bishop Zola of Lecce.

For the First installment of this short series on Holy Tears, see Part One


    For past articles in Fiat Voluntas Dei, see 2005tim.htm Archives
    March 8, 2005
    vol 16, no. 67
    Fiat Voluntas Dei