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A Marian Lent
March 4th Readings Reflection: Saturday of the First Week of Lent
Today is the feast of St. Casimir, a 15th century saint who is the patron of Lithuania and Poland. Raised in a Catholic royal family, Casimir developed a deep love for Our Lady from a very young age. He was known to sing the hymn, “Daily, Daily Sing to Mary,” each day in her honour.His father was the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, and Casimir was consequently called upon to perform royal duties as he grew older. However, Casimir desired to devote his life to prayer and chastity, taking a vow of celibacy and frequently performing acts of penance. He remained faithful to his royal duties nonetheless, demonstrating how one can live in the world but not of it. Dying at the age of 25, Casimir’s short life was filled with an extraordinary love for God and Our Lady.
Today’s Gospel reading ends with Christ’s exhortation, “[B]e perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect,” which can aptly summarize the life of St. Casimir. Today is also the First Saturday of the month, a day that is traditionally dedicated to Our Lady. Thus, it is a very fitting day for the feast of St. Casimir, whose strong devotion to Mary is also appropriate for the season of Lent.
There is a beautiful Lenten Sequence called the “Stabat Mater” (also known in English as “At the Cross Her Station Keeping”) that reflects on the Passion from Mary’s perspective. One particular verse in this hymn asks Our Lady to “[m]ake me feel as thou has felt; / make my soul to glow and melt / with the love of Christ my Lord.” Mary accompanied her Son through His entire Passion, suffering along with Him to a degree that we cannot even imagine. When the other Apostles fled in fear, Mary remained with St. John at the foot of the Cross, intimately united with her Son’s sufferings. In her heart, she felt every pain He endured, joining Him in atoning for the sins of the world. While she never received the stigmata like some saints, Mary shared more closely in Christ’s Passion than any other human being ever has or will.
We are still just beginning this holy season of Lent, and on this First Saturday and Feast of St. Casimir, it seems that God is calling us to walk alongside Mary on the path to Calvary. The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, which we traditionally pray on Sundays during Lent, offer us a beautiful means of meditating on the Passion with Mary. From the Cross, Jesus gave us Mary to be our Mother (see Jn 19:27), and she in turn wants to lead us to her Son. This Lent, may Our Lady help us unite ourselves more closely to Our Lord in His Passion, so that we may also rejoice with her eternally in the triumph of His Resurrection.
“By the Cross with thee to stay, / there with thee to weep and pray, / is all I ask of thee to give.”
St. Casimir and Our Lady of Sorrows, ora pro nobis!
“St. Casimir,” at My Catholic Life, mycatholic.life.