“The tragic hour the aged Simeon had foreseen in his terrible prophecy came to pass. The Cross stands out against a cloud-filled sky. A dreadful silence resounds through that city liable for the murder of its God. Jesus is expiring. At the foot of the gibbet whereon the great Victim is nailed stands Mary, motionless, silent, engulfed in untold grief, gazing upon her dying God. What created mind could fully understand her suffering? We are familiar with trials: loss of material goods is not fatal and bodily ills make our flesh tremble, yet our minds can remain at peace. Doubts, discouragement and despondency cast shadows on our lives and may make it unbearable, but the greatest suffering springs from the heart when love is wounded.
“Mary suffered through the love she bore her Son. Hers was a martyrdom which surpasses that of the martyrdom of blood. To comprehend the intensity of her pain, we would have to comprehend the depth of her love. She gave herself unreservedly to her Son, for original sin had not tarnished her Immaculate Heart. Now, her beloved Son, endures before her very eyes the most cruel, the most unjust, the most ignominious of tortures. Step by step, She follows the somber procession wending its way up Calvary. She witnesses the horrible scene of crucifixion, hears the heavy hammer drive the sharp nails into the adorable hands and feet of her Child, tearing His Flesh as His Precious Blood spills onto the ground. The soldiers jeer and the high priests mock His goodness, His holiness and His very divinity. Not for a moment does She abandon Him, nor does She miss a single moment of His suffering. When Jesus dies, She is at His Feet. There is a phenomenon the medieval philosophers called ecstasy. Love takes the heart, so to speak, of the one who loves and exchanges it with the heart of the beloved. All of Jesus’ sufferings resonated in Mary’s Heart. When the soldier’s lance pierced His Heart, it simultaneously pierced the Virgin Mother’s Soul.
“When a heavy cross is laid upon our shoulders, we accuse God of unfairness and uncaring cruelty, and we abandon our faith. “How could a good God do this to us!” Did the Father not love His only Son? Did God not love the purest Virgin whom He had made the Mother of His Son? Yet, God found no more precious gift for His Son and His Mother than suffering! Through suffering, the great work of Redemption is accomplished. God sends suffering to purify us and to save us. When suffering comes, we must trust God, lovingly receive the cross and know that the victory of Easter awaits us. With Mary, let us take courage. We will climb the steep hill of Calvary so that, one day, we may savor the joys of eternal Beatitude.
“The highest veneration, after God, is due to Mary because there is no other being in Heaven or on earth arrayed in so sublime a dignity and so near to God as is Mary, the Mother of the Most High, the Spouse of the Holy Ghost. When Mary was on earth, She was exalted to the pre-eminent dignity of having the Son of God subject to her and, now in her full glorification, shall She behold her dignity lowered and the love of her Divine Spouse and Son, lessened? NO! On the contrary, She shall receive, as a reward for the love She bore her Divine Son on earth, the greatest participation in His Eternal Glory. She shall sit as His beloved Mother on the right Hand side of her Son, upon the throne of glory and majesty so that the whole heavenly court may offer to their Queen the eternal homage due her as the promised Victress over Hell by reason of the Fruit of her virginal body.”
Taken from the SERVITE MANUAL
Nihil Obstat: Rt. Rev. A. Hillebrand, V.G. Prot. Apost., a.i.p.
Censor Librorum, Portland, Oregon – February 2, 1925