Mary’s anguish

by | Mar 28, 2024 | Presence


Throughout Lent the Church has led us to consider teachings and actions of Christ that landed Him in ‘hot water’ with Jewish authorities. Now Holy Week has arrived, and we meditate upon the consequences He suffered in His love for us. Knowing we who are perfectly capable of offending our God are completely incapable of reparation for those offences, He voluntarily takes on every sin that will be committed by every human person throughout time. 

“He may truly be said to have suffered the whole of His passion in every moment of it” (St. John Henry Cardinal Newman via NC Register).

But He is not the only one who suffered. His Blessed Mother, our Mother, suffered. Just like the veil of the temple which was torn in two, her heart ripped apart as He gave His Human Spirit to His Father. Meanwhile, some holy authors say that the blood and water which gushed forth from the side of Jesus was His Sacred Heart breaking as He looked upon His mother, helpless to console her anguish. The two hearts forever adjoined, for just a moment, experienced separation. And the whole earth quaked. 

Put yourself in the scene of crucifixion day. Smell the scent of death, putrid and stale. Kneel at Mary’s side as she takes Jesus’ limp body into her arms. Stare into her face if you dare. See how the anguish of her broken heart has permeated every cell in her body. Mary knew her Son’s life and death was to fulfill the prophesies which foretold of Him, including the suffering servant of which Isaiah wrote. But no matter how much knowledge she had in advance, it could not mitigate the pain of watching Him fulfill those prophesies. Allow yourself to feel her helplessness.   

Mary’s heart was immaculate and loved perfectly. She felt joy and sorrow to their fullest. In our own brokenness, we cannot imagine the depth of such sorrow. Yet despite her perfection, our Father was asking her to grow spiritually, to transform from being Jesus’ earthly mother to being a spiritual mother. “[I]t was needful that she should soar above the claims of nature and cling to him by the spirit alone” (Rev. Grou, p. 125). He asks this of us too. 

Take this opportunity to hand over to our Father your relationships, the people whom you love the most. Trust in His providential plan for them and for you. Allow Him to heal your heart and be transformed by His love. Through Him, you will love them anew, more purely and deeply. This is our Father’s design and desire for our Christian life, to keep our heart closely united to His Own so as to love others as He has loved us (John 13:34). And in the timelessness of eternity, we will experience our spirit formed anew with His Spirit, renewed in the hope which His Easter Resurrection brings.  

Blessed Triduum and Happy Easter, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. 😊



(Image Mary’s agony Light of the World Catholic Church Denver CO; copyright 2024 Debra Black)


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