Thursday 6 April 2017

Fourth Sorrow of Mary: She Meets Jesus Bearing His Cross

He was almost sinking under the heavy weight of his cross, and his head, still crowned with thorns, was drooping in agony on his shoulder. He cast a look of compassion and sorrow upon his Mother, staggered, and fell for the second time upon his hands and knees. Mary was perfectly agonised at this sight; she forgot all else; she saw neither soldiers nor executioners; she saw nothing but her dearly loved Son

Hail Mary, who deeply distressed encountered your cross-bearing and suffering Son.

It is one of the mysteries of love that the presence of a beloved one can both increase and diminish suffering at the same time. For Jesus it would have immeasurably added to His affliction when He saw the anguish His mother experienced when she saw Him. It was also infinitely consoling to Him to have the one He loved and honoured above all others near at hand and touching Him with her total compassion. Similarly, for Mary it was exquisite agony to see Jesus sinking under the dark weight of the world's sin. Yet it was, too, a source of strength for her to feel that He knew and appreciated the depth of her love for Him.

This highly intense drama lasted for only a few seconds and most people on the Via Dolorosa would have known nothing about it. Yet what immensity of feeling, of emotion and of perfect love was packed into those precious instants. The agonies of Christ in Gethsemane and on Calvary lasted for longer but they never sank deeper into pain or rose higher in silent appeal to the Lord and Father of all.

The liturgies of the Church ascribe to Our Lady of the Passion the words of Jeremiah the prophet-
"O all ye that pass by the way, attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow" (Lamentations 1:12)
And how could there be? To see your beautiful, perfect Son being led away to a shameful and painful death after having been tortured, mocked and unjustly condemned, knowing that there is nothing you can do to save Him. What anguish! What torment! And to know also that this is far from the end of both His sufferings and yours. Ahead lie the hours on the Cross and the final mystery of death.

So we have the two great mysteries, love and death, on this Good Friday it will be resolved which has the final victory. On the road to Golgotha Mary might have used to Jesus the words of Solomon "Put me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm, for love is strong as death" (Canticles 8:6)

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Master Thomas de Coloswar: Christ Carrying the Cross

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